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First impressions matter. But it’s the repeating patterns that emerge after that first impression that is even more important. This is where expectations are formed, a standard of excellence is realized and “exceptional” is defined.

A solid and comprehensive onboarding experience provides an amazing first impression of your company and culture, and it can also provide positive validation for your new employees on their career decision. Employers want to attract and retain the best talent, so it’s no surprise that once an individual is hired they expect an exceptional, timely and relevant orientation to help them ramp up and launch toward success.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Recruiting: Always keep in mind that setting the stage for engagement is critical while in the process of finding the right hire.
  • Pre-boarding: Structured so that you are building first-day excitement, reinforcing positive new-job feelings and getting the “busy work” out of the way.
  • Day one: Focus on avoiding the most common first-day miscues and doing your best to make a great first impression on your new employee.
  • The first week and beyond: Focus on moving beyond low-level orientation tasks to help your new hires become full-fledged members of the team.

Keep in mind that employees average about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster the new employee feels welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission. The building blocks of successful onboarding are often called the Four C’s: Connection, Culture, Clarification & Compliance.

Here are some best practices for establishing a solid onboarding program:

  • Implement the basics prior to the first day on the job.
  • Make the first day on the job special.
  • Use formal orientation.
  • Develop a written onboarding plan.
  • Be sure your program is consistently implemented.
  • Ensure that the program is monitored over time.
  • Use technology to facilitate the process.
  • Use milestones such as 30, 60, 90 and 120 days on the job—and up to one year for post-organizational entry — to check-in on employee progress.
  • Engage managers/inter-departments in planning.
  • Be crystal clear with new employees in terms of objectives, timelines, roles and expectations.

Onboarding allows new employees to adjust to their jobs by establishing better relationships, increasing job satisfaction, establishing expectations and objectives and providing support to help reduce unwanted turnover.

At DecisionHR we pride ourselves in staying in the forefront, continuously monitoring and regulating industry changes and its possible impact on your business.

Contact your HR Business Partner for additional information on this issue or any questions you may have.