10 Tips for Successful Onboarding

Many companies treat on-boarding as a necessary evil where new hires are informed about the company history & its management, what’s expected from those in their position and what the general corporate culture is like.

Those who ascribe to this outdated idea are missing an excellent opportunity to quickly and effectively acclimate their new hires. A good onboarding program delivers more motivated employees in less time and can significantly enhance the productivity of your enterprise.

Here are ten tips that span the gamut from recruiting through hiring to training that will make your on-boarding program far more successful:

1.  Start with the Best Candidates Possible
This tip means hiring and supporting a good recruiter who can broaden the reach of your recruiting efforts. An active effort generates far more potential employees than just letting applications accumulate as they may. With more candidates to choose from, you stand a far better chance of finding the right contender.

2.  Constantly Keep in Touch with Top Talent
Not all applicants who are offered a position will accept. It is beneficial to remain in contact with these
candidates as new possibilities are always developing or their current situation may change for the worse. In either case, a little care now may yield significant dividends in the future. 

3.  Use Your Company Culture to Advantage
Do not discount the value of your company culture. Use videos and social networking to highlight the reasons that make your company special. This is another area where a dedicated recruiter is essential.

4.  Initiate the Experience Before Candidates Are Even Hired

Similar to the last tip, this one embraces the idea that potential candidates evaluate your company before they even step through the door. Be sure that your web and social media recruiting sites address the wants and needs of potential employees. If candidates do not feel welcome at this point, there is very little chance that they will ever accept a position.

5.  Leverage Employee Referral Programs

Your highly motivated, current workers are an exceptionally good source of new employees, especially if their efforts are supported by a good employee referral program. Reward employees who refer eventual new hires in some tangible manner and you will reap rich rewards. Be sure that any referral program is tied into your social media strategy for maximum effect.

6.  Eliminate the Unqualified Beforehand

Knowing what you want in a candidate is the first step in finding the right one. Be sure that your screening process includes a thorough itemization of requirements and that interview questions accurately gauge the needed qualifications. With this simple process, most unqualified candidates will not proceed past the initial screenings and thus save time, energy and aggravation for your recruiters and hiring managers.

7.  Use Every Available Tool to Advertise an Opening

Even job hunters are creatures of habit and will check their regular sites first before doing the real work of looking for a job. For this reason, your company must advertise any available positions on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as on your company website, job boards and other career pages.

8.  Allow Unrestricted Communications with New Hires
Nothing destroys a new hire’s morale faster than confusion. The vast majority are trying to make a good impression but can feel powerless if they do not know what they are doing. Allowing them unlimited access to a sympathetic ear can eliminate much of their concern and provide them with a far more positive and effective onboarding experience.

9.  Maintain Centralized Records
A good record-keeping system is essential for a good onboarding process. In addition to completing all the necessary governmental paperwork, it is essential that new hires undergo all the appropriate company process. These can be as simple as receiving the company handbook to completing a series of training courses. In any event, the proper paperwork must be completed and archived.

10. Automate the Process with an HRIS

Many of these tips involve laborious, time-consuming and somewhat tiresome paperwork. The use of a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) can relieve your employees of many of these duties. Paperless signing, automated gatekeeping, management auditing, and archiving of everything from I-9s to company releases can greatly decrease time-to-productivity and increase retention rates.

Bonus Tip - Onboarding is Not a Glorified Orientation Course

Orientation usually lasts a single day and only briefly addresses the most important issues of onboarding. Onboarding itself is an ongoing process that continues until the new hire is a seasoned member of the staff. Do not confuse the two. Orientation can be left to a subordinate for the consequences of a poor effort are minimal. Proper onboarding must be monitored by the location or office manager to ensure that the transitioning of the new hire ensures a productive, engaged and loyal employee.

About the Author
Carolyn Sokol writes about small businesses issues such as human resources, HR management software, and HRIS systems. She is a founder of PEOcompare.com and contributor to compareHRIS.com, both of which help match businesses to the right HR or payroll service provider for their particular needs. Her background is in marketing and communications, employee education and training, development of policies and procedures and the ongoing delivery of outstanding customer service.