How to get new starters up to speed as quickly as possible
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
We wrote last month about redundancies and offboarding for the businesses affected by the end of the furlough scheme but there are also many companies that have fared well during the pandemic and are in a period of growth. We’ve shared a great deal of insight on recruitment, including how to recruit in a pandemic, how to attract talent and offer management but what about beyond that point, when your perfect candidate is days or weeks away from joining?
Welcoming new starters
In HR there are two types of programmes to ensure your new starters get up to speed in their roles as quickly as possible: onboarding is used to help new employees learn about the new company and their job responsibilities and find their feet; and crossboarding is the onboarding of individuals who move into a new role within their existing company. Those requiring the latter won’t need the full onboarding program that you offer new starters because they’re already familiar with the company’s operations and culture but they will still need to learn about their new position and job requirements.
Why is this important?
Recruitment isn’t a cheap process. According to research from Oxford Economics and Unum, it could cost as much as £5,433 to find a new employee. This is why it’s important that you ensure that once you have found the best candidate, they get up to speed as quickly as possible and are happy enough in their role that they wish to stay. The same piece of research calculated that a business spends on average £25,182 in wages before a new worker has reached optimum productivity. It stands to reason that the better the onboarding/crossboarding program offered, the lower this cost will be.
How do you create solid onboarding and crossboarding programmes?
Let’s start with timings. An employer should begin preparing their new employee at least a month before they even start working. Not only does this help the company, but it also ensures the person transitioning to a new position feels more included and comfortable during their first few weeks on the job. This process should include sending a welcome pack, a schedule for the first day along with any parking or travel information, and any relevant press articles about your business. You should also schedule multiple calls prior to starting work to check in and ensure that any necessary equipment or uniform can be delivered ahead of time (maybe including some goodies).
On the first day of work, your new employee should already have their mandatory training scheduled in their diary, and have access to the IT systems they need to successfully do their job. Team members should be briefed to introduce themselves, and perhaps a “buddy” can be assigned to take them for lunch on their first day. This individual should be well-informed about the business in order to answer any questions, but also a good personality fit so that the new starter can make a friend on day one.
Make sure that regular reviews with the line manager are scheduled in the first few days to check in. One of these meetings should be to go through the objectives for the probation period and beyond so that the new recruit knows what is expected of them from the start.
For crossboarding, a lot of the above measures may seem unnecessary but someone making an internal move is still starting a new role and should be made to feel special so do as much of the above as you can.
Extra measures for crossboarding
While it may seem simpler to onboard an existing employee, there are some actions related to their previous job that you’ll need to manage.
The first is the handover. It’s likely that the previous team may require help from time to time but it’s important that your new starter can draw a line under their old job to fully immerse themselves in their new role. To do this, the new and “old” line managers should agree how frequently they can be contacted. The old role shouldn't affect them for too long, so set a deadline to keep things moving in the right direction.
Another element of the handover should be to gather insight on the employee’s performance management records and any other personnel notes available. This will be very helpful in setting objectives and ensuring they are appropriately motivated.
Next is communication. It’s likely the individual worked with many people across different departments and unless the wider business is informed of the job change, they may continue to be contacted with tasks and questions. After all, their email address won’t change. To manage this, publish an internal communications announcement to thank the employee for their hard work in their previous role and to congratulate them on the new position. In the post, be sure to explain to the company what they will now be responsible for and that any enquiries concerning their old role should be directed to a new point of contact.
A new opportunity is on the horizon for businesses to welcome a slew of fresh talent. The efforts made in keeping this talent will be critical, as they may make or break your business going forward.
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