• Nicole Papaioannou, PhD

You Found the Right Employee for the Role. Now what?

You've made it through the hiring process and found the right person person for the job. It's a new role, and you need to onboard them quickly. What do you do?


Surprisingly, many organizations have no solid answer to this question, especially small businesses. In fact, a study from CareerBuilder found that

over a third of employers-- that's more than 36% of businesses-- reported having no onboarding processes at all.

Additionally, one in 4 organizations is clueless as to how long onboarding should take to complete to be successful.


Onboarding is critical to employee success and retention. 51% of organizations polled by Brandon Hall said they lose the most employees during their first six months of employment. 17% of new hires leave during the first three months, according to the SHRM.


The cost of employee turnover is high. Between the cost of resources for finding candidates, the cost of time given to the screening and interviewing processes, the cost of training a new employee, and the cost of productivity lost when the position remains unfilled, losing employees can be expensive.


Onboarding can prevent employees from leaving. A 2007 study by the Wynhurst Group found that:

employees who experienced structured onboarding were 58% more likely to remain with the organization after three years.

In other words, there is a lot of room for impact during the onboarding period, good or bad.


Onboarding Needs Assessement


Onboarding is probably my favorite type of training to design. It is a moment not just to train content, but to share culture. It is a moment to illuminate for the employee what they've been hired to do and just how their role fits into the larger ecosystem of your organization. It's a moment to remind them that they are a valued part of the team.


When I first start designing onboarding for a client, I ask a slew of questions. These are, perhaps, the five most important ones:


  • What is your mission?


  • What are your company values?


  • What are your most important performance goals?


  • How would you describe the desired culture of your organization? In what ways does the existing office culture meet or fall short of those criteria?


  • What does it look like when an employee has been successfully onboarded? How do you know they "get it"?


Technology, budget, resources, etc. are all secondary to those five questions because they tell you what, why, and how you should be training the next generation of your organization. With that information in hand, you can make decisions about the pace of the learning, the key players, the content, and the presentation.


While these questions are simply stated, they may be difficult to answer; however, it is important that you do so before you carve out your new hire training. If you haven't identified the goals you want to empower your employees to reach or have a clear set of expectations for their performance, they are likely to be confused. They are simply not going to perform as well as they could, and they may resent what seems like a rushed effort to get them working.


Use these five questions to craft a positive experience that promotes your organization and your employees' ability to succeed within it.


If you're interested in learning more about onboarding, stay tuned. I'll be posting more about the different stages of development over the next few weeks.






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