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The Importance of On-Boarding

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On-boarding means getting a new employee into their new job as quickly and efficiently as possible. On-boarding is a growing trend; after all, the sooner an employee gets established and comfortable in their new position, the sooner they become productive! So what are the do’s and don’ts of employee on-boarding – how do you maximize the process to its full potential?

The following tips can help you get the best from your on boarding program:

Try to impress

While new employees are concerned with making their own positive first impressions – the company should be concerned to do the same. An unprofessionally presented on-boarding process will make the employee think twice about their decision to join your organization.

Keep it simple and low key

There will come a time when the new hire needs to know that the company holds a picnic every Labor Day and that Nov. 21 is the company founder’s birthday. That time, however, is not the first week on the job.

Keep it interesting

On-boarding, by nature, will always require new employees to fill out forms, watch orientation videos and perform various other mind-numbing tasks. But try to make the process less boring by alternating rote tasks with more engaging activities, such as touring production facilities, examining new tools and meeting colleagues.

Designate a mentor

Assigning an experienced mentor to the new hire, preferably someone in the same general business area, will give the newcomer a reliable escort and contact source. The mentor should be available for consultation throughout the business day for at least the first week or so of a new hire’s employment. After that, you may trim access back to scheduled meetings.

Take time to listen

On-boarding is a two way process: The mentor provides facts and support, and the new hire asks crucial questions about his or her job. To facilitate the ongoing flow of information, build time into the on-boarding schedule to allow both parties to sit down and discuss uninterrupted, whatever happens to be on their minds.

Prepare the workspace

On-boarding’s primary goal should be to get new hires comfortable with their jobs and working at near peak efficiency out of the starting gate. But this isn’t possible if the person’s workspace isn’t available or is missing essential tools or materials. That’s why it’s important to have a permanent workspace ready as soon as the new hire arrives for work.

Provide follow up support

Too many companies take a “sink-or-swim” approach to on-boarding, designing the process as a stand alone system with specific starting and ending dates. Actually, on-boarding should be viewed as just the first step in an ongoing employee support program. During the on-boarding process, employees need to be introduced to the company’s full spectrum of career-advancement, wellness, recreation and other programs, as well as encouraged to seek information and other assistance whenever the need arises.

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