April 6, 2021

How is the Onboarding Process Done at Your Company?

By Paul Bieber

The other day I was helping a gentleman hire a new person. We discussed his onboarding procedures and discovered that he had no formal procedures. He had just thrown people into the department they were hired for and let that department head do the job. We just discovered why more than half of the folks he hired left within one month. Let’s discuss this.

You have just hired someone, let’s call him Sandy, for your glass shop. You told Sandy he would work in the shop for a month and then start on service work in the field. Sandy comes in on Monday morning, he sits with your bookkeeper to set up his IRS requirements and she tells him since his medical insurance doesn’t start until next month she will tell him about the benefits when she is not so busy. Sandy asked if he could meet with her after work one day this week. She says she will get back to him and walks him out to the foreman in the shop.

Bobby, the shop foreman, tells him the that he was expected and he is ready to start teaching. Sandy’s first task is to help bring in a delivery of aluminum. Bobby tells Sandy to sort the aluminum by color and shape, and where to store it. Sandy sees shiny and brown aluminum, square pieces and flat pieces with ridges. He brings all of them, once piece at a time, to the storage place. An hour later Bobby comes back to see how Sandy’s doing and starts yelling that his work was all wrong. They had received two shades of bronze metal which Sandy didn’t notice. Sandy is about to go back to the bookkeeper and tell her to forget the paperwork but he calms down after lunch.

After two more days of random training, Sandy decided to leave and find a job that would really educate him as to what his duties may be. In today’s job market, he was working the next Monday in another industry.

The failure here comes on many levels. If this company had a standard onboarding procedure it would retain 75% of new hires instead of 35%. What a difference that could be for productivity and moral among the troops.

A standard onboarding procedure for all new hires would be:

  1. A warm welcome and greeting from leadership.
  2. A visit with personnel or bookkeeping to get government paperwork established. Continue with an in-depth review of benefits, holidays, sick days and when each benefit begins. If you have a current employee manual, go over it, in-depth, with a new hire on his or her first day. With an employee manual, you will retain about 15% more of your new hires. Many companies have new employees start on a Tuesday as Monday is always busy. This allows time for proper onboarding.
  3. A complete introduction to safety rules at your company. Explain there are no exceptions. Issue and go over safety equipment. Also, teach your COVID rules.
  4. A casual walk through your company describing what you do in each area. This may be five-minutes in a small company or a half-hour in a big shop.
  5. Introduction to their direct supervisor for assignment of duties, meet their direct co-workers and to begin training.
  6. At the end of each shift during the first two weeks, a five minute talk with the supervisor to make sure the employee understands his/her job, is comfortable doing it and answering the new hire’s questions.
  7. An end-of-week five-minute visit with leadership to see how the first week went and answer questions.
  8. These thoughts apply to a shop person and your office personnel as well.

This is not rocket science. You don’t need a fancy computer system. Just a smile and a notebook to write down questions and the answers given. When two or more people ask the same question, transfer that to the initial first-day training.