MANY companies focus their efforts on finding, interviewing and hiring the right talent. While this is essential, ensuring that these people settle comfortably into their roles so that they can go on to excel is also vital to a company’s growth.
This can be achieved through an effective onboarding process for new talent. This usually takes about 90 days and is divided into four phases — before joining, the first day, the first 30 days and the first 90 days.
This will help new employees understand the company, its processes, and what is expected of them — enabling them to transit smoothly into the organisation and role and become productive quickly.
In addition, successful onboarding can help to improve retention rates of new employees. Studies have shown that the majority of employees decide whether or not to remain with the company for the longer term within the first three months of their joining the company.
For the onboarding process to be successful, every stakeholder — from the new hires’ managers to their team members to the new hires themselves — must play an active role in facilitating the new hires’ integration into the company.
For example, the “buddy system”, where one of the new hires’ team members is assigned to help and answer any questions the new hire may have, can make them feel more welcomed in their new environment.
“Buddies” can also offer guidance, share personal experiences and impart knowledge about department practices and company culture.
It is therefore important that all stakeholders are equipped with the necessary tools to make the transition into the company and role as seamless as possible for the new hire. These tools can include a specially designed guidebook for new hires and check lists for managers and “buddies”.
The onboarding process starts as soon as the new employee accepts the hiring offer from the company. For example, a welcome e-mail or phone call to welcome new employees to the company can make a big difference in whether they look forward to their first day at work or regard it with apprehension.
FIRST DAY: FIRST IMPRESSIONS
As a new employee, you remember your first day of work with the most clarity. This presents employers with a good opportunity to leave a good first impression on new hires.
For instance, one good way of making new hires feel welcome is to pre-empt their needs by having their nameplate, business cards, stationery, laptop, Internet and phone access all in working order before they even arrive at their desks for the first time.
Having an orientation session where new hires can meet, mingle and share their concerns with each other will also allow them to feel more at ease in their new environment. For example, DBS Bank welcomes its new hires with an orientation programme called First Day@DBS.
At this session, new hires are inducted into the DBS family by learning about the bank’s history, vision, strategy and policies. After the session, they are then introduced to their managers, team members and “buddies”, who will then continue to initiate them into the company on a more personal and department-specific level.
New hires should also be encouraged to familiarise themselves with the company’s culture as well as obtain access to resources they may require in their day-to-day work.
FIRST 30 DAYS: CLIMBING UP THE LEARNING CURVE
The first month at work for any new hire can be challenging as he learns how to navigate the company’s various stakeholders, business lines and operations.
Companies can help new hires scale the learning curve by providing them with reading material on the company’s policies and standard operating procedures.
To accelerate learning, managers can also offer more guidance and on-the-job training initially. For example, setting out a to-do list or objectives to be met within the first 30 days can help new hires gain more clarity about their new roles.
Managers and “buddies” can also introduce new hires to key stakeholders to help them build more relationships within the company.
At the end of the first 30 days, new employees are encouraged to take stock of their performance and align this with their overall business objections. Managers can also give them feedback on their performance and discuss their goals for the year.
FIRST 90 DAYS: GROWING INTO THE ROLE
The first three months of a new employee’s tenure at the company marks a time when he will begin to meet expectations as well as deliver against his key performance indicators.
Managers should provide continuous and timely feedback, and conduct a performance review at the 90-day mark so that new employees will know whether they are on the right track, and will be able to finetune their approach to their new roles, if necessary. “Buddies” can also check in regularly with the new hires to offer assistance where required.
New employees should also make the most of their first 90 days to develop their skills and capabilities by attending training programmes that are available to them.
A successful onboarding process will help new hires to transit smoothly into the company and their new roles, enabling them to excel quickly and begin contributing to the company’s growth.
It also enables the company to engage employees from the very beginning, creating a conducive working environment where employees feel supported and valued.
Article by Sylvia Lai, Executive Director, Human Resources, DBS Bank. The bank’s exceptional employee engagement practices earned it Gallup’s Great Workplace Award for two consecutive years, from 2013 to 2014.