4 steps to improve your employee onboarding programme today

Most businesses have a basic onboarding programme built into their hiring strategy and they think this is sufficient. However, the figures tell another story. According to a Bersin by Deloitte* report:

  • 4% of new hires leave a job after a disastrous first day
  • 22% of turnover occurs within the first 45 days
  • This can cost the company at least three times the former employee’s salary

This translates to a big loss of time and money, not to mention employee morale, particularly when talking about more senior hires. If you’ve already invested in the recruitment process, don’t make the mistake of skipping this next crucial phase of hiring: onboarding.

Often, businesses stop short of real employee integration in their onboarding programmes. They have the admin arrangements sorted and basic orientations within the business, but a deeper integration into the company is missing.

There are many ways to successfully integrate a new employee into your business. Read on for four steps you can take to improve your employee onboarding programme today.

Revamp your new hire checklist

You probably have some sort of new hire checklist that includes the basics, like housekeeping, admin, IT – all the practical things that need to be set up before a new hire joins. But there are some simple things you can add to this list which can make a real, positive impact on the new hire’s experience, even before day one.

It’s easy to build excitement for the role and start the integration process before your new hire begins. Communication is key here. Decide if a social event with peers might be feasible in advance of start date. Loosely discuss their first month and what they can expect. Make sure they have an internal mentor assigned who will ensure they have support from the get-go and can help them to understand the culture within the business.

Setting all of this up in advance of their start date will give them the reassurance that you’re invested in them and that they’ve made the right decision in accepting this position.

Set up introductions with key stakeholders

One of the toughest things about starting a new job is getting to know everyone in the business. It’s easy to feel like an outsider in those first few weeks, so schedule meetings with colleagues and key stakeholders ASAP to ensure your new hire integrates quickly.

When dealing with a senior hire or leadership role, this is even more essential. According to a Harvard Business Review article on onboarding CEOs, “most new leaders fail not because their financial or operational abilities are inadequate but because their style or political skills render them unprepared to manage the organization’s culture.” Often it can help to brief your new hire on the culture of the business and the types of personalities they will be working with, especially if there are some complex internal dynamics at play. These types of introductions and intel can make a significant impact in the early days in terms of setting them up for success and helping them get up to speed as fast as possible.

Set goals and expectations and define success

Establishing goals and expectations from the onset and clearly defining success is often overlooked. Particularly small milestones can be very effective with regard to integrating your new hire and making them feel satisfied in their role.

Make sure whatever you agree is written down for clarity. Include a column for goals, key results, time period, and a review section for looking back. It might be that in the first 30 days you want them to focus on getting to know the business, their team, internal and external stakeholders, and strategic planning can be put on hold while this takes place. If so, set small goals to ensure that’s the focus and discuss what success would look like.

Keep engaged

It doesn’t matter what level your new hire is at – it might be their first job or they might be stepping into a c-suite position – keep engaged regularly throughout those first few months. This might mean weekly 121s with more junior hires and periodic coffee catch ups (every two weeks, for instance) with more senior hires.

Here are some check-in questions you could ask your new employee:

  • How do you feel in the new job?
  • Is the role/team/company what you expected?
  • Do you have all the resources you need?
  • How are you getting on with colleagues?
  • Do you feel out of the loop about anything?

These questions can help you identify potential problems quickly and resolve them before they grow into larger problems that could put the success of the hire at risk.

Want more onboarding support?

We run regular workshops on Onboarding Senior Talent from our London office where we provide much more information about advanced onboarding and an onboarding toolkit to help you hit the ground running. Find out more about the workshops or request your place here: Onboarding Senior Talent Workshop


*Bersin by Deloitte’s industry study: Onboarding Software Solutions 2014: On-Ramp for Employee Success


Posted on 04.07.2018

Related: Which is best: Retained Search vs Contingency Recruitment?

All recruiters are not alike. Nor are all recruitment processes. What many clients don’t realise is that there are two ways of working with a recruiter: retained search and contingency.

Read more

Related: Life After 'The Great Resignation' - How to Retain and Hire the Best Talent in 2022 and Beyond

After an unprecedented year named ‘The Great Resignation,’ the war on talent still rages on. In this article, our CEO Alice Weightman explores the shift of power from employers to candidates, and offers expert guidance to help you retain and attract talent in 2022 and beyond.

Read more

Related: A tale of two sides when considering a counter-offer

When deciding whether to stay or go it’s important to consider more than just the financial incentives on offer – Amy Hayer, Head of Healthcare at global search firm, Hanson Search offers some insight into this for the employee and the employer.

Read more

Post your comments

Please leave this field empty:

Speak to a consultant