What makes a good onboarding structure?

Image of five team members lined up laughing to illustrate the Bespoke HR blog on what makes a good onboarding structure.
Recruitment is expensive and time-consuming. One of the biggest HR expenses for small businesses is spending time and money on recruitment, only to lose new employees within the first three months. The most common complaints we hear when conducting exit interviews on behalf of clients is that new starters had a bad onboarding experience and weren’t given enough information or felt unsupported and left to their own devices.  A good onboarding structure is crucial to make new hires feel welcome and motivate them to stay at your business. So what makes a good onboarding structure?

Introduce them to the company before they start

Send an email to your existing team members with information about the new starter. This can include where they have come from and some interesting detail about them. That way, your staff will be ready to welcome them by name on their first day. Likewise, another tip for onboarding new employees is to send them some company info before they start. If your business has a Culture Book or something similar you can share this to give them a feel for the business.

Plan their first week

Start with a meeting with the line manager to talk through the business and supply them with the background to the company. This should include things like dress code, working hours and lunch breaks. This is also a good opportunity to manage expectations in the first week. Ease them into the role and support them as they get up to speed with what’s required.

Don’t forget to demonstrate how the office equipment works, where they can find the photocopier and how to use the telephone system.

Introduce them to colleagues by taking them around the office and initiating chats with each.

Get resources ready

It may sound obvious, but arriving at a new job to find there’s no desk or PC available can be demoralising. Being shown to a desk that’s set up, equipped with resources, and ready to go shows the employee that your business is organised and professional.

Set dates for monthly reviews

This will help you to review their progress, but also let them know they are supported and will have a chance to feedback on any issues or teething problems. You may only need to host these meetings for the first three months, but this gives you the opportunity to iron out any issues before the probation period ends.

Treat them to lunch

Or order lunch in. It’s a nice way to welcome new employees and gives them the chance to chat informally with their colleagues over lunch. Little gestures like this can make a massive difference to the first impression about your business.

Don’t be afraid to ask your existing employees what they think should be included in the onboarding process. They will have a better insight into what would make them feel welcome and valued.

You might also like to read the report from our friends at Polymensa on onboarding in a virtual environment.

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