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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 July 10, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

1. Make Time for You

If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

4. Work on Your Personal Brand

Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

5. Be Accountable

Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

8. Learn to Embrace Failure

Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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“I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

9. Build Your Resilience

Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

10. Ask for Help

It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

  1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
  2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
  3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

Final Thoughts

You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

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