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Onboarding Unleashed: The Strategic Guide to Boosting Employee Retention and Engagement

According to studies, 90 percent of employees decide whether they will stay at an organization within the first 6 months on the job. For this reason, a successful onboarding program can be crucial. The study found that onboarding employees during their first year of employment increased retention rates by 25 percent. Additional benefits include increased engagement, improved performance, and accelerated time to full productivity. This makes onboarding pretty significant for all businesses.

Because employees continue to transition into their new position throughout the first year, the study emphasizes the need to engage new employees beyond the standard first day orientation. Employers should continuously provide support and feedback to new employees after the traditional orientation period in order to achieve desired results. The study concludes that, especially with salary budgets under pressure, an effective onboarding program may be a cost-effective way to boost engagement and retention rates.

Ever-so-often, we find onboarding to be a chore and we normally cut corners; because we reason, “I’m busy”. Cutting corners only hinders you, the business and the new employee.

An effective orientation program is an ongoing process, allowing the employee time to assimilate all the required information. It is a critical tool in making employees feel part of the organization and increasing employee engagement and loyalty. A well-planned orientation is beneficial for both the new employee and the organization. A thorough program:

• Shortens the new employee’s learning curve, increasing productivity and reducing errors;

• Facilitates compliance with company policies and procedures;

• Improves job satisfaction and retention; and

• Promotes communication between managers and staff.

Before and employee is hired you should create a checklist, which should include:

• Workstation (where will they sit or be working?)

• Telephone (will they need a phone? Is it set-up?)

• Computer, Printer (what equipment will they need)

• Email, Software

• Notify Department (send out welcome email)

• Update company directory, add their information

• Assign a mentor/buddy

• Create Employee Onboarding Plan

This will indicate to the employee that you were planning for their arrival and had a plan in place for them to feel at home in their new environment.

Not creating a formal plan is a big mistake when you hire a new employee. Once you have your plan in place some additional information you will want to include in the first weeks are:

1. Company information (mission, markets, people, policies/procedures)

2. Employee benefits (payroll/pay day; how to enroll; keys; handbook; emergency procedures, sick days, vacation, dress code, smoking, parking, etc.)

3. Job information (reporting structure, job description; org chart; performance evaluation)

4. Mentor/buddy/trainer

Lastly, you should have regular meetings and get feedback from the new hire. Set milestones, verify to ensure they are integrating into the job and that they are meeting performance expectations.

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