When most business owners hear the phrase “onboarding,” they likely think of procedural things: employee handbooks, signing contracts, maybe some training to get a new hire familiar with their position.
But a real, robust, and successful onboarding system is so much more than that. It starts long before a new person is hired, and it can sometimes go on for months after they’ve officially started.
Often a business can be struggling when it comes to this particular system and not even know it. Here’s how to tell if you need more support in this area:
- You think you’ve found the ‘perfect’ candidate, but they often don’t work out
- New employees struggle to meet company expectations
- There is a feeling of chaos or confusion around the hiring process
- It takes a new hire months to finally get what’s going on in their position
- You feel frustrated all the time by how much time, energy, and resources go into your hiring and training
- You have a high turnover rate
If you’ve been trying to nail down your hiring and onboarding systems and know you need a little guidance, read on to find out how you can get the help you need to find, hire, and train new employees in a way that boosts your business’s efficiency and profitability.
So … why do you need these systems in the first place?
It’s helpful to re-frame how we view this whole system. And by that I mean: stop thinking of it as simply a logistical process and start seeing it as a relational process, as well.
When you do that, you can begin to see all the ways in which a streamlined hiring and onboarding system benefits your whole business.
- The clearer you are with your hiring process, the more likely you are to find candidates who are a good match. If you’ve had problems attracting or retaining good people, chances are your hiring system needs work. Your hiring process helps you to attract people who are not only qualified on paper — they’re also clear about and aligned with your company’s vision and mission and are excited about contributing. If you’ve hired people that “ticked all the boxes” on their application but turned out to not fit into the company at all — that’s likely because you don’t have clarity on who you want to hire and why.
- Clean systems create a sense of confidence and relaxation for your team. They know what to do. They know what’s expected. They have a clear sense of next steps and feel empowered to do the right thing.
- A good H+O system improves company culture. New team members are invited in, and each existing team member knows what their role is for welcoming and/or training. It creates a sense of teamwork and integration.
- Clear standards boost performance. People are much more likely to meet and exceed expectations that are consistent and clear.
- Lower turnover rates = saving LOTS of time, energy, and money. Hiring and replacing employees is extremely costly for businesses. According to Gallup, the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times that employee’s annual salary. Yikes!
- Solid systems encourage open communication and trust. Many business owners worry that too many systems in place will feel restrictive and rigid for employees. In reality, the opposite is true: structure creates a sense of safety and actually inspires creativity. When people aren’t in chaos and always putting out fires, they’re free to put their energy into doing their jobs and coming up with better ideas.
Where can I get a solid hiring and onboarding system?
To improve your hiring success, you’ll need to look beyond the resume.
Yes, obviously qualifications are important, but going a bit deeper will help you identify candidates that are a natural fit for your company. Here are a few things you can do to improve your long-term hiring success that many companies don’t consider seriously enough.
Know your vision
If you want to attract the highest-quality candidates, you can begin by getting crystal clear about your company vision. When you do this, you can create job descriptions that clearly state what you’re looking for specifically, rather than just borrowing boilerplate language.
A social media manager at an IT company is going to be radically different from the social media manager at a pet rescue organization, even though they’re going to be doing technically similar jobs. If you want to find the best person, you have to know how to attract them… and that starts with knowing who you are with confidence.
Advertise for the whole role, not just the duties
This means understanding how you want the ideal candidate to fit into the overall vision and mission of your company. What will this role be contributing to the success of the whole company? Use the job description to showcase your company culture so that potential candidates can know if your approach resonates or not. What kinds of personality traits are needed? (Hint: avoid vague cliched terms like “go-getter” and instead think about characteristics that the right person can really identify with.)
You can hire someone who ticks off all the technical qualifications… but are they reliable, loyal, and thoughtful? Do they operate with integrity? Are they collaborative?
Think of it this way: you want someone who meshes with your desired company culture, who makes it easier to create the kind of environment you want your employees to have. It’s much, much smarter (and more efficient) to hire and train someone who meets ⅗ of your technical qualifications and is a solid character match than it is to hire someone who meets all 5 and isn’t.
Have a streamlined, reliable process that everyone understands + uses
This means creating a hiring system that’s clear and actionable to anyone who is involved with the hiring process. You’ll need to have a plan for each step:
- Deciding which positions need filling
- Creating + posting effective job descriptions
- Attracting a pool of high-quality candidates
- Assessing candidates
- Holding interviews
- Deciding who to hire
- Making a job offer
- Moving any new team member through a thorough and useful onboarding process to set them up for success
What should be included in a good onboarding system?
Good onboarding happens in two different but connected areas of your biz: it’s a logistical process as well as a relational one.
The logistical part of onboarding includes everything procedural and legal: HR paperwork, tax forms, getting them set up in systems, tools, and communication platforms (such as your project management system, Dropbox, Slack, etc.), gives them access to automated videos and checklists that walk them through how PTO works, all of the systems, tools, tech, and communication platforms your company uses and all of your protocols for using them, introduces them to your company cultural and nonclementure, shows them where the SOP’s are located and how they work, etc.
The relational part of onboarding includes everything that demonstrates to the new team member that they belong: introducing them to the team, assigning a mentor (if applicable), answering their questions, scheduling regular check-ins, etc. If you’ve experienced problems with new hires not understanding best practices, or being surprised or disappointed by salary or benefits packages — that’s a logistical issue. If you’ve experienced frustrations with integration, or having new hires kind of wandering aimlessly and struggling to get in the “flow” of their positions — that’s likely a relational issue.
Think long-term, not one-and-done
It’s critical to look at hiring and onboarding as an ongoing process, not a one-and-done task. It’s not one day or even one week. It’s a commitment to nurturing ideal candidates over weeks or even months in small but significant ways that will ensure their success.
Employees who feel genuinely welcomed will be more motivated to plug into company culture.
Employees who feel listened to will be more likely to meet expectations.
Employees who feel encouraged will be more likely to admit and learn from mistakes.
Employees who feel empowered will be better positioned to exceed the boundaries of their position and contribute meaningfully to the company’s goals, mission, and vision.
Get the help you need to create a customized hiring + onboarding system
These systems are going to be unique to each business or organization. There are general principles, yes — but how they look, how they’re set up, and how they’re executed will be particular to your company.
You need a system that fits your business in order to experience great results. And instead of spending months or even years trying to figure it out, you can get there faster and more reliably with professional guidance.
At Alchemized Teams, we can help you build the H+O systems that will help you attract and retain the highest-quality team members — boosting morale, improving outcomes, and saving your company massive amounts of time, energy, and money.
Get the details about our proven system, HERE.
To Your Success,
Heidi and Anny