The Art of ‘Onboarding’

The Art of Onboarding

“Only 22% of employers communicate their employee benefits offering before day one of employment, such as in an offer letter; and only 18% communicate the offering before recruitment, for instance in a job advertisement, shows research from GRiD.*”
HR News, Feb 20

Make sure you don’t fall into this trap!

You’ve found your dream candidate – after having gone through the rigmarole of sourcing suitable prospective employees, lengthy interview processes – you’ve decided they’re the one. This is followed by working out the job offer, getting this all agreed, doing all the paperwork..…and then you don’t speak to them again until their first day?

Or if you’ve used Dovetail Recruitment, we’ve pre-interviewed a range of suitably experienced candidates,  finely tuned the candidate list for you to interview only the best, and we’ve done all of that other hard work for you :0) – including keeping in touch once the offer is accepted.

In some cases the gap between offer and starting can be up to 3 months! So make sure you don’t fall into the trap of a non-contact period and get ‘onboarding’ :0)

The Art of Onboarding: Start before they get ‘onboard’

Many employers’ underestimate the importance of onboarding, ideally it should start well before your new employee’s start day. When you work for a company and know all about the perks, benefits and great things about working there, it’s easy to forget that others don’t know this already. Make sure your company is shouting about all of the great benefits on offer for employees, so word gets around. Make sure this is reiterated in every communication you have with them pre- and post-job offer as well.

It’s easy to forget about a new starter, once they’ve accepted your job offer and agreed a start date, but during that in-between time a lot could happen.

Why not give them a call to tell them how happy you are they’re joining; invite them for drinks after work before their start date, you could even invite them into the office for relevant informal meetings if schedules allow it.

If you don’t, you could run the risk of them changing their mind, being tempted back by their current employer or even being approached by another company in the meantime. You’ve got to invest time in your future employees to show them they’re valued from the start. Otherwise what’s to stop them being wooed by another prospective employer?

– Here are some pointers from Asana on pulling together an ‘onboarding plan’.

  • Provide clarity on what to expect before day one.

Send an email a few days before your new hires start. Include the first day’s schedule, logistics (e.g. how to enter the building, dress code, etc.), and if they should bring anything (e.g. a personal laptop, HR documents, etc.).

  • Create helpful resources to avoid repeat questions

For questions that come up with every new hire—like company terminology or how to use cross-functional software—create standardised documents to help. Iterate on them regularly, so you can incorporate new questions that come up.

  • Make time for personal interactions

Make sure to schedule in time for new hires to meet other members of the team over lunch, coffee, or a casual one-on-one. Assigning an onboarding mentor to each new hire can also be helpful—their mentor acts as a facilitator and resource throughout their onboarding.

  • Give context for every role

In addition to general and functional onboarding, provide a way for new hires to learn about other teams and functions across the company. This could take the form of monthly onboarding meetings where representatives from each team give new hires a brief overview, loose 1-1 meetings, or even a shadowing session.

Understanding cross-functional connections and goals encourages new hires to think holistically and will help them see where their work fits into the broader organisation.

  • Onboarding should be a soft landing

A new hire’s first week should be a balance of being excited, settling in, and some easy wins. It’s important for the onboarding experience not to feel overwhelming and for new hires to accomplish things—even if they’re small—in their first week. Make them excited and ready for the next week.

  • Make a great first impression

Onboarding is one of the first steps you take towards setting your employees up for success, and it’s an ever-evolving process. As more people join your company, new and different opportunities to improve it will arise, so keep adapting. Get feedback often, find what works for your team, and continue iterating on it with each new hire.

Onboarding is a huge group effort. So many people come together when someone is hired—HR, functional teams, coordinators, IT—that to have their efforts fall flat would be a huge disappointment. But by following these best practices, you can provide a great onboarding experience together.

HR News
Images: thanks to Alex, for Photographs by Alex Proimos


Related Dovetail articles
The STAY interview
Mind the gap in gender pay
Tackling the gender pay gap

Follow us to keep up to date with news, jobs and career tips:

Follow Dovetail on Facebook Follow Dovetail on Instagram

Originally posted – July 2017
Updated Feb 2020

Explore more from our blog here...