3 Key Strategies for Creating Effective Onboarding Programs for New Employees
Employee onboarding is the process of integrating a new team member into the office or onto the job site; and ensuring they are well acquainted with safety procedures, equipment handling and much more. It is very important to have a great onboarding process so employees can communicate with co-workers and supervisors and know exactly what is expected of them. Ineffective onboarding could lead to confusion, poor performance, accidents, and an overall less efficient work site. Informal onboarding can create a disconnect between employees and their work and instill a lack of confidence in themselves or the organization. When a new employee does not have the tools to help them succeed, there can be a high turnover rate that presents the company with continual training expenses. Inadequate training can lead to costly accidents that can be a waste of valuable time and potentially cost lives. These are only a few of the problems that can occur with an insufficient orientation and onboarding program.
The need for online training is growing rapidly. Especially in the age of COVID-19, minimizing contact while connecting with new employees is a hard concept to balance. Custom, online orientations are rising in popularity because they can be sent to and completed by new hires before they arrive on-site. All the individual assignments and paperwork can be filled out before they start and you can truly focus on the important things pertaining to the specific job site and employee safety.
Below are 3 important strategies for ensuring your new hires are onboarded with confidence:
Create a Formal Program for Onboarding
A formal onboarding program is vital to a company’s ongoing success. The first few days are crucial for establishing proper workplace safety practices and delivering all the necessary information. Company policies and procedures should be communicated, and all paperwork or important documents should be completed on, or before, the first day. Getting an early start on required paperwork allows documents like tax forms or benefits packages to be signed, completed, and sent to HR as soon as possible. A formal plan will ensure consistent content is delivered to each employee and important items are understood like fire and emergency procedures, muster points, MSDS or WHMIS sheet locations, and much more. All safety training requirements need to be communicated to ensure the people on site are competent, especially with heavy machinery operating. A formal onboarding plan will give employees an understanding of worksite procedures, job requirements, and who their supervisors are should they have any questions.
Care for Your Employees
Besides the general housekeeping and required paperwork when integrating a new employee, an understanding of the informal items is equally as important. Company culture, how leadership operates, or any company best practices need to be communicated. This helps a new person feel more at ease and gives them an understanding of your company goals and how to create the desired outcomes. They should be well acquainted with the entire staff to feel more comfortable and be excited to come to work with great people! You may have a safety committee or a designated individual devoted to health and safety. This can show your employees how committed you are to the safety and wellbeing of the entire team.
Follow up and Check-In
This is a critical component of an effective onboarding program. Employees may be forgotten about after they are busy at work on a new job site. It is important to continually check in on your employees. Conducting a quick check-in at the one, three, and six-month marks would be beneficial to field any questions or concerns that may have come up. Regular follow-ups can provide insight into how employees are adjusting to their responsibilities and work culture and also keep you up to date on their performance. Especially in industries like construction, mining, energy, and transportation, it is imperative that all training is up to date for each employee. Perhaps an employee has taken on a new role such as an operator or foreman; they may need the training to make sure they are competent in their new position. A Training Record Management System is beneficial to receive expiry notifications or send new training requirements directly to employees and supervisors. Another benefit of checking in with your employees is to gain insight on if there are any issues or any adjustments to improve worksite efficiency or safety.
Employees are typically only able to contribute fully after a great onboarding process. An employee should be confident after their first week on what is expected of them, how they should act, safety regulations and procedures, and what they can expect from the company. A formal onboarding process will ensure the overall success and safety of your employees. Remember these important concepts and create a great onboarding program for your new hires.