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All "Onboard"!

Onboarding (noun)

"The process of  ensuring a new employee or customer becomes familiar with an organisation or its products and services."

Oxford Dictionary.

Most of us have had a bad experience checking in to a hotel. After a long flight you arrive exhausted only to be told your room is not ready or even worse you were not expected that day. This can alter your perception of the hotel and its services, and definitely can affect their business as ‘word of mouth’ is so important in the hospitality sector.

The same can be said for companies with below par onboarding processes.

Companies often carefully recruit, interview and reference check potential employees but drop the ball when it comes to onboarding new staff members and this can have a negative effect on the employee’s engagement from the very start.

A planned and structured onboarding process is essential to empower and engage new employees – thus maximising their potential and productivity.  It also speaks volumes about your ‘brand’ and values – the things you hold important and dear in your company.

Employment New Zealand states that induction/onboarding “sets the tone and expectations for the employee’s relationship with their manager and the organisation, and helps an employee understand the purpose, functions and tasks of their job so they can perform at their best.”

Depending on the size and nature of your business, consider including these points into your onboarding process:

Before the first day:

Get them set up - uniform, keys, swipe card, ID badge, email, and chair/desk/computer, anything they need to get started and feel welcome.

If you have a reception or front desk, advise them that the new employee is starting, give them their name and a day and time to expect them.

Make a plan for their first 90 days, e.g. first day, first week and what you would expect them to know or need to know by day 90.

The First Day:

Basic orientation - dress code, parking, location of supplies, introduction to key people, job description and expectations

Start the day off right - make the experience positive and smooth. Show the employee that you are prepared and ready for them. Share your company’s culture, vision, mission and values. Get them excited about being part of your team.

Offer a welcome - create a welcoming workspace, have ID badges ready, phone and email accounts set up. Take time to introduce them to their team, include things like personal interests. Social interaction is crucial to help the new employee feel welcome. A planned morning tea or lunch will help break the ice.

Consider health and safety requirements:

  • A full health and safety briefing, emergency response plan
  • Tools or equipment to do their job safely.
  • The training and resources they need to do the job safely

The First Week:

  • Set clear expectations - the new employee needs to understand clearly what is expected of them, including daily responsibilities, short and long term goals, performance measures, and company policies and procedures.
  • Consider the learning curve - consider what the employee needs to know, and when. Most new employees take six months to become fully productive and efficient (depending on the role).
  • Empower them - find out what they want to get out of their job, what are their goals?
  • Be available - Encourage frequent feedback and communication, touch base regularly and review at 90 days.

Remember a positive first impression backed up with consistent messaging as to the value the employee has in the business, can make all the difference in the world to their engagement, productivity, tenure and willingness to go the extra mile for the company.  So get it right from the very start.

If you need help with your onboarding processes contact HR Connect on 0800 131 557 or admin@hrconnect.co.nz


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