Common Hiring Mistakes: Ineffective Employee Orientation

By Dan Simmons

This is part two of “Common Hiring Mistakes”. To read the first mistake, click here.

When was the last time your organization hired somebody who didn’t last until their first formal review?

Recognizing that changing jobs is one of the most stressful situations in a person’s life, you can see this person is in a vulnerable position. What they really want is validation that they’ve made the correct decision. How do you make that happen as seamlessly as possible?

The process is known by different names: new employee orientation, employee onboarding, or even retention-before-the-fact. As with most processes that work well, it is to the benefit of both the new employee, as well as the organization.

Onboarding: the concept and process by which an employer orients a new employee into their organization so they become more productive more quickly and hopefully enjoy their experience so much that they’re likely to stay with the organization for a long time.

Why It Works:

Think back to a time when you had difficulty adjusting to a new job. If the company had made you feel more welcome, clearly stated short-term expectations, done simple things such as ensuring you had a desk and computer, given you a parking pass, or taken you to lunch with your future co-workers, would it have helped?  Your onboarding process doesn’t have to be bulky or complicated. A simple systematic approach will help in many ways:

  • Reduce likelihood that your future new employee will take a counteroffer
  • Build rapport and optimistic attitude early with the company and colleagues
  • Reduce misunderstandings
  • Build motivation and job satisfaction
  • Reduce new employee anxiety
  • Decrease the learning curve and increasing productivity and profitability
  • Give employees a sense of purpose and make them feel as if they’re adding value more quickly

The Process and Benefits

While companies vary in their onboarding programs, there are generally three areas: administrative details, job duties and specifications, and company culture.  All three are crucial to ensuring greater success during your new employee’s transition.

Administrative details – Include: preliminary employment and tax paperwork, voicemail, email, gaining access to the building and/or parking lot.  Providing this information to the new employee and a personal contact at the company to walk them through any questions they may have gives the new employee the feeling they are not alone and are already considered part of the group.

Job duties and specifications – The “meat and potatoes” of their new job. Their ability (or inability) to accomplish these tasks ultimately determines their future advancement.  While it might be premature to discuss specific projects, it would be wise to talk to your soon-to-be employee about deadlines, timetables, the chain of information, and anything else that comes to mind.  You will also want to discuss their on-site orientation and training schedule, which normally occurs during their first week of employment. The key is effective communication and the exchange of knowledge beforehand, which will help speed up the new employee’s productivity once they begin their new job.

Company culture – By gaining an understanding of that culture prior to employment and during the first few weeks, they will also gain a huge advantage in terms of a smooth transition.  Keep in mind that not all companies include this area in their onboarding program (although they should).  It is advisable to have the future new employee meet informally with a couple of employees and co-workers, perhaps at lunch, to learn as much as they can about the culture of the organization as early as possible.

The process begins before the offer

Remember: Onboarding starts immediately, and by that I mean even before the offer is extended.  That may sound a bit extreme, but what it boils down to is the chance to make a great first impression.

Onboarding should be thought of as an integral part of your overall retention program.  In fact, onboarding can help you to build a comprehensive retention program that decreases the turnover rate for your company, as well as moves your future new employee along the hiring process, both physically and in their own mind.

So, the questions to think about are these—what impressions are you giving your new employees, and could an onboarding program enhance those impressions?  The conclusion is obvious: onboarding IS worth the investment.

Dan Simmons Bio

Dan SimmonsDaniel C. Simmons is a Certified Personnel Consultant who has been recruiting since 1991. Dan has won over twenty awards in the last decade with the Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network including Placer of the Year in 2009 & 2010.

Frequently Dan also is a recruiter trainer and has been featured at various Top Echelon Conventions and online as a speaker for various webinars. He has also been published in The Fordyce Letter the recruiting industry’s #1 magazine.

Is Your Company Looking for Great Candidates? Contact Dan Today!

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