Onboarding Strategy

Onboarding Strategy

A strong talent acquisition process looks at the complete candidate experience: from defining the role, prospecting candidates and courting them throughout the process. What many companies miss, onboarding.

We’ll say it loud and clear: you must continue your ongoing engagement with a new employee even beyond their start date. Forgetting about it can have catastrophic consequences.

What is onboarding? 

Onboarding is often seen as a compliance process and a ‘tick box’ exercise.  It’s not. It’s ensuring your new staff member settles into their new role knowing exactly what is expected of them. It’s ensuring other staff members understand what the new hire is doing, and it’s ensuring the new starter is welcomed into the company beyond just their first week. 

“Do we have the technology ready?”, “Do we have a desk?”, “Do the team know who is starting when?”. 

These are common questions we regularly see being asked at the last minute in fast-paced scale-ups. Yet it is precisely in those environments that the importance of employee engagement should not be lost. 

What are the benefits of onboarding?

In a fiercely competitive market, it’s crucial to ‘court’ candidates from the very moment you have your first interaction with them. But you must continue to engage with them even as they join you and beyond; from celebrating their first major milestone to putting an arm around them should they make a human mistake.  

There are many benefits to being proactive about onboarding:

  • Reduction of the cost of talent acquisition: if the hiring experience is a good one,  individuals will refer others to join you.
  • Increased engagement: engaged employees outperform the rest and seek to go above and beyond what is expected of them.
  • Improve your bottom line: by using the candidate journey effectively, you can ensure that those who join you are knowledgeable and engaged so hit the ground running.  Delivering for the business sooner
  • Reduce time to hire: if the experience is a positive one, individuals may post positively on social platforms such as glassdoor, meaning other candidates get to see what a great company you are.

We’re here to help you define what that onboarding process should look like in your scale-up — from candidate communication to relationship building with other staff members. 

Ultimately, onboarding helps connect everyone together, and who doesn’t want that in their business? 


What factors affect employee retention?

In many cases candidates quote either the culture, no room for further development or their manager as reasons why they leave a company.  In some cases there is little you can do but if you focus on having a great onboarding process and regular engagement with the your people, then issues can be picked up before people want to exit.  There are various employee engagement tools that we have researched, here are a few to take a look at:

How do I onboard people well?

We recommend not approaching onboarding as simply a tick box exercise.  Yes, you need to make sure that all the technology is available and ready for when they start but it is really important to engage with new team members even before they join you. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you have any social event, invite them along
  • Organise some video ‘get to know you’ with potential team members and stakeholders so they can start to learn about the team and what everyone does
  • Send them any news articles which will start to get them engaged and excited about what is happening in the company
  • As them to provide details about themselves (if this is something they and you are comfortable doing) for example, we had a client who put together a sheet on each new employee and sent it out to the team.  On the sheet were some facts about their new joiner including hobbies, interests, fun facts e.g. favourite chocolate bar.  On the day they joined, their chocolate bar was waiting for them on their desk.

Who’s responsibility is onboarding?

Onboarding isn’t simply part of the HR.  It is the responsibility of everyone in the company.  Particularly as a scale up.  Everyone is really busy and focused on delivering but welcoming new people to the team and embedding them in what is happening are vital to success.  So making sure everyone across the business know who is joining when and making a point of organising introductions and checking in with the candidate regularly in terms of who they have met, what would they like to know that they don’t, who haven’t they met yet.  The manager responsible for the new employee should ultimately take responsibility for onboarding.  It’s in their interests for it to work well and for the individual to thrive quickly in their new role.

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Polyco Healthline

‘What set Nici and the Talent gateway team apart from the pack was their attention to culture, fit and a deep understanding of the context and needs of our business. This commitment to going beyond the surface allowed us to build a talent bank…’

Lesley Lindberg – Director, Digital Solutions and New Ventures

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