Efficient employee onboarding critical for long-term success

Sharon Florentine

career, job, employee retention, employee satisfaction
Image credit: Topp_Yimgrimm

When you hire a new employee for your IT team, a successful onboarding process involves more than just free food and a new-hire packet.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S.-based employees conducted by BambooHR, a human resources software and services provider, 52 percent of new employees crave a structured and organized process, relevant and well-timed content, and continuing on-the-job training.

Reduce the Learning Curve

The survey also finds that new employees want an onboarding process that helps them reduce the learning curve in becoming an effective, contributing team member.

That could mean extending the time spent to onboard new hires beyond the first week, says Ryan Sanders, BambooHR's chief operating officer and co-founder.

"Onboarding is more than just the first day or the first week, so having a set process that extends beyond that is critical," Sanders says. "For new hires, there's a learning curve and a ramp-up time when they don't feel productive. If the company has everything organized, strategized and streamlined, they feel like the company wants them to succeed and 'has their back.' When that's the case, their performance is greater and their satisfaction and loyalty increase, too," he says.

Use the Buddy System

While paperwork plays a key role in onboarding, new hire orientation is much more about socialization and acculturation, and that can take weeks or months after the employee's hire date. That's why it's important to have a mentoring or 'buddy' system in place to take over after the HR manager's part of the process is completed, Sanders says.

According to the survey, 76 percent of respondents said on-the-job training is the most important aspect of onboarding, since it allows the new hire to come up to speed much more quickly and become a productive member of the team, he says.

"HR managers play a crucial role in onboarding, but our research shows that employees feel their managers have the greatest influence on whether or not their new-hire orientation is effective or not," Sanders says. "Managers should be responsible for providing adequate on-the-job training and proper employee socialization activities that could last weeks or even months into a new job."

In fact, 53 percent of respondents said "review and feedback of early contributions" is one of the most important things a new employee needs to get up to speed and begin contributing quickly. And 33 percent of respondents said management has the greatest influence on whether or not a new-hire orientation is effective.

How to Achieve Effective Onboarding

To make sure your onboarding process is as effective as possible, Sanders recommends first taking a look at your current process and documenting every aspect to see where changes should be made.

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