When companies bring on new hires, they need to make the process as smooth as possible so the newest employees do not turn around and abandon ship before the ink dries on their paperwork. The onboarding process can be frustrating and overwhelming for new hires, and it can be costly for companies as turnover expenses climb. That’s why having a successful employee onboarding process is critical; we offer four tips for implementing successful employee onboarding to avoid the most common challenges associated with hiring new people.

1. Don’t stop at orientation

Companies that struggle with employee onboarding often fail to view it as a complete process. In fact, companies that have a high turnover rate of new hires often have one onboarding mistake in common: they stop onboarding at orientation. Orientation cannot be the one and only step of your employee onboarding process because it is an isolated event that does not give new hires ongoing support.

Rather, companies need to view orientation as a beginning step in the onboarding process. Orientation provides new hires with the opportunity to make contact with human resources, payroll, and benefits. It often is a whirlwind of paperwork and faces, and new hires leave hoping they have remembered everything rather than knowing the values and culture of their new company.  Proper employee onboarding cannot be an isolated event; it must be a process that involves feedback, communication, and evaluation so the new hire feels like a valued contributor to the company and understands her place in the company as a whole. A true employee onboarding process engages new hires from day one at orientation and extends into the future.

2. Ramp up support during the first two weeks

While you don’t want to smother new hires during their first two weeks on the job, you do want to make them feel welcome and give them adequate support during that time. Ensure that the new hires will be greeted when they arrive and will have someone to escort them to their workspace. Meet with the new hires and let them know what to expect over the course of the next two weeks.

Determine which training, mentoring programs, and interactive meetings must take place during the new hires’ first few days to help them learn what they need to know to successfully get to work with your company. Make sure they have a good handle on the basics of your company, such as your products and services, size, mission statement and values, goals and strategic objectives, organizational culture, and names and contact information for colleagues who are in the best position to offer assistance. This is a good time to share an organizational chart with the new hires so they understand people’s roles and exactly where they fit into your company.

3. Consider which projects to assign them to ahead of time

While you cannot expect new hires to jump into the most complex project and the most successful team when they first come on board, you should be proactive and determine which project to assign to them so they can become comfortable in their new positions and experience early success with your company. Consider the new hires’ strengths and their performance during their interviews to aid making your project assignments. Keep in mind that the sooner your new hires feel valued and productive, the better the chances they will remain with your company for a longer period.

4. Schedule one-to-one time with new hires

Determine a schedule for meeting one-to-one with new hires. Regular meetings with them will keep the lines of communication open and allow for the feedback necessary to ensuring your new hires’ success. One-to-one time with new hires at regular intervals is one of the best ways to establish employee onboarding as a process rather than as an isolated event that leaves them floundering during their first few weeks with your company.

Establishing an employee onboarding process is important to reducing new hire turnover rates and the costs associated with training new hires who replace those that leave your company. Successful onboarding programs that include a months-long process, extra support during the first two weeks, early projects that are designed for success, and one-to-one time with new hires result in more productive employees who are more likely to remain members of your team.

James Mitchell recently left a stressful career in finance because he wanted to find a more fulfilling career. Today, he is working as a freelance consultant. In addition to his new career, he enjoys volunteering for InternSolutions.net and finds it very rewarding to connect young people with lucrative career opportunities.

Also check out Joseph’s Ultimate Onboarding Checklist: 21 Tips & Tricks for more comprehensive information on optimizing your hiring processes.

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