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The importance of a formal onboarding process

Formal Onboarding

A formal onboarding process streamlines the steps new employees should take to understand the business, from housekeeping to team responsibilities.

The onboarding process is likely to differ depending on the business. Elements such as sector and most importantly size will be a factor in individual processes. However, as a rule of thumb we have compiled a list of steps that all businesses should consider taking.

1.) Paperwork

New employees usually means lots of paperwork on your first day. Instead of using valuable training time with formal paperwork, send documents to new recruits by email or post. They can either electronically complete it or bring along on their first day.

2.) Workstations

New employees often start their first day waiting around for their desk to be allocated or their computers to be set up by IT. This is not a valuable use of time for anyone involved. Once you know the start date of the new person, set a date a few days prior (or even the day before) to set up their workstation and check all their logins work etc. This ensures your “newbie” is ready to go.

3.) Housekeeping and Introductions

As soon as possible, get all the general housekeeping done. This includes safety concerns such as fire exit information, toilets and kitchen facilities. While you are on your journey, introduce the new employee to their co-workers. It will help break the ice and make them feel more comfortable in their new environment.

4.) Meet with key colleagues

From Directors to Administrators, all roles have an impact on the wider business. Understanding that impact is the key difference between doing a job well and doing a job exceptionally. All new recruits should meet with at least one member of all teams to discuss what that team’s role is within the business and their primary stakeholders. These meetings often raise questions that hadn’t been considered before such as “have you tried doing it this way”. Fresh eyes often see things that a seasoned eye may have not considered.

5.) Buddies

Assigning a buddy is a great way to give new employees a “non-managerial” point of contact who they can utilise for cultural and general needs. A buddy can help with social interactions such as re-introductions, point the employee in the right direction of company materials (e.g. headed paper) and even someone to spend lunch with in that crucial first week. Someone to lean on can go a long way especially for younger recruits and first-time jobs.

These steps may seem simple, but having an employee prepared and comfortable with their new role and wider environment means they are likely to get to grips with their workload sooner as they have a better knowledge of the inner workings of the company. Plus, you are more likely to retain employees as they feel more engaged with the business. Learn more about employee engagement here.

Hunter Dunning Architecture Recruitment Consultant, Miranda Butler, has a number of years’ experience working in a HR environment. She comments: “I’ve come across companies a number of times that try to avoid formal onboarding in order to get the new recruit working as soon as possible. While yes, this is what the recruit is being paid for, there is value lost in that employee losing out on knowing the true essence of the business through time spent learning the bigger picture.

“If businesses just spend a little more time in getting new recruits to ‘get to know’ the company with a formal step by step process they will better understand the impact their role has on the wider environment.”

Find out how to speed up your recruitment initiatives to secure valuable candidates here