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Congratulations, you’ve made a great hiring decision and your new employee is ready to start work. The next step is probably "orientation," where they will spend the first day or two filling out paperwork and learning about the company – usually the "written rules", policies and procedures. However, is that enough to integrate them into your organization quickly and effectively? And does it improve your chances of retaining them?

Orientation is a short-term event that provides the basics, but helping new hires become truly productive in less time (so that you can recoup your investment sooner) requires a broader approach called "onboarding."

Onboarding is a process that actually begins the moment the candidate accepts the job and continues for up to 18 months. Orientation is only one step in that process. The goal of onboarding is for the employee to feel like they are part of a community and reinforce that they made the right decision to join the organization. Research consistently shows that employees who are engaged in a company’s culture are highly productive.

Rather than the generic orientation program, typically delivered classroom-style by Human Resources, onboarding is a personalized experience which is tailored to each new employee and requires a variety of elements including development of specific performance expectations, regular meetings with their manager, intentional introductions and socializing opportunities, and potentially a "buddy" assigned to help them.  

Although Human Resources and other team members play a supporting role, onboarding is the responsibility of the hiring manager. As the saying goes, "People don’t quit companies, they quit supervisors."

More than a simple orientation, an effective onboarding process will bring the right people up to speed quickly, or it will weed out the bad hires. Given the fact that the cost of a bad hire is estimated to be three to ten times the annual salary of a position, investing the time and effort to create an onboarding process is a smart business decision.

We hope you find this information of value in your efforts to attract and retain the best talent available for your business. Next time we’ll discuss some specifics of strategic onboarding.

Thanks to my friends at Houston Partners for sharing this article.