August 22, 2017

The Subject is Onboarding

By Paul Bieber

And it is the most important part of an employee’s success in their first year of working for you. Onboarding is the process of setting the atmosphere and work routines of a new employee. A company with good onboarding programs will reduce turnover by more than 50 percent. The biggest turnover point in any company, anywhere in our country, is during the first six months of an employee’s tenure. You can’t retain good employees with proper onboarding.

During the current economic times, hiring and retaining employees is just about the No. 1 problem of small companies. Here are some basic plans that you can use to reduce your employee turnover.

  • One week before the new employee starts, let your company know a new person is coming in. You probably have this time, but if you don’t, make sure that every one who the new employee will be in contact with knows the new person’s name and a background on their previous job experience. This way the ‘newbie’ can be properly welcomed.
  • It is up to you, or, if you have a personnel person, to continue the onboarding. Have an agenda prepared for the newbie’s first day and the first week. Get the paperwork out of the way first thing. Complete the I-9 form, get the insurance started, set-up the payroll and discuss your options such as direct deposit.
  • Give the employee an organizational chart of the company, or their division, or their department. Let them know who their immediate supervisor is, and what the supervisor’s background is. This will make the newbie comfortable with learning from someone who has proper experience.
  • Explain your company benefits, in detail. Make sure he knows your insurances so that he can take full advantage of the programs you are paying for. Explain your retirement programs, your 401-k if you have one, or any other programs that will make the newbie glad he came to your company. 
  • Give him your employee manual, and get the signature page back. Go through it with him making sure that all questions are answered. If you don’t have an employee manual, you should! (Give me a call at 603-242-3521 and I’ll give you some ideas.)
  • Give a tour of the company’s facilities where the newbie will be working, introducing him or her to the key players in this area.
  • By noon, turn the newbie over to the supervisor for more in-depth introductions. Make sure the supervisor explains the lunch time procedures, where to get lunch if going out, where the cafeteria is if you have one, and be sure the supervisor has lunch with the newbie. If an employee eats alone on his first day, the odds are there will not be a second day of employment.
  • After lunch, start the newbie working. Have the supervisor stay close, giving encouragement and instructions where needed.
  • Each day, at the end of the day, for the first week, spend five minutes or so with the newbie from either you or the personnel department. Make sure he is getting along with everyone and there are no problem areas.  
  • Assign a mentor to work with the newbie. Someone who has experience in the company. It shouldn’t be another supervisor, but someone doing roughly the same job as the newbie. Keep this mentorship going for 90 days. If the newbie succeeds at his position, give the mentor a gift card to a good restaurant.
  • Once a week, meet with the newbie to hear his thoughts and opinions. It doesn’t mean you will implement his ideas, but you do want him to be engaged. And yes, the ideas that a newbie has are often revolutionary for you, but may be standard practice at his previous job. These can only help your company.

Bottom line, welcome a new employee to your family. Treat him or her like an equal member of your family, and your odds of retention are much better.