Building an Effective Onboarding Programs | Kelly Services Australia

Kelly Services offers employers nine tips for building an effective on-boarding program to retain staff beyond the recruitment process 

19 October 2011  

Kelly Services offers employers nine tips for building an effective on-boarding program to assist in retaining staff beyond the recruitment process.

Penny O’Reilly, General Manager, Kelly Services Australia, said, “After the selection process, on-boarding is arguably the single most critical step to ensuring the success of new employees.

“Even the most successful on-boarding programs will not eliminate unwanted turnover but an outstanding on-boarding program can help reduce the volume of new hire turnover, which is costly and time consuming.”

By failing to build an effective on-boarding program into the standard business process, companies lose the perfect opportunity to instil their values and corporate culture, and risk stifling employees’ excitement and enthusiasm.

O’Reilly said, “Unfortunately many companies view the on-boarding process as a necessary evil, an uncomfortable afterthought to the hiring process. Employers need to remember that other than the recruiting period, orientation is the first image an employee has of the company – a picture that will likely stay with the employee throughout his or her tenure.

“A thoughtfully planned and executed on-boarding program helps ease the transition to the workplace. Companies that keep orientation intentional, and even lively, go a long way to tapping the full skill set of the new hire as well as igniting his or her excitement and enthusiasm. It's well worth the investment of time and resources to get the new employee to be a fully engaged member of the team as soon as possible.”

To reduce employee turnover and help new staff members adopt a great attitude, employers should consider the below nine tips for implementing a successful on-boarding program:

  1. Coming attractions. Before the new employee reports on the first day, send them a package that provides an overall picture of the organisation and conveys your excitement about them coming on board. Focus on what each area does and how all the employees are connected, but keep it light.
  2. Make it hands-on and face-to-face. If you want to make a good impression on your newly hired employee, start by replacing the company orientation manual with human interaction. On-boarding processes that incorporate human interaction enhance effectiveness, satisfaction and retention – and will help your company realise a valuable return on your investment.
  3. Start the program with the most important issues. Everyone is more alert at the beginning of the day or program. This gives you time to fully cover the important issues and considerations.
  4. Promote communication. Generation X and Y workers, in particular, seek one-on-one communication with a supervisor who is approachable and appreciative. A hands-on manager or supervisor will help new employees understand what’s expected of them, and where/how they fit into the big picture.
  5. Position managers in key on-boarding roles. Managers should play a key role in the new employee’s on-boarding experience. By setting understandable expectations on both sides, employees know what they need to accomplish and, equally important, they also know what to expect from their managers.
  6. Don’t overwhelm new employees with too many details or introductions at once. Even the brightest new employee can be overwhelmed with data, information, and new people if they're presented in ‘machine gun’ fashion. Space out your program to keep it interesting and digestible. Covering policies and procedures, then interjecting an introduction or two, and finally moving to some duties and responsibilities should keep the new employee’s interest and let them better absorb the information.
  7. Use a buddy/mentor system. Having an experienced employee serve as an orientation mentor for the new staff member accomplishes a number of positive goals. This action can relieve new employee anxiety, provide a primary source of information after orientation, and offer a ‘buddy’ to help the new employee start their tenure in the right direction.
  8. Make it last. Most employees need to know they’re doing a good job, so keep the feedback flowing after the first few weeks on the job. Ongoing meetings with a new employee are a great venue for keeping the lines of communication open.
  9. Establish reachable goals. New employees want to contribute to their workplace as quickly as possible. Give them real work that can be completed within the first few weeks. Getting these employees “up and running” as soon as possible gives a new employee a sense of being a valuable and necessary member of the team.

O’Reilly said, “Using these tips helps create a successful new employee on-boarding program by infusing a sense of belonging as well as dispensing critical information to help improve the chances of a high-performing tenure.”

Media contact 
Michelle Taylor
Recognition PR
02 9252 2266




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