In my previous articles, I’ve focused on current leaders, team members, and employees and what makes for a high-performance organization. But what about future employees and new recruits?Ϯ How do we get them up to speed so they feel welcome, involved, and an effective part of the company?

Unfortunately, the onboarding process is too often seen as a burden rather than an opportunity. Between the paperwork, time, training activity and seemingly endless questions, onboarding can feel laborious. Given this perception, it’s no wonder that turnover rates among new hires can be 20% or higher.

However, when done well, The Globe and Mail discovered the onboarding process can condense a typical six-month process into three, setting a new recruit up for higher productivity. Not to mention the savings involved in retainment, which can range anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 per employee.

Where to start

Think about what makes a relationship develop, grow, and be sustained. It starts from the very first contact; whether it’s email, phone, or a personal meeting. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Are your marketing tools (visual, audio, and otherwise) creating that attention-getting appeal to attract top talent? From that first impression – “I want to work here” – are all the subsequent people and processes designed to sustain and augment the recruit’s initial interest?

Add remote work and hybrid work models to the mix and you have a myriad of things to consider in building a high-performance onboarding process. Here are our suggestions:

Reinforce your Expectations

You’re already a high-performance company with highly committed highly involved employees. Once the offer letter is accepted and a start date confirmed keep in touch with your soon-to-be employee. Whether it’s by phone, e-mail or a welcome package sent to their home, tell them why you are a high-performance company. Include quotes from your management team, other employees, and if you have them, articles citing why you are a preferred employer.

Get the Paperwork Done Before the Start DateϮϮ

Let’s face it, paperwork is not exciting but necessary. With today’s technology you can put all the required forms online and have the recruit fill them in before their start date. Make the forms easy to fill out – eye candy is good and reinforces your image as a company that cares and has fun in everything it does. Warm and fuzzies make people feel welcome.

Think of The Three Musketeers

Remember their team mantra? All for one and one for all. Everyone in your company has a role in onboarding and if you have job descriptions make sure they are listed as one of the key responsibilities of every employee. Whether it’s just a handshake, a coffee break, or a group lunch, the new hire should get the opportunity to meet everyone upon arrival, starting those with whom they will work most closely.

Wedding Cakes, Birthday Cakes, why not Employment Cakes?

Whether it’s day one, first month or after 90 days have a celebration (one or more!). Remember what we said in our last article about organizational health and the importance of social health? Welcoming the new employee and reinforcing how much you appreciate their commitment with a celebration will pay huge dividends. Maybe a pizza is more appropriate than a cake. Have the team make that decision. We’ve never heard any employee say, “How dare you ask for my opinion!”

Ensure Onboarding is Viewed as the Start of your Organization’s Ongoing Learning Process

Are you familiar with The University of Toronto motto? Like a tree I grow. Learning is something we all must do to grow, whether it’s as individuals, teams, or leaders. Knowledge is not inherent. It’s acquired and a continuous improvement mindset is critical to long-term success. From day one your new hire, as with all employees, should keep asking, “How can we do this better?”. Conduct a survey to glean insights from your team to refine your approach.

Ϯ There is a well-developed and tested process for onboarding outside recruits and internal individual contributors being promoted into management posts. It’s called the New Manager Assimilation Program (NMAP). Contact us for more details.

ϮϮ There are a myriad of details associated with onboarding. If you’d like to compare yours to those we have accumulated over the years, specific to graphic arts, contact Heather Black for a copy or to chat.