If you’re not familiar with the term onboarding then chances are you’re not utilising it in the workplace. This can have serious implications for your company, because without it, employees you’ve recently hired might be more tempted to leave.

Onboarding involves the integration of staff into the company culture, a process that lasts a great deal longer than the initial training phase that people go through when they start a new job. While this might take up a couple of weeks, a proper onboarding process should be anywhere from a few months up to a year to ensure that employees comfortably adjust to being a member of the company.

Although this may seem like an excessive amount of time for one person to settle in, research by the Aberdeen Group has found that it takes six months for someone to decide if they want to stay with a company or leave. During this period of instability, employers need to do what they can to make a new employee feel assured in their job, otherwise they risk a drop in their staff numbers. According to Ben Peterson of BambooHR:

“The average company is losing one in six of their new hires each month for the first three months.”

In a study of 1000 people carried out by Peterson’s company, it was found that 32% had had little to no onboarding, with 15% stating that the lack of it had led to them quitting, or considering quitting, their job. On the flipside, the Aberdeen Group found that 66% of companies with effective onboarding programs reported a greater rate of successful integration with new employees.

Ensuring that this happens doesn’t have to be costly or difficult; it just requires a little effort on the employer’s behalf. Employees look to those in charge for good leadership and the capabilities of their boss can affect how they work.

Check that new workers have what they need to do their job by speaking to them often. Having an open communication channel is important to make an employee feel at ease with their job, and also give them the confidence to tell their employer if they’re uncertain or struggling with something.

Find out early on what it is that motivates these employees and try to incorporate it more into their job. Likewise, discover their strengths and utilise them, while also offering opportunities to learn and develop new skills that may be relevant to them and/or their role in the company. Encourage them to create their own development plan if they don’t already have one and discuss them regularly to see how you and the company can help them to progress.

It’s important to take note of and act on any problems that employees identify, whether it’s to do with their job or the workplace. After all, keeping staff satisfied requires more than just good communication.

Try and gauge what they make of the office environment and whether they find the design inspiring or demotivating, because it can have a sizeable impact on their productivity and well-being. People work differently and thus benefit from different environments, therefore considering a partially-enclosed layout may offer the right amount of freedom for new employees struggling in the office. This design encourages communication and collaboration which can be useful for new recruits looking for help and advice from their colleagues.

For guidance on the best way to design your office, it’s always good to keep up to date on the current trends.

Onboarding does not mean you need to devote up to a year of your time constantly watching your new employee(s) to make sure they’re fitting in to their new working environment. It’s not something to be put off by, but rather an opportunity to provide a sense of security to both your staff and your company. Happy employees will continue to work for you, and do so to the best ability.

By making an effort now, it will benefit everyone a long way down the line.

James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.
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