On-boarding Guide Spring 2020


Its not ground-breaking news that the world of work has changed. A company is only as good as the people in it, and people will continue to be good to a company, as long as the company delivers the same to the employee. Information is so available now – it takes nothing for candidates to tap into Google and do a quick salary and benefits comparison with your competitors, let alone what they see and hear from friends and on social media about how amazing their company culture is.


The ‘war for talent’ is an expression used frequently in the world of recruitment and HR. It’s not as easy as placing a job advert anymore and taking your pick – more efforts are being made to retain staff which is why on-boarding is a crucial part of the employee experience, apart form setting the foundations for everything else. It’ so important to get off to a good start and be mindful of the huge emotional and psychological pressures of starting a new job in a new and unfamiliar environment.


Things to consider when adding up the true cost of losing an employee:

  1. Resignation. By the time someone resigns, they’ve been thinking about it for around 3 months which means they’ve been disengaged for nearly a quarter of the year. Disengagement = low productivity

  2. Off-boarding. HR forms, HR interviews, handover

  3. Workload, spread across the team until a new hire is made. Pressure, stress and not to mention the potential cultural impact on the team

  4. Advertising and recruiting for someone new

  5. Loss in productivity as the new person takes time to get up to speed and embed


Some data for you because the numbers make it all seem a bit more real!

  • Companies with a good on-boarding process achieve over 2 x more revenue growth than companies without, and on-boarding is the second most important or influential HR practice from a list of 221.

  • Glassdoor found that organisations with a strong on-boarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%2

  • Gallup found that 88% of people don’t believe their organisations do a great job of on-boarding3

  • 30% of 1000 participants in a study by Cezanne HR, said that they had changed their mind (after accepting the offer) due to poor or no follow up or a bad experience with the organisation about the offer4

  • Some studies (such as SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs the equivalent, on average, of 6 to 9 months’ pay based on their salary5

  • The general consensus is that on-boarding should take at least three months. However, research suggests companies can increase employee retention by extending on-boarding throughout an employee’s entire first year. Creating a robust on-boarding programme that extends throughout an employee’s first year helps employees become more productive, feel comfortable in their work environment, learn where to go when they have questions, adapt to the company culture, and build better employee relationships

It’s no surprise that only 12% of employees think their organisation does a great job on-boarding, when it was found that more than half of organisations focus it on processes and paperwork – yawn. Furthermore, one-third said their on-boarding program was informal, inconsistent, or reactive.


The best on-boarding programmes focus on people, not paperwork. Pushing people through paperwork and training so they can start work sooner may not be the ultimate path to employee productivity and contribution.


HCI reported that 87% of organisations that have a buddy programme, say that it's an effective way to speed up new hire proficiency1


Many organisations stop their on-boarding process just after the first week, leaving new hires feeling confused, discouraged, and lacking resources. Again, it’s no surprise organisations aren’t doing a great job with on-boarding when all activities are completed so quickly. A week is hardly enough time for a new hire to become accustomed to the company, culture, and role. The best employee on-boarding programmes extend throughout the employee’s first 90 days—and may even extend out for a full year—to ensure new hires are fully supported as they ramp to full productivity.


On-boarding Case Studies

Twitters’ ‘Yes to Desk’ scheme. Before the employee sits down, they have their email address, a T-shirt, and bottle of wine waiting. New employee desks are strategically located next to key teammates they will be working with. On the first day, new team members have breakfast with the CEO followed by a tour of the company office, before group training on the tools and systems relevant to their role. To keep the company culture vibrant, Twitter has a monthly new hire Happy Hour with the Senior Leadership Team, and a rotating schedule of presentations on Friday afternoons where employees can learn about other team projects. Pretty cool hey?


LinkedIn has a programme called “Investing [In] You” which covers core new employee on-boarding & induction topics such as corporate, medical and financial benefits. LinkedIn also run something called InDay, where every employee, once a month gets a day to focus on themselves, the company or the world. They also pay lots of attention to the bit in between someone accepting and someone starting like sending them an interactive PDF which showcases what they can expect on their first day to help mentally prepare them for day one. They also send them the LinkedIn Culture Code once they sign their offer letter.


At Eventbrite, the HR team puts up new hire profiles around their office so that everyone onsite can quickly learn the names and faces of new employees and make them feel welcome. Additionally, every quarter, the HR team also hosts a new-hire social for those who joined within the last three months so that they could make connections with other new team members. Because of this, new hires quickly feel like a part of Eventbrite and invested in the company culture.


Are you sat there thinking, ‘well we aren’t LinkedIn or Twitter so what could we do?’ The thing with on-boarding is anything is better than nothing and you can’t do too much.


Some Top Tips


1. Offer to start. Automate the document

Processes to reduce paperwork on the first day such as introducing e-signature documentation is more efficient all round and helps reduce paper usage.


2. Communicate with your new starter prior to their first day

This could be sending out the latest company newsletter, videos from current employees discussing what they like about working for the company, company culture information or a section on the benefits. This will help to engage your new employee early and make them feel part of the team before starting.


3. Communicate with colleagues about who they have joining them

Ask your new starter to ask 5 ‘get to know you’ or ‘fun fact’ questions and do the same with their new team. Share answers with the team and new starter prior to them starting so it helps breaks the ice and offers familiarity before they start.


4. First day!

Don’t bombard your new starter by introducing them to 20 people, chances are they won’t remember their names and it will be a little overwhelming! Introduce tactically. This will largely depend on the size of your business.


5. Don’t do all this work and then give your new starter a handbook explaining the pension

Set up a morning or afternoon with their line manager or someone from HR, to go through how the benefits, payroll, HR systems work. Some companies have an online portal for this so employees can log in and watch videos if they forget something or need to refresh.


6. Assign your new starter a buddy.

87% of organisations say this is an effective way to speed up the on-boarding process. Its free and its easy. Simply link a seasoned worker up with a new hire, ask them to check in with them once a week and then once or twice a month after month one. This will help them integrate with company culture and gain valuable information.


7. When speaking with the new employee…

Tie in phrases that paint a picture of the values, behaviours and culture when answering questions, for example " We do this, because quality is important" or "We have heard from our customers, that this makes us most effective”. This will help build a picture of culture and the way things are done.


8. Team events & socials

This doesn’t have to be a trip to the pub. What about a team walk? A team bike ride? There are plenty of activities you can do from structured team building days to free and easy things like a walk in the countryside. This gets you out of your usual working environment and talking.


9. Feedback

Opportunities for you and your new starter to exchange feedback are crucial. Regular catch ups and more formal 121’s are essential. If you talked about progression at interview stage, make sure you keep talking about it and put your new starter on a proper development plan, if that’s what they want.


The risk is not that you do too much in employee on-boarding, but too little.


The Circle Onboarding Guide - March 2020
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