Attracting and retaining talent is a continuous process that is important to a company’s success. There is a lot more talent up for grabs and the smart organisations are certainly grabbing for it. These days it is not simply enough for organisations to recruit candidates and expect them to pick things up as they go in the organisation. New employees want and also expect more from their organisations when it comes to on-boarding.
The process of on-boarding provides the opportunity to both socialise and integrate new employees into the company. This is beneficial for the employee as it makes them feel welcome, valued and engaged. However it is also beneficial for the company, as it promotes networking, early relationship building and talent development; all necessary pre-requisites for future organisational success. As such it is imperative that an employee’s on-boarding experience begins from day one of employment with the organisation. First impressions count!
Research shows that 90% of employees make the decision whether or not to stay with their employer in the first six months. However, it generally takes 6-12 months until new employees reach full productivity. So if employees are not engaged within the first 6 months, they often leave before showing their full potential and adding optimal value. How people are treated in the initial stages will determine how quickly they become productive. People who experience a more positive and engaging on-boarding experience report feeling better connected to the corporate strategy and the company culture. Later this translates into loyalty and improves retention levels. Feeling connected to and understanding the company strategy and culture also means that employees are more likely to make decisions and take actions that are in line with the company culture. Remember happy employees are more productive employees. Happy employees stay.
A positive on-boarding experience can really reinforce an employee’s decision to remain with the company. It highlights the benefits the company can provide in terms of support, positive culture and environment. Additionally the experience teaches the employee what the company expects from them and what they can expect from the company. By taking the time to go beyond the paperwork and formalities, the on-boarding experience allows the employee to get a better understanding of the culture, expectations and requirements of the role. In doing so, your employees will ultimately feel more comfortable and have a greater understanding of the business needs. Comfort has been linked to familiarity, which ultimately leads to satisfaction and engagement.
Ensuring a positive experience makes new employees feel valued, interested and excited about the company and their new role. Beginning the employment process with a positive experience sets the employee up for ongoing positivity. For example, think about how you would act at a party where you didn’t know many people. You may feel quite anxious in preparation, unsure of your place and uncomfortable in your surroundings. If things remained like this for the duration you may find yourself feeling isolated and wanting to leave early. However if at the party, someone takes the time to introduce themselves, show you around, get to know you and help you network with others, you’re more likely to have a positive experience. Whilst the on-boarding experience is an opportunity to inform new employees about the rules and regulations, it can also highlight the company perks. It’s best not to let employees ‘learn the hard way’ as it can lead to resistance. Rather, if they learn about social events, sports teams, and other social perks, they are more likely to assimilate into the culture quicker and you may also gain a talented player! Orientation and assimilation into the company is a major aspect of the companies that win best-practice awards. This shows that a good start is essential for an ongoing positive experience for the organisation, as well as the employee.
It is important to remember that the on-boarding process doesn’t simply finish along with the initial training. There needs to be consistency. Think about the last day of employment that is filled with warm handshakes and kind words. These subtle actions that seamlessly integrate employees into a company’s culture need to begin at day one, and be maintained throughout tenure. An employee isn’t immediately assimilated once the forms are signed it’s a process of being integrated and welcomed into the company that starts at the on-boarding stage.
Ultimately, the benefits for an organisation that engages in positive on-boarding for new employees are two-fold. First, the employees that are hired have higher engagement, productivity and trust in the company from day one of employment. Second, the organisation retains these valued employees adding to efficiency, profitability and ultimately competitive advantage. Therefore, engaging in positive on-boarding has extensive benefits for a company.