EXPERT INTERVIEWS: THE PERFECT ONBOARDING PROCESS
“THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATION : ANTICIPATE THE ARRIVAL OF YOUR NEW EMPLOYEE”
Monday morning, 8:00 AM. You’re bustling in the office, gathering presentation brochures, and trying to set up a computer just unpacked from its box. In an hour, your new collaborator will start their position alongside you after a lengthy recruitment process. You asked them to come in at 9:00 AM, but, a bit stressed – which may seem normal for the first day – they arrived at 8:30 AM. Panic sets in; you haven’t anticipated, and nothing is ready. The IT specialist won’t arrive until 11 AM, and the coffee machine is broken. The first day starts off poorly…
This anecdote may seem a bit exaggerated, yet it is nevertheless indicative of how many new employees are welcomed in some companies. However, the first day represents a crucial step in the employee experience. So, apart from offering them custom onboarding goodies, how can you make this essential day a pleasant and serene moment for both you and your new collaborator? And what onboarding process should be implemented to retain new employees?
Onboarding a new employee, what does it mean?
Today, let’s discuss with Camille Lucien, an expert in HR topics, about the best practices to implement for integrating an employee and securing their hiring. Met at the agency of goodies My Gift, she shares her advice for a well-managed onboarding process.
__Camille, how would you define onboarding?
Camille Lucien: The welcome and integration of a new employee represent 50% of the success of a recruitment. It’s a moment that can be experienced with great enthusiasm or, conversely, anxiety for both teams and your new recruit.
For the manager, it’s the moment to make a good first impression on this new employee and help them quickly and smoothly integrate into the company’s codes.
For the collaborator, it’s their responsibility to find a place among their future colleagues, get used to their superiors, imbibe the values, and understand the specifics of the company. An integration phase not always easy and sometimes stressful to experience.
Onboarding is the process that allows the new employee to better integrate into their work environment, get to know their colleagues and partners, and understand the functioning of this new ecosystem. This integration process is crucial and should start before the arrival of the new collaborator and continue for months after taking the position.
__As the day approaches, how can you ensure to create the ideal conditions for a successful integration of the new employee?
CL: Firstly, it’s essential to be aware that onboarding starts from the first interviews and truly takes shape when accepting the job offer. I recommend maintaining communication by email between the job offer acceptance and your collaborator’s arrival.
Even if it’s just to assure them of your availability to provide information about the company. You can send them, for example, the organizational chart to reassure them. But be careful not to overdo it.
Finally, for the D-day, remember to inform them about practical points like parking spaces or subway stops. You will facilitate their arrival and avoid unnecessary stress.
What are the key steps for a successful onboarding?
__What essential principles should a manager keep in mind to facilitate the integration of their new employee?
CL: Passing the interview stage, welcoming, and integrating are of paramount importance to make your recruitment a success. Nothing should be left to chance to avoid the cost of a failed integration, which can be very expensive for both the company and the candidate.
Keep in mind that successful onboarding involves good communication and, therefore, explaining, before and during integration, understanding how the company works, its culture, and interpreting the job’s responsibilities and development opportunities… Everything must be done for the employee to quickly find their bearings and feel comfortable enough to ask questions to their manager.
“THE KEY WORDS OF ONBOARDING ARE COMMUNICATION AND LISTENING.”
__To prevent turnover, which reaches 45% in the first months following a job start, what approach should be favored with new collaborators on the day of their integration and in the following weeks?
CL: On D-day, your collaborator should feel that their arrival has been well prepared. So, inform your team and even your partners, explain who has been recruited, for what position, and what their profile is. Obviously, set up all IT equipment in advance so that they can be directly operational. Don’t forget to create their email address and adjust their first tasks so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by too much information.
To feel like they already belong to the company, everything must be ready or even personalized with their name and surname: badge, keys, smartphone, etc. Think of everything they will need to start their tasks. In short, even anticipate the pencil, notebook, and coffee mug! Ultimate tip: offer a personalized Welcome Pack. You will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.
Finally, I also advise you to identify a person responsible for welcoming them, giving them a tour, and providing an overview of the company. To end the day, or at lunchtime, organize a convivial and more informal moment of exchange with the teams. In the following weeks, continue to talk to your new collaborator to ensure the successful integration of tasks and the company’s codes. Above all, stay tuned.
A successful onboarding to reinforce your employer brand
__From your point of view, what is the secret to turning this crucial integration period into a serene moment for everyone?
CL: My secret is to prepare this onboarding day well and especially to put yourself in your employee’s shoes to anticipate everything they might need.
Finally, don’t forget to continue the onboarding process for at least 45 days. Integration is not limited to the first day in the company.
__Once the employee feels integrated and comfortable in their tasks, what are the benefits of a successful onboarding for the company?
Like in any human relationship, the beginnings are crucial to establish the foundations for future collaboration.
Missteps in the onboarding process send a negative signal for the future. A successful onboarding gives recruited talents the means to evolve serenely and acquire skills effectively to give their best.
It is a crucial inaugural challenge for the employer. Among other considerations, we find the consolidation of the employer brand, loyalty, and turnover reduction.
__Why has employer branding become so important nowadays?
CL: Employer branding comes from a long process of maturation in HR and an awareness of the differences in communication between B2C brand marketing and communication towards future candidates.
Thus, employer branding work begins when recruiting an employee until their departure. And it’s not a strategy reserved only for large companies.
On the contrary, it concerns all companies because they are all at some point concerned with recruiting and retaining their employees.
A good employer reputation plays an important role in attracting new talents. It is shaped through values and how personnel are managed, clear communication, adequate compensation, and a healthy and attractive work environment.
__Finally, if onboarding concerns everyone who will have the chance to embark on the adventure, what about the candidates left on the bench? And how can a negative feedback after a job interview be turned into a positive experience?
CL: Every candidate invests considerable effort to land a job, and processes can often be long, establishing professional and friendly ties.
Thus, when the journey ends with only one candidate selected, the disappointment can be palpable for others. However, it is possible to transform this disappointment into a positive experience, making candidates authentic ambassadors of our company.
In addition to a respectful approach and personal explanation, offering a corporate gift box as a recognition for their application can make a difference. This creative approach represents a unique opportunity to strengthen the company’s employer brand.
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