EngagementThe importance of good onboarding

The importance of good onboarding

Dawn Moore, Director of Human Resources, Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, discusses the key principles that lay behind the increasingly important concept of good onboarding.

Many of us will have experienced a first day at work complete with awkward moments – not being sure where to sit, having to awkwardly ask where the toilets are and in some cases not even being completely clear of what you’ve actually been recruited to do. Most employees will have also experienced a first day induction that was less than ideal – ranging from a quick handshake then being left to it – through to something containing so much information 80% of it is forgotten by the end of the first week.

Too many organisations forget that the employee journey – including the process of onboarding – actually starts on the day that a future colleague has their very first contact with an organisation. This begins upon the point of first hearing about the job, not the day they start employment. Getting it wrong at any stage in the journey, from this critical first contact, right through until the day they join and including the first few months while they settle in, can cause lasting damage to an employee’s perception of and relationship with their new employer.

The best businesses are now fully versed in the process of onboarding and believe in its importance as a holistic and long term way of welcoming new recruits into the workplace, so much so that they are working to embed it as a given as part of their hiring practice.

Key facets of onboarding include helping colleagues even before they join understand how their role fits into the wider business, what the culture is like, developing a good relationship with their line manager and team early and signposting them to the organisational support mechanisms around them.

At Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, onboarding is critical to how we bring new employees into our company. Key to our onboarding success is encouraging the right behaviours without being bureaucratic or too theoretical.

By encouraging our hiring managers, for example, to think about the wider implications of onboarding as described above, we are investing in the employees’ future and immediately making them more likely to want to become a long term member of the team. We have found that where this is done well, it significantly increases recruitment attraction, time to hire and overall retention.

Based on experience, here are several key points to think about when considering onboarding in your own organisation.

Onboarding begins much sooner than the first day

The time before starting a new job is usually a period of both nerves and excitement for any future colleague, regardless of type and level of job. In order to calm the former while nurturing the latter, it is critical to engage with future colleagues in an ongoing, collaborative and effective way.  Even simple changes to terminology – such as referring to colleagues rather than employees – creates a sense of being more than just a number and is proven to be indicative of the company culture.

Simple touches like regular personal contact from the colleague’s hiring manager prior to arrival, ensuring they are fully clear on their role and responsibilities in advance of their start date and also being clear on the company vision and values goes a long way to helping a colleague feel part of the company quickly. This also frees up valuable time for other more practical induction activities upon arrival.

Instil the principles of your company culture into your new recruits

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

2m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

5m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

5m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article
Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

Employee Engagement Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

5m Alara Basul | Sponsored

Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successf...

Remote working has impacted the way we communicate as a workforce, but striking the right balance between creating an engaged workforce and a successf...

View article
How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

Culture How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

5m Alara Basul | Sponsored

How to create a company culture capable of empower...

While new working patterns that emerged from the pandemic have earned a permanent spot in the workplace, creating a purpose-driven culture based ...

View article
WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

Leadership Learnings WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

6m Amy Kirkham

WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid wo...

Alison Noon-Jones, VP of People & Culture at Leidos UK & Europe, shares how crucial employee engagement and participation is when shaping the people s...

View article
Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

Leadership Development Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

6m Terence Mauri

Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your...

HRD thought leader and Hack Future Lab founder Terence Mauri sets out why the biggest risk to leadership is not turbulence itself, but leading with ye...

View article

Many of the world’s happiest workers, consciously or unconsciously, derive their pleasure from the knowledge they are contributing to an endeavour greater than themselves. By introducing new recruits to your organisational culture, history and vision and values for the future, and not just your processes and procedures, they will immediately be aware of how they fit into the wider picture and what success in their role will mean for their own personal development and the company as a whole.

However, this cannot be achieved through merely listing buzzwords and phrases such as “team work” or “cohesion” or leaving it to your HR team. Actual examples must be used by hiring managers to demonstrate how colleagues support each other in the team the future colleague will be joining and how they collaborate in order to achieve a common goal. Additionally, it is important for them to meet a wide variety of experienced team members, not just from their own function but across different disciplines, who are willing to give important but concise information about the company and their experiences of it that will not overwhelm or intimidate.

It is also well known that even the wording of a job advertisement – right at the start of an onboarding process – can say a lot about a company culture.  We have found. for example, that roles which indicate that the hiring manager will consider flexible working receive on average 38% more applications than those that don’t.

Clarity is key

Key to a successful company is a range of individuals excelling in their fields, working together to achieve a common aim. While there are benefits to all-rounders, the best companies rely on amassing brilliant operators in different disciplines working together. Therefore, it is imperative that from day one, new colleagues are fully aware of exactly what their role requires of them, and how their new organisation will support them in achieving this. There should be no room for ambiguity with regards to their objectives and responsibilities or their importance to the overall success of the organisation. Here, an assigned mentor/buddy for example, who is experienced not only functionally, but in the company as a whole, can be key in helping new colleagues contribute effectively and quickly.

Be innovative

In construction, for example, there are few things more important for new colleagues than bringing them up to speed on how they can remain vigilant and be safe. Being visually aware of what safety risks look like before a job begins is a key way of knowing what to look for once work has begun. With this in mind, we have developed a cutting edge system that allows new site-based colleagues to familiarise themselves with where they will be working from the safety of a classroom environment.

New recruits are able to use a headset to virtually tour structures, and to zoom in and out to identify faults or possible safety risks. This results in an improved ability to identify problems that may occur in a live working environment while also ensuring they are welcomed to a project in a helpful and informative way. While this is a sector-specific example, it is important to constantly monitor new technological developments in order to develop new innovations that can improve the onboarding experience.

The points I’ve touched on are by no means comprehensive, but are proven to help companies see improved results in both employee outcomes and specifically productivity and retention.  Onboarding is not a buzz-word or a HR ‘initiative’ – it is a critical first step on a new colleague’s journey to a successful career.

Comments are closed.

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

2m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

5m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

5m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article