From exhaustive talent searches to comprehensive skills testing and candidate vetting, companies invest significant resources into finding the perfect new hire. But not every company makes a similar investment in their employee onboarding process. This failure represents a huge missed opportunity as a strong onboarding program correlates with higher employee retention rates. Research from the Aberdeen Group found that 66% of companies with onboarding programs report a higher rate of successful new hire assimilation into company culture, 62% had higher time-to-productivity ratios, and 54% reported higher employee engagement.

First impressions are incredibly important, and a candidate’s first impression of a company is no exception. A new hire’s first interactions with a firm sets the foundation for the rest of the relationship.

This employee onboarding process will set your new hire up for success.

Onboarding Checklist:

Before the first day

As soon as a candidate has accepted your offer, arrange for leaders and peers to reach out to the new hire to offer congratulations and express their excitement to have them on board.  A designated person should also give the new hire any important information they need to know to prepare for the first day.  Starting a new role can be daunting and understanding where to park, what to wear and even who to ask for when they arrive can put the hire more at ease.  Making time to take the new employee to lunch can make them feel part of the team and lead to more productive hire and overall team.

After a candidate has turned in their notice and before they start at a new job can be a time of stress and uncertainty. It’s also common for your new hire’s former employer to try to lure them back. Consistent contact creates a bond that reassures your new hire, you and your firm are thrilled to have them on board.

On the first day

The worst experience for a new hire is to show up at work, be ushered to a desk where their laptop and phone haven’t been set up, and then left to languish because their boss is in meetings all morning. To avoid this, it’s critical that someone at your company take ownership of scheduling every part of a new hire’s first day. Starting on the first day and continuing throughout the week, a new hire should have the opportunity to meet with the entire team, anyone who they will partner with, and ideally senior leaders.

At Lucas Group, we have a specific first day program. When a new hire starts, their first day is a series of conversations with senior people from different parts of the business, ranging from the CEO to the Head of Marketing. People from all over the company also introduce themselves. We always designate someone to take the new hire out to lunch.  From day one, our goal is to ensure our new hires feel like they are part of the Lucas Group family.

After the first day

Onboarding doesn’t end after the first day or first week. I advise clients to develop a formal retention policy with regular check ins throughout the first year. At Lucas Group, we touch base with candidates we have placed after the first week and then again at the three month, six month, and one year mark. Keeping an open communication line helps ensure that new hires continue to feel connected and valued by the company.

It’s also important to recognize any specific achievements, especially during the first year. This type of positive reinforcement inspires new hires to work harder and more confidently.

Onboarding is your chance to communicate the company’s values to your new hires, sell the company’s vision and make them feel connected to the team. The strength of your onboarding process will determine your ability to retain the best talent. When people merely like their job, they are always open to leaving. But when they love their job, they see themselves intertwined into your company’s future and are more in it for the long haul.

Does your firm have a formal employee onboarding process? I invite you to share more about how your welcome new employees in the comments below.