When you hire a new employee, you might think that signals the end of the hiring process. But you couldn’t be more wrong. You see, the hiring process doesn’t really end until the employee has started, settled into their new job and shown no signs of leaving at the end of their probation period. Instead, once you’ve made the offer and it’s been accepted, you move into the onboarding process. This is the phase where the employee will transition into working for your business. There’s a lot that goes on here, and if you want to make sure you keep that employee for longer than 3 months, you need to have an onboarding plan. If you’re not sure what that should look like, we have a couple of tips for you. 
Implement The Basics Before Their First Day 
 
There is nothing worse as a new hire than turning up on your first day to discover nothing is ready. It often leads to an employee who has nothing to do, and feels like they are pestering others around them on their first day. So make sure that you have organised a workstation for your new hire, set up any equipment, computers, printers or devices they may need and have a plan for their first day. If you can, provide the employee with a welcome pack containing all the important information they may need, a copy of your policies and procedures or an employee handbook. Make sure any personal login details to systems are ready for them and a make a welcome personal from the manager. 
 
Cultivation Is Key 
 
The first 120 days are a crucial period for new employees, as this is statistically the period with the highest staff turnover rate. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is assuming that the onboarding process for new employees only lasts for their first few days. But really it’s an ongoing and evolving process as they adjust to their new role. Make sure you block out time during this period to speak with your new employee regularly, answer their questions and respond to their concerns. Explain their job responsibilities, set realistic expectations and provide feedback early on to guide them in understanding and accepting their new role. Provide them with meaningful work quickly instead of leaving them to read training materials and watch videos for days (really, it happens!). Provide timely and constructive feedback on work given, and be open to any and all questions. 
 
Assign A Mentor 
 
The important thing to remember here is that onboarding is not the same as training. So as well as job training, it’s worth finding someone within the department (preferably not a superior) to take personal responsibility and act as a mentor to your new hire during their first 12 weeks. This mentor should guide them through learning about the business and their role, introduce them to other employees within the business and support them in understanding the culture. 
 
Don’t Make New Employees Learn ‘The Hard Way’ 
 
I mean this in every sense of the phrase. Every workplace comes with its own set of rules and regulations, benefits and bonuses, nuances and traditions. Don’t make your new employees learn these new things the hard way. If your company does casual Fridays, make sure all new employees know about this before they turn up at the office on their first Friday in a freshly pressed suit. Your benefits and perks will seem more valuable if your new hires know about them from day 1, especially if you give employees an easy way to track what they are eligible for. 
 
Have A Defined Process 
 
The onboarding process is something that should be well thought out and defined, so it can be replicated for a number of new hires. Businesses who work with experienced HR professionals can develop a consistent onboarding plan for their business, that details each step, what needs to be done and who is responsible for it. By doing this, your business can introduce new employees with some structure, and then adapt the process based on experience instead of second-guessing about what went wrong. And if that isn’t enough reason, remember that with a structured onboarding programme, employees are 58% more likely to remain with your business for over 3 years! 
 
Understand And Work With The Transition Curve 
 
The transition curve is just a name of the emotional and phycological journey we go through when we experience a change. You can read more about it here. The point is that a new employee will be going through this transition, so managers need to understand what that journey looks like and how they can support the new employee through it. That means knowing each of the stages and working with the employee to give them the encouragement and resources they need to adjust and settle into their new role. 
 
At AJ HR Solutions, we support small and medium-sized businesses in all aspects of hiring a new team – including onboarding. Many smaller businesses don’t have an onboarding process at all, which means that hiring their first member of staff can be a challenging journey. With our help, we can make sure you are prepared for taking on new staff and understand how to help them settle into their role and stay with you for a long, productive time. If you need help putting together an onboarding plan, or you just want to ask some advice, just get in touch with us today
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