Making sure the early days of the employment relationship are satisfactory helps form a lasting impression that a good choice has been made on both sides. Increasingly organisations are beginning the induction process from the moment the formal offer of employment is made and bringing all activities together under the umbrella term of ‘onboarding’. The aim of a successful onboarding scheme is to bring new recruits into the company and get them up to speed as quickly as possible.

New technologies

Many organisations are embracing new technologies such as dedicated websites and apps, replacing traditional methods that were proving too slow, inconvenient and, in some cases, not in keeping with the organisation’s style of business.

For example, creating an onboarding website that includes everything needed for the first day at work, including a video welcome from a senior director, gives new joiners a base-level awareness of the company, its principles, policies and some key information. It can also contain the offer letter and the contract, which can be accepted online, making the process faster and more reliable than a paper pack sent through the post.

An online information hub can provide all the information that new recruits need such as orientation into work, schedule, availability, payroll, work record, training records, employee benefits and news.

Deutsche Bank realised communication was crucial to successful onboarding of new staff. In 2012 it launched an app for new recruits, aiming to give them an idea of the logistics and practicalities of induction at the bank. It featured an RSS news feed, podcasts, an office location finder, biographies of senior managers, a direct link to social networking sites, a checklist to help recruits get ready for their first day at work and a feedback function. By using this new technology, Deutsche Bank saved money, improved efficiency and enhanced the candidate experience.

Such innovations can go a long way to helping new recruits deal with feelings of acute vulnerability in unfamiliar surroundings, a lack of established working relationships and a detailed understanding of their new role.

Onboarding tips

Even when budgets are limited, the onboarding process helps new recruits start feeling ‘at home’ from day one. Suggestions include:

• providing new starters with basic information about the company, e.g. an organisation chart or a glossary of specialist terms

• thinking about what new starters will need to know:e.g.dress code; if you’re in an out-of-town location let them know where they can get lunch and where the nearest cashpoint is: don’t forget to let them know arrangements for teas and coffees

• providing a checklist for what they’ll need to bring on their first day

• providing links to company social networking groups–that way they’ll get to ‘meet’ future colleagues before they start

• providing access to the latest company news,it helps new starters to understand the culture

• providing some way to enable new recruits to ask questions, either a dedicated feedback function or a ‘buddy’

• making sure any IT is setup–including access to relevant company systems, as well as telephony – before they arrive

• if you regularly use agency workers,sub-contractors and freelancers extend the relevant parts of the onboarding process to include them

• tailor the process to your organisation by asking existing employees what would have made their lives easier and implementing those suggestions.