-Tamara Stopford, Leadership & Engagement Consultant

I still get the jitters every time I start a new job!  I love it—makes you feel alive!

Camille Guaty

In small business in particular, it is not uncommon for an induction and onboarding process to be left to chance…learn as you go…jump in the deep…sink or swim!

I have experienced induction and onboarding processes across many industries, in large and small organisations, as an employee and as a manager.

Stand out experiences for me have been working for large hotel chains, where their induction programs often included broader company history, the excitement of sister hotels in exotic locations and the potential internal and external career opportunities.  Also learning about how each department was integral to a guest experience.  It made me feel part of something bigger and a place where every team member has an important part to play – whether you work in housekeeping, the kitchen or the front reception.

I am also thoroughly enjoying participating in the Focus HR induction and onboarding process – but you would expect a human resource consultancy to be pretty good at this, right?!  It was interesting to learn that this was not always the case, with the process growing and evolving over time through experience and feedback.  Which is a great point to share – that your processes can and should evolve according to the needs of your business and your new team members.

Whilst my experiences have stretched from very detailed, well thought out processes to non-existent.  I can confidently say that the non-existent induction and onboarding processes resulted in greater doubt and uncertainty, stress and anxiety, with many questions

‘Have I made the right decision?’

‘I don’t know what is expected of me’

‘I don’t have the tools to do my job but I don’t want to ask and seem pushy’

‘I still don’t have log ins so I can’t actually learn or do that part of my job’

‘I need to ask questions, but feel like I am interrupting or bothering others’

‘Am I actually valued here?’

Not surprisingly, roles where I experienced a non-existent induction and onboarding process did not result in long-term employment for me.

A research study by Zippia to uncover onboarding trends in 2023 found that organisations with strong onboarding processes increase new hire retention by 82% and improve productivity by 70%

There is much to be said about a business that is prepared for your arrival – where key information has been shared well before your commencement, you know what to expect on your first day, employee paperwork is prepared and provided, and ultimately, the new workplace is looking forward to you joining the team! Such relief!

So what is an effective induction and onboarding process?

Induction is welcoming a new person and providing essential information for them to begin their new role.  It is a process of introducing a new employee to their role, their team and to your business – what is expected of them, the impact and importance of their role in the big picture; and what your new employee can expect from their new workplace in terms of resources, environment, and culture.

Onboarding is the complete transition from being a new starter to a fully trained, productive member of the team – the shift from outsiders to insiders with a sense of belonging.

Supported by the above statistics, the process of inducting and onboarding a new employee is the cornerstone for employee engagement and retention.  Businesses that don’t plan or pay enough attention to their onboarding process run a very real risk of losing new employees early on.  Think about the impact of this – the time and financial cost of recruitment; unproductive work time; the impact on your existing team and potential client dissatisfaction.  Think also of the potential reputational cost.

When you invest in attracting new employees, you should pay equal attention to engaging and retraining them!

A well thought out process should actually start well before day one.  For example, providing new employee paperwork and information on what the first day might look like – what time to start, what to wear, what to bring – in advance of the new employee starting would certainly put your new employees’ mind at ease.  Organising a work space, equipment / technology, log-ins, access, a buddy system, training plan, morning tea – all shows your employee that they are welcome.

A great process goes beyond the first day, where progress checks and opportunities to receive and provide feedback are deliberate and scheduled.

Induction and onboarding activities are not mere formalities – they are investments in the future success of the individual and the business.

‘Organisations often invest heavily in hiring the right talent but overlook the importance of an effective induction; like planting a seed and forgetting to water it, the potential may never be fully realised’  (coachsabu.com)

The team at Focus HR not only delivers a fantastic induction and onboarding process internally that I have been fortunate to participate in.  Our team has also developed a range of resources and training that are available to you to make the most of this process in your business. In fact we have our next workshop for creating a powerful Induction and Onboarding program on the 27th June. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more!


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