One of the most overlooked HR practices is that of onboarding new staff. Office tours, introductions and orientation procedures may seem trivial but in reality, they are pivotal steps which ultimately impact your companies’ ability to retain new employees. It doesn’t stop there though, by ensuring that important information has been conveyed to new employees you are preventing inconsistencies which may affect the overall company culture. So what is onboarding best practice then? Here are some of the most important onboarding practices.

Step One: Answer the Questions

As early as during the hiring process you want to make a good impression on a potential employee. Ensure that a candidate has had ample opportunity to ask as many questions as they need to during the interview. This will show that you will take the time necessary to get on the same page with regards to the role, the company and the desired outcomes for everyone involved. Anything less than this will jeopardise the entire role and potentially any projects and team morale.

Step Two: Keep in Contact

Simple things such as being cognisant of a candidate’s needs goes a long way. Do this by clarifying the steps of the hiring process and communicating your expected timeline. When a candidate knows when they can expect to hear back from you and how long it might take to produce an offer, they can organise their life accordingly. If things don’t go as planned, simply keeping in touch will help smooth the path when there are unexpected hitches.

Step Three: Be a Tour Guide

Showing someone where the bathrooms, canteen and kitchen are not to be discounted in any way. By helping someone orientate themselves early on, you help to eliminate some of their jitters and offer them enough autonomy to grab a coffee and eat their lunch as and when they need. During the tour take the opportunity to introduce them to other staff members and find out a bit more about them. These are the niceties which humanise a workplace and put people at ease.

Step Four: Prepare the Tech, Tools and Accounts

Few things are as frustrating as arriving on your first day at a new job only to be met with an unprepared desk, no computer, no email account, an uninterested team and no parking spot. From the moment a new employee arrives they should have access to a computer, a spot to work and an email account at the very least. There is no good reason for an employee to sit around on their first day feeling lost and disregarded. The sooner you can get them on track the sooner they can settle in and be productive.

Step Five: The Formal Stuff

Once a new employee has had a tour and a cup of coffee it is time to meet the team the manager and HR (if they haven’t already), to discuss the more formal aspects of the position and a way forward. Now is when they will learn about company policies, values and what they are going to start working on first. With a roadmap for key projects and performance objectives, your new candidate is more likely to integrate easily, feel free to ask questions and start doing whatever it is that they were hired for.

Bonus Step: Make it Fun

Quite possibly the most overlooked of all the steps, making someone feel at ease starts with answering questions and offering assistance where necessary but it continues with the intention of getting to know each other better. Taking lunch breaks together and engaging in team building activities are what makes your old jobless mundane but your new job more comfortable. If all you can offer a new team member is a handshake, at least make it a genuine one and try to remember their name.

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