I was recently standing outside a reputable shoe retailer contemplating the purchase of a (relatively) expensive pair of new shoes. Since the last time I had spent a 3 figure sum on a pair, my purchasing behaviour altered and consequently I had worn through countless pairs of lower quality offerings from various high street brands.
With my last ‘expensive’ pair, I recalled experiencing discomfort and pain during the first few weeks of wear, before the cuts heeled and the shoes seemingly moulded themselves to my feet. Those shoes proved to be the most comfortable and long lasting I have ever owned, despite the pain endured in the early stages.
This got me thinking about the process of integrating a new hire in to a business. From making the offer and securing their acceptance (ahead of other offers no doubt), the weeks building up to their first day seem to mysteriously vanish. Your new starter always seems to join during a busy period, when it will be extremely difficult to commit adequate time to facilitate their integration.
However, if like my shoes you are prepared to endure this initial discomfort by developing and sticking to a well thought out plan, you are not only more likely to retain your new critical hire beyond their first year of employment, they are likely to deliver the desired results faster. Getting this bit right could result in them becoming one of your organisation’s most valuable assets.
There are reams and reams of research papers out there highlighting the importance of effective on boarding, most of which provide valuable tips and insights. With research indicating a new employee may decide on the length of their tenure with their new employer by 11AM on their first morning, it is clearly a vital component to engagement and retention. So with all of this in mind, what is the (foot) path to success?
4 crucial steps for successful Onboarding
Whilst there are a number of online tools and systems designed to facilitate the onboarding of new hires, ultimately the personal touch will always resonate more with a new executive hire.
Here are the top 4 steps:
1. Develop a bespoke integration and development plan
You can base this upon the assessment reports of your new hire (assuming you have utilised psychometric testing or personality profiling tools during the recruitment process), and / or the detailed feedback from all of the stakeholders that interviewed your new hire.
Whilst it is crucial to ensure key development areas are mitigated, it is equally important to capitalise on their strengths enabling them to deliver quick wins. This will not only provide them with an early confidence boost, but also positively enhance their profile with their new stakeholders.
2. Involve your new starter in the development of their integration plan
Keep in touch with the candidate throughout their notice period and get their input where appropriate in developing their plan before they start with you.
3. Book meetings for your new starter with all relevant stakeholders across the business
Having the meetings set in place before they start ensures they can start establishing relationships and assimilating key aspects of your business’ culture as early as possible. Also consider appointing an internal mentor to help facilitate their integration.
4. Set milestone integration objectives for your new starter
The integration goals teamed with regular sit down meetings with them in their first 3-6 months will help keep the momentum of progress.
Such a tailored and individualised approach, particularly in conjunction with your organisation’s standard onboarding activities will send a clear message to new recruits about their value. Furthermore, they may go on to become your most valuable team member and in turn enhance your career prospects. Now where did I put that foot cream?