Do you remember the experience of beginning a new position? Trying to become assimilated to your environment, your peers, as well as your new position? Add a week’s worth of new hire paperwork to complete, a jumbo size company manual to read through, and ancient training videos to watch and you can almost feel those overwhelming feelings brewing again. Many companies are now attempting to lessen this burden for their new employees by providing a structured on-boarding process.

On-boarding enables an employee to become acclimated to their new work environment quickly and efficiently, allowing them to become fully involved productive members of the team in a shorter amount of time. A streamlined on-boarding process helps to ensure a new employee remains happy with their decision to join your company, whilst motivating them to do their best. A large number of organizations are now offering face to face orientation programs while several have turned to the newer option of online orientation.

Using an online orientation process has numerous benefits for both the employer and the new employee. Many people find a face to face instructor led class as daunting as the employee manual – too much information to absorb in too short a time span. The online process caters to all individual learning styles and provides more flexibility as far as time constraints are concerned. An employee can easily go home and review any information they may need to look back on or brush up on.

A successful online on-boarding program contains all the information a company manual would provide, from where to park and eat lunch to information on the company softball team as well as company policies and procedures. Ideally, a new employee will have the opportunity to review this information at least a week before their start date while also completing any necessary paperwork. When applied successfully, this process will enable the new employee to hit the ground running on day one. Eliminating the usual “first day” bombardment will let your new employees join your company with a sense of comfort and ease.

Countless employers also forget about the “little things” that a new employee will need on their first day. Make sure their e-mail, voice mail, etc. are up and ready to be used, their keys/access cards are ready to be issued, and they have any passwords they may need to utilize on a daily basis. Most importantly the employee’s work area should be set up and already stocked with office supplies, making them feel they are already part of the organization. These are usually the first instruments a new employee will need – by having them up and running you will save your new hire anxiety and frustration.

Besides their on-boarding programs, numerous companies are known to assign their new employees a mentor. This person should not just be a staff member with nothing to do that particular day – they should be a handpicked individual who will accurately educate their charge and be able to provide any needed information. Mentoring should not be taken lightly, as this person will introduce your new hire to co-workers, explain internal procedures, and hopefully help to establish a sense of comfort for the new employee. A mentor should be an employee with a strong reputation with the company, who is enthusiastic and motivated and who will be able to establish a trusting relationship with new hires.

On-boarding will also help your new hire to develop a strategic plan for their future with your organization. A successful on-boarding process will provide the employee with the tools to define their position with the company, create and set professional goals, and help to instill a sense of accountability in the employee. Employers have found that getting new hires involved in future planning right off the bat helps them to feel engaged; employees are less apt to leave a position they already feel connected to. Many companies have enjoyed watching their turnover rates decrease while attendance and production rates increase as a result.

It is also important for the employer to think beyond those first few weeks and months with a new hire. Be sure to keep in touch with your employees, whether it is simply stopping by their desk to see what they are working on or scheduling a meeting with the team once or twice a week. Besides being helpful to the employer, employees will feel they are a significant part of an organization and be encouraged to perform to their utmost ability. Keeping the lines of communication open with your staff will make them feel comfortable enough to discuss any concerns they may be having and enable you to deal with any problems before they cost you a good employee.

Some organizations that decide to implement on-boarding programs tend to forget about their existing employees. Firms are now offering side by side programs – one for on-boarding new employees and one to address the needs of established staff. These plans enable loyal employees to start setting goals, learn better time management techniques, and help to re-establish that connection with the company they may have forgotten about. One of the most effective ways to retain employees is to encourage that sense of pride in their company as well as in their work.

The above mentioned are ways to help ensure your organization provides the groundwork for happy and successful new employees. While many companies have no problem investing in the recruiting process to find their perfect candidate, they often forget what it takes to KEEP the perfect candidate. By utilizing a structured on-boarding process and providing a streamlined entry process into the organization, employers will find retention rates soaring and employees who are happy, well-adjusted, and most importantly productive.