Servicing Australia wide HR consulting for employers Australia wide.

Onboarding new employees

Many companies significantly underestimate the value of onboarding new employees as part of their HR process.

New employees can easily feel overwhelmed. New jobs present many changes and challenges, and it’s natural to feel anxiety over this. According to the Harvard Business Review:

  • Nearly 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months on the job. (Among Millennials, that percentage is even higher … and it happens earlier.)
  • 23% of new hires depart before their first anniversary.
  • The organisational costs of employee turnover are estimated to range between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary.
  • It typically takes eight months for a newly hired employee to reach full productivity.

One way successful employers help new starters quickly become productive and engaged members of the team is though clear and practical orientation and onboarding processes. The differences between orientation and onboarding? Glad you asked.

Employee orientation (also often called induction) is a one-time event that welcomes new employees to your company. Orientation is general in focus and typically includes:

  • introduction to your organisation, history and its key people
  • high level business objectives
  • your workplace policies and procedures
  • workplace health and safety information
  • tour of the workplace

Conversely, employee onboarding is a series of events and trainings (including orientation) that helps new hires progress into successful and productive employees. Onboarding is more job – and department – specific and involves the design of a personalised program specifically tailored to the individual and their new role.

The onboarding process starts from when you first offer the new employee the job. Quality onboarding involves familiarising the employee with your team and business culture, helping them understand their role and they need to achieve to be successful and providing assistance allowing them to fit into your team both socially and professionally.

A quality onboarding process can include:

  • staying in contact with your new employee before they start (very few employers do this and it’s a great way to build a positive emotional connection from the outset)
  • sharing relevant information in advance
  • preparing for their first weeks: ensure that the new employee will have the equipment, training, tools and uniforms to perform their role
  • starting them midweek: this avoids the usual Monday chaos and also allows them a shorter first week to reduce shellshock.
  • assigning them an empathetic and competent “buddy”
  • scheduling regular progress meetings

So why bother? Without a tailored and structured onboarding process, your new employee is less productive, more stressed, feels disconnected from the rest of the team, and is likely to look for work elsewhere. A cost to your business in every respect.

For an onboarding program to be effective, we suggest the timeline for proactively onboarding new employees to be at least 12 months. While that might sound an expensive and time-consuming commitment (and it is), your investment will reduce attrition and increase employee engagement, both which impact your customer satisfaction levels, team morale, reputation as a quality employer and your business bottom line. What you’re seeking is for your new employee to think “I totally made the right decision to work here” and perform at a commensurate level. And tell everyone they know how good it is to work for you. What’s the dollar figure on the value of that?

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    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.