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Onboard or Over Board?


Companies spend a lot of time, money and energy recruiting and hiring the right people. And, it’s getting harder and harder to actually find the right talent. So the stakes are high for getting your new employees on board, acclimated and feeling part of the “team,” as quickly as possible.

What are some ways to onboard employees effectively and avoid sending them overboard into a sea of confusion, frustration and isolation?

Start Before their Start Date

Begin the onboarding process before your employee steps into the office or onto the plant floor. Start communicating as soon as the offer letter is accepted and get the paperwork out of the way, using electronic channels when possible. Share information about the company’s business, the employee’s future coworkers and the company’s culture and values. One large retail employer in the beverage industry has an employee onboarding website and sends new hires a basket of company products—both prior to an employees’ start date.

Plan and Track

Establish a thoughtful, comprehensive onboarding process. If you’ve gotten the paperwork out of the way before the employee arrives, you can deal with the important stuff right out-of-the-gate. Focus orientation on getting to know the organization, building relationships and networking. Check in with your new hires frequently to track their progress, trouble shoot and keep them engaged. Get the employee out to meet people—one-on-one or virtually. Communicate about benefits, programs, perks and other offerings that demonstrate the company’s commitment to its employees and the value of working there.

Keep It Going

When the formal onboarding program is complete, don’t stop there. To keep employees engaged, improving their skill set, productive and consciously contributing toward the company’s success, ongoing training is necessary.

Onboard Current Employees in New Roles

And don’t forget current employees moving to a new position within your organization. With new responsibilities, relationships, performance expectations and other changes, these individuals require the same thoughtful transition planning as new employees. Check out this article “Onboarding Best Practices for Existing Employees” for suggestions.