Managing Employees

Start Off On The Right Foot: Strategies For Effective Talent Onboarding

Your employee's first 100 days at your enterprise can make all the difference in how they perceive you as an employer.
Start Off On The Right Foot: Strategies For Effective Talent Onboarding
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General Manager, Talentera
8 min read
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Once a candidate is picked out of a large pile, and after they receive and sign their job offer, it seems that a big burden can be lifted off of everyone’s shoulders. The hiring manager can pause the hectic search mode, and HR can switch to other pending tasks. Likewise, the newly hired is at peace, knowing that they’ve transitioned from an anxious job seeker to an employee. Yet, there comes another critical phase after searching, shortlisting, and selecting: onboarding. The first few weeks of an employee’s tenure are incredibly important. They can significantly influence the employee’s learning, productivity, satisfaction at work, and more importantly, time spent at the company.

Talent management is quite a complex endeavor. Mostly because it extends beyond the hiring phase. Companies are recommended to always clarify their hiring strategy, to determine what skills are most vital to their business, understand what a culture fit looks like to them, work on building a strong employer brand, and then adopt the perfect technology for recruitment.

But if the goal is to not only hire high caliber talent, but to also maximize their productivity, and minimize their retention, then a bit more work ought to be done. The onboarding period connects attraction with retention, and significantly impacts projected productivity, satisfaction, engagement, and overall culture within the company. Here are some of the reasons onboarding is big component of talent management:

1. IT IMPACTS RETENTION

This is perhaps the most important reason to look at the onboarding period strategically, and to invest in enhancing it. Every company attempts to minimize turnover, and to keep its employees happily engaged and productive. Yet, with poor onboarding, the risk of turnover runs high.

Employees form an impression of their workplace during the first few weeks (if not days) of joining the company. No matter how detailed and extensive the recruitment process is, it is the onboarding period that reveals so much information about relevancy and fit between the employer and the employee.

This is why it is essential that employees feel that there is a clear plan and a supporting system for them from day one. It is also important that they build the positive impression about their workplace, environment, colleagues, etc.

2. IT IMPACTS PRODUCTIVITY

According to a poll by Bayt.com entitled On-The-Job Training in the Middle East and North Africa, more than 9 in 10 (91.4%) respondents deliberately look for companies with clear training and development programs during their job search.

Training and development start from day zero on the job. In fact, it is most critical during the onboarding phase. Employees who are simply thrown in and asked to figure it out on their own, are likely to feel unsupported and agitated. They are also less likely to reach their highest levels of productivity and performance.

No matter how experienced employees are, they will always require some form of learning and training support so that they truly understand business practices and details. Productivity can be at its highest when a systematic onboarding and training program is put in place.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63.3%) to the Bayt.com poll, On-The-Job Training in the Middle East and North Africa, cited increased productivity as the greatest advantage of on-the-job training. 88.2% of MENA professionals also said that it is essential that they have a mentor or coach during their first few months at a new job.

3. IT IMPACTS SATISFACTION AND ENGAGEMENT

It is widely agreed on that onboarding impacts employee satisfaction, employer brand and culture, and succession planning. A successful onboarding program not only introduces new joiners to key staff and teams, it also facilitates communication, cross-departmental collaboration, and clarifies rules and practices. This is essential as it can set the tone of how to engage with other coworkers and teams and what needs to be done and when.

Employees who are onboarded correctly are more likely to be engaged at work, as they have been fully equipped and introduced to key information and people. Likewise, employee satisfaction can increase as a result of successful onboarding, as this process is meant to address employees’ needs, and prepare them for a smooth and successful integration.

Without doubt, poor onboarding and training programs reflect negatively on a company’s culture and employer brand. A whopping 85% of respondents to the Bayt.com poll, On-The-Job Training in the Middle East and North Africa, claim that they would leave their current job to find better training and career development opportunities in another role. Since the onboarding period includes the most essential training elements, this can be a sole cause of dented reputation and poor employer brand among other professionals.

EFFECTIVE ONBOARDING [THE HOW-TO]

Having discussed the importance of an effective onboarding process, it is imperative to start planning for one. The onboarding process requires companies to go through a wide range of steps such as paperwork and legalities, team introductions, equipment provisioning, learning activities, goal setting and KPIs, and granting access to systems. How these activities are structured and carried can have a huge impact on talent productivity and retention. This is why it is important to follow some of the recommended steps below:

1. BEGIN WITH THE END GOAL

Generally speaking, onboarding is aimed at integrating a new employee into the workplace, which includes dealing with logistics and paperwork, introductions and formalities, and learning and training. But certain companies might have different priorities or tasks to include in their onboarding programs. Therefore, starting with a list of objectives is a wise approach.

Does the company hire a lot of fresh graduates who need significant training? Is paperwork extensive and require longer periods of time to complete? Are there a lot of restrictions on access to internal systems and software? Are there preset regulations such as probation periods or new employee tests that you need to include in onboarding? All of these elements play a role in how the onboarding program is structured and carried.

2. FOCUS ON TIMEFRAMES

The HR department should have a solid idea of the recruitment cycle and can accordingly build an estimated timeframe of the entire process, including onboarding. Hiring managers should also be involved in determining staffing needs, projected turnover, and onboarding requirements.

Creating a timeline is helpful in determining what type of tools and resources you need for onboarding, how often you’ll need to conduct these programs or sessions, and how long a department or a manager should expect to wait before a new employee is fully integrated to the workplace.

3. STREAMLINE THE PROCESS

Between all the different documents, stakeholders, access requests, and such, the onboarding process can easily become time-consuming, tedious, and messy. Manual and decentralized onboarding activities can be very taxing on time, effort, and money. That’s why it is essential to consider using tools and platforms that automate the process and guarantees higher effectiveness.

One tool to look into is Bayt.com’s AfterHire: it is a configurable platform that is specifically built and designed using cutting-edge technology to streamline the painstaking process of talent onboarding, and ensuring that newly hired talent are efficiently assimilated to the company and fully productive in their new roles.

AfterHire helps automate paperwork through online forms, it quickly assigns tasks to appropriate personnel to streamline mundane activities like equipment provisioning and financial formalities. Moreover, employees can be assigned learning and training tasks through the platform to build up their job knowledge.

With such tools, HR gets a high level overview of each employee’s onboarding process, they can add and remove tasks as necessary, and they can ensure the process is conducted fully and in a consistent manner for the entire company.

4. ALLOW FOR CUSTOMIZATION

A startup might have a very different onboarding process from a well-established company. Similarly, onboarding programs might vary based on industry, location, labor laws, company regulations, career levels, nature of job, etc. An effective onboarding tool allows for flexibility and adjustment based on these variables. Tools like AfterHire encompass a widerange of features that employers can take advantage of, but they also allow employers to design their own onboarding process using a workflow editor. Each company inducts their new hires differently, and so they’d need to be able to customize and configure their onboarding programs easily.

5. COLLABORATE AND NURTURE

The onboarding period is collaborative by nature. It involves the hiring manager, the department or team of the new hire, the HR team, the finance team, the IT department, and more. Evaluate your current onboarding process to see how easy/difficult it is to communicate and collaborate on the process. You need a system that allows for smooth task assignment, communication, and streamlined task management.

Another area to highlight is the need to receive feedback and adjust the onboarding process accordingly. Consider the input of management, hiring teams, as well as the newly hired individuals. What works and what doesn’t? What could use a bit more enhancement or streamlining? Such feedback is vital for the success of onboarding, and all the subsequent metrics onboarding has an impact on.

Related: How To Improve Your Startup's Onboarding Process

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