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Published on September 30, 2019

Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide)

Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide)

Acquiring and retaining customers for a business is difficult, but that’s never going to happen if a business can’t hold onto dedicated employees who want to be there. Imagine that your talent recruiter has spent weeks, possibly even months tracking down and interviewing the right candidates, then after they finally accept your job offer, they quit just two months later. Ouch. That’s a lot of wasted time and money.

On average, companies spend over $4,000 hiring for a new position, and without an effective employee onboarding process, that money can go to waste.

Before we dive into how to build an employee onboarding strategy that will prevent your business’ new hires from jumping ship, let’s first lay out what onboarding is. You might think it’s simply a few hours of new employee orientation, but it’s actually a lot more and should weave in the company’s values, culture, and people, along with all that new hire paperwork.

Here’s why your business should place a top priority on building effective employee onboarding and how to do so. Trust us, this will only make every aspect of your business more successful down the line.

Why an Employee Onboarding Strategy Matters

It’s a startling statistic for businesses, but one-third of new employees quit their jobs within six months of being hired. If you hire 12 new employees over the course of a year at a cost of $4k each, that’s a potential loss of $16,000!

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A business that works to improve upon their employee onboarding procedure is more likely to buck that trend, meanwhile, a company that struggles with welcoming their new hires is going to take an even harder hit.

There’s more than just the cost of losing new hires that factors into why good employee retention practices are important. Think back to a job you loved and a job you hated. It probably didn’t take too long to decide whether it was a place you enjoyed working or loathed, right? Maybe a week or month at the most probably. Most people know whether or not they want to stay at a company for the long-run within the first week and this is where a good onboarding experience can make all the difference.

Nearly 50 percent of new employees want a better onboarding experience, and a positive start as a new hire makes people almost 69 percent more likely to stay with a company for three years or more.

Steps to Build into Your Employee Onboarding Process

A strong employee onboarding process is going to start before the new hire’s first day, and should really begin soon after they accept the position.

1. Make the Employee Feel Welcomed

Communication is key and the HR department should keep in regular contact with the new employee to let them know they’re being welcomed aboard early on.

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One of the dreaded, but necessary parts of any onboarding process is going to be… *dun, *dun, *dun, the paperwork. Rather than welcoming a new hire on their first day by trying to bury them up to their neck in paperwork, send over as much a possible ahead of time. This not only will help the new employee to get started sooner on the job they were hired to do, but will allow them to tackle the necessary forms at their own pace.

Oh, and because we’re living in the 21st century, why is your business still using actual paper for the paperwork? A paperless onboarding system that utilizes an electronic signature not only will save money but save somebody from a sore wrist.

When that first day of work for a new employee finally rolls around, they should feel welcomed from the second they step foot in the building. Let everyone else in the office know ahead of time that a new person will be joining the team and encourage them to say hello. The last thing a new hire wants is to be wandering around the office on the first day and be met with the puzzled faces of other employees who have no idea who this new person is.

2. Prep Your Employee’s Desk

Prepping your employee’s desk before they roll in on their first day might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many companies scramble to put a desk together while a new employee waits awkwardly. Having their workspace ready to go with the necessary items speaks volumes about an onboarding process and shows that a company takes them seriously as a new employee.

3. One-on-One Meeting with Manager

One of the most important aspects for an effective employee onboarding strategy is one-on-one time with direct managers. A recent LinkedIn survey of 14,000 professionals found that 96 percent said that spending one-on-one time with their direct manager early on was an important part of the onboarding process.[1]

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This dramatically shortens the learning curve of a new employee because it allows them and their managers to set expectations and goals early on. Developing a positive rapport with supervisors at the very beginning of a new employee’s time on the job results in greater job satisfaction, performance, and upward growth.

4. Help the Employee Bond Better with Others

When DFY Links’ CEO, Charles Float, started his company, he made sure to build a team where new hires were introduced and forced to collaborate with veteran employees. This strategy helps to build a tighter employee culture in the company and results in stronger business overall. It also improves knowledge sharing, which further improved productivity and scalability.

5. Clear Job Guidelines for the Employee

Every new job comes with some uncertainty for new employees and according to the LinkedIn survey, properly understanding job duties, procedures, and goals was the second most important part of the onboarding process. Developing a thorough job training platform that creates a direct path for an employee to turn to should they have questions, will lead to greater job performance.

This means not only guiding an employee on how to do their job, but teaching them of its importance and how it fits into the overall goals of the organization. This is particularly true with millennial workers; 64 percent of them said they would rather work at a job they enjoy that pays $40,000 a year than one they hate that pays $100k.

Bring your employees into the big picture and why their position matters. Introduce them to the duties of others in the organization and how the tasks they’ll be working on is related to the jobs of other employees. This sort of all-encompassing way of explaining their job duties in the onboarding process can go a long way towards making them feel they made the right choice in accepting the job offer.

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6. Check-in with the Employee Regularly

An effective employee onboarding strategy doesn’t simply take place the first day or the first week, but should stretch out. New employees are bombarded with so much information during the first few days that it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. HR team members should periodically check in with them during the first month to check if they have any questions or feedback on the onboarding process itself.

Are they happy with the work and do they feel as if they’re part of the company culture? Lack of a good fit with the culture of a company results in a high overturn of new employees, so taking steps to bring them into the fold can dramatically improve employee retainment.

Final Thoughts

Take a look inward at your own business’ employee onboarding procedure and look for ways that it can be improved upon.

Not every tactic is going to be right for every business, but winning over a new hire early on will go a long way towards their success and your business’ success down the road.

More About Team Management

Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

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Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

Whether you saw it coming or not, getting fired is a real shock and its impact is daunting. What did you do wrong? What are you supposed to do next? When will you stop feeling so angry?

But there are ways to deal with a layoff.

The most important thing is to remain calm and see it as an opportunity to reflect, change and improve. This is a great time to consider what happened, look again at your needs and desires and start afresh on a stronger, more constructive basis.

Let’s take a look at how you can bounce back gracefully after getting fired.

1. Deal with the Shock of Getting Fired

To lose your job is to lose your identity as a worker and as a person. Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, states that 7 out of 10 of us define ourselves by our job titles, since work is where we spend the majority of our time and energy.

Being laid off affronts your sense of self-worth—it implies that you simply are not good enough. It’s no wonder you feel confused and emotional.

The first thing, then, is to take some time to digest what happened and deal with the overflow of sensations. People who quickly recover from the pain of a job loss tend to do two things very well:

First, they accept their feelings of sadness, anger, fear and shame as a part of the natural healing process.

Second, they do their complaining to a friend.

Never call out your boss in the office or on social media. It’s a bad form to speak ill of the company you work for. Stay stylish, and your employer will speak better of you when you need a reference.

2. Stay Away from the Drama Queens

Mass layoffs are, unfortunately, very common. If this is your situation, then you may be surrounded by a lot of angry people, ruminating and lamenting their fate.

“It’s not fair!” they say. “After everything we did for this company! We don’t deserve this!”

You’ve lost your job and that’s tough. But please resist the urge to join in the negativity. Positivity is by far the most important attitude to apply right now. If staying upbeat means you have to limit your exposure to the Negative Nellies, then that’s what you have to do.

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Remember, life is not harder for you than it is for other people on this planet. You live in a democracy, you have freedom of choice and you enjoy a certain material abundance.

Stay positive and focus on what’s going well in your life and the exciting future opportunities available to you. Getting fired is only a temporary setback.

Staying positing could be challenging in a difficult situation, so these tips can help:

10 Questions To Ask Yourself To Stay Positive When Facing Difficulties

3. Take a Break and Let the Dust Settle

Instead of running straight into another job that may not be the right one either, take a short break to recover from the job loss. You need a week or two to de-stress and meditate on the next step.

Be attentive to your need for self-care during this interlude. Everything goes so fast these days that we often do not stop to think or give ourselves the permission to do a little mourning.

Getting fired is a big shock: you need time to refocus and take stock of the new reality. Do not make things harder for yourself!

What you need is to pause a while and do some self reflection:

How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

4. Be Anchored in the Present

Since you no longer have a hold on the past, but have not yet designed your future, try to build yourself up with the present. What do we mean by that?

We mean that right now is the only time you have any control over. Focus on that instead of losing yourself in memories or reliving the awful day you got fired over and over in your head.

Get up at 7 a.m. each day, whatever happens. The body needs rhythm and habits. You will feel much more energized if you keep a consistent routine. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, revisit your budget, play sports, volunteer. Take care of the practical stuff like claiming unemployment. Enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life.

When you’re busy, there’s no room for the inner critic to raise up and derail you. Keep active, and you will gain more of the precious energy you need so much to move forward.

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Try these things to help you live in the moment:

34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment

5. Understand the “Why”

There are lots of reasons why people are fired. Sometimes the mistake is yours and it’s embarrassing to admit you backed yourself into this corner.

Other times, it’s not your fault. Businesses change direction all the time—maybe yours is going through a major transition or merger and your job is disappearing.

Either way, to give the situation some closure, you need to understand why you were dismissed. What slipped? What could you have done differently? Was your boss really out to get you or did you do something to put your job in jeopardy?

Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy to admit that you might have dropped the ball but it’s the only way to turn the situation into a learning experience. Ask yourself:

What skills do you need to improve?

Is there training you can access, or learning you can do?

In the end, did this job suit you that much? Were you happy there?

Reflecting on these questions can help you put things into perspective. What lessons can you learn to avoid reproducing the same pattern in your next job?

6. Find out If You Were the Right Fit

Hiring decisions ultimately come down to personality. You can study for an interview all you like, but every candidate who is chosen for interview has the right credentials for the job.

The final decision comes down to personality. Who does the recruiter like the best? Who is a better fit for the company culture? That’s the person who strikes it lucky.

Firing decisions are based on personality, too. Slacking off, insubordination and playing fast and loose with the company rules—these are the official reasons why people are getting fired.

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But all of these reasons boil down to one thing: personality. Specifically, they signal a personality clash between an employee and a manager, or an employee’s fit with the company’s culture.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you were fired for “not being a team player.” Some people, namely introverts, lose energy when they are surrounded by other people and gain energy when they are on their own. Forcing an introvert to continuously work on a busy, noisy team without any solitary rest periods means the job is a mission impossible. This employee will never perform at her best.

Or how about the time the Kansas City Star newspaper fired Walt Disney for a perceived lack of imagination? Talk about a clash of personalities![1]

Getting fired can be a signal to turn inward and do some self-reflection so you can better understand your personality and how it might fit in with corporate culture.

In particular, personality assessments based on Isabel Briggs Myers’ sixteen personality types can help you to understand your own work style and how you can find a job and workplace that better match who you truly are.

In many cases, it is totally liberating to realize that all the crap you had to deal with was just down to a clash of work styles and not something you did wrong!

7. Rediscover Your Strengths and Talents

A personality test can also give you clear insights into your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and work potential. Do you have leadership abilities? How do you communicate and manage conflict? What benefits do you add to an organization?

Identifying your working style should be your top priority right now, otherwise you risk accepting a new position that has all the same problems as before. The last thing you want is to reproduce the same old dramas the next time around.

When you become aware of your potential, you will have the confidence to search and find the type of work you love.

For example, getting fired from your banking job may have knocked you sideways. But you have some stellar home decorating skills, and a personality test shows that you are curious, flexible, rational and resilient—all the traits of successful entrepreneurs. Maybe this dismissal is an opportunity to launch the business you’ve always dreamed of but never dared to admit to yourself?

By considering all your special skills and talents, you increase your chances of finding a job you would really enjoy, and not just the one you can do.

8. Get the Word Out

At this point, you should be ready to take action and move forward with your job search. Let’s not sugarcoat the situation: getting a new job is tough. It helps to have a clear idea of the direction you want to go in, a list of all your crossover skills and a freshly polished resume.

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Look around for inspiration. Talk to recruiters in your sector to establish what they consider to be your most valuable skills. Use all the resources at your disposal: job search agencies, headhunters, work coaches, careers websites and so on. These resources can help you match your qualifications to the job requirements and ensure you have the right keywords on your resume.

Don’t hold back on marshaling your networks. Put friends and family to work to pop up leads, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Sometimes the simple act of getting the word out to the people who know you is the surest way to find work fast.

9. Anticipate Questions and Know How to Answer Them

Even if it wasn’t your fault, getting fired can hurt you if you don’t know how to explain why you were let go. You have to be honest here and tell recruiters the truth. Even if a would-be employer does not specifically ask why you left your previous job, it is better to clarify the situation upfront before it comes out in your references.

The best approach is to take your share of responsibility and show that you want to go forward and that you understand the lesson.

For example, suppose you got fired for asking the difficult questions that no one wanted to answer and your candidness set people on edge. Acknowledge that some people perceive your communication style as abrupt and explain how you’re taking steps to increase your diplomacy skills.

A recruiter can be seduced by someone who knows how to evolve and who shows a great energy for personal development.

10. Adapt and Persist

Throughout this journey, you inevitably will go through moments of self-doubt and disappointment. There are undulations in every road, and these are the normal steps for regaining self-confidence after getting fired.

Stay tough! Don’t conclude that your future is hopeless just because the dream job doesn’t land straightaway. You open a positive path when you maintain focus. Have the confidence to know that the perfect job for you is out there.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people walked this road and they would urge you to keep the momentum. Stay open-minded and go where the opportunities take you: it will bring you closer to the job you really want.

Coming Out on Top

While getting fired isn’t the ideal situation, it isn’t the end of the world either. Even if feels like a doozy right now, you will get through it and emerge happier on the other side.

Be clear on what you want, have courage and believe in yourself. In the end, you may decide that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to you. It can be the catalyst for a powerful, career-fulfilling change.

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Featured photo credit: Jesus Kiteque via unsplash.com

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