5 Key Aspects to Effective Onboarding

blog May 10, 2024

Do you know the core principles of effectively onboarding your new hire?

Did you know that onboarding effectively can drastically reduce the speed at which your new hire is functioning at full capacity? 

This timeframe can be reduced down from the typical 12-18 months down to 2-6 months.

According to SHRM, the first 45 days of employment account for up to 20% of worker turnover while Sapling HR credits poor onboarding experiences as doubling the likelihood of the employee finding another position.

Effective onboarding is critical to engaging your new hire in their new role and for your business or organisation. This can increase the likelihood that your staff will stay on longer and be performing their best sooner rather than later.

According to ClickBoarding, interactive employees who engage in a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay for three years.

There are 5 key elements that a business of any size can implement right now to improve their onboarding process.

You don't need a budget for these, which is always good news in small business, isn't it? You do not need mountains of time. You do not need a specialized individual to deliver this for you and your business. You can take control of your onboarding and make it a seamless and productive experience for your new hire with the 5 key elements of effective onboarding.

Why is onboarding relevant for small business?

There is a misconception that onboarding is for big businesses and corporate structures which couldn’t be further from the truth. Onboarding is one of the most essential aspects of recruiting and hiring that often small businesses leave up to chance or hope for the best when someone new comes on board.

There’s often this idea that your new hire is going to breeze through the door on their first day and just magically pick up everything they need to know to function effectively in the first few weeks.

The truth is that for your new staff to be productive, profitable, proactive and working at their full capacity they need a structured onboarding experience to understand not just their role, but how it integrates with the entire business.

It’s actually more important for Australian small businesses to nail their onboarding of new staff because of capacity and output. The sooner you can have your new hire operating at or near full capacity, the better for your business across all areas, from profit to team culture.

Bigger corporates have financial buffers that can weather bad hires, or slow starts but often in small business you need your new hire to hit the ground running. If one person leaves a 1000-person organisation, the impact is not the same as when one person leaves a 50-person organisation or a 10-person organisation or even a 5-person organisation.

Effective onboarding gives the right framework for success and there are 5 key elements to execute this correctly.

What are the 5 key elements to effective onboarding for small businesses?

There are four fundamental elements to effective onboarding originally developed by Dr Taylor Bower, from the Society of Human Resource Management – and we’ve added a fifth.

Also commonly known as the four Cs, these four elements are Compliance, Clarification, Connection and Culture. Our bonus fifth element is the Check in.

  1. Compliance is sometimes the only onboarding element a small business might lay down as part of their onboarding foundation. It is, however, the first building block being one of the simplest. This is the absolute basics of the role and your business. Compliance is about reading policies and procedures, filling in payroll paperwork, orientating them to the nuts and bolts of what they’re responsible for to their role and the business.
  2. Clarification is typically a job or position description so it’s crystal clear what the expectations are from them and from everyone in else in the organisation. This includes what they are responsible for, who they report to, and sets clear boundaries from the start. Their success with the next two elements also depends on the clarification they receive about their role and position within the bigger picture.
  3. Connection is when the magic starts to happen as your new hire starts to feel like part of the team, connecting with something bigger than themselves but also with their colleagues. Community and belonging are two subtle but important aspects of finding satisfaction in a job and team, and one that is often glossed over or not facilitated well.
  4. Culture is the result of your staff delivering on their roles and responsibilities, having clarity about their role and purpose in the organisation and feeling connected to their team and the work they do. Culture is also something that can’t be forced though you can nurture it in your business or organisation.
  5. Check in or Confidence. Part of what creates a positive culture in a workplace is ensuring there are regular check ins with your staff. This includes leaders having an open mind about any feedback coming from their team. The Check in allows you to pulse check how your systems, processes, and, most importantly, people are travelling and where there might be challenges that lie ahead that you can circumnavigate by catching them early. This element also allows you to evaluate how effective your onboarding processes are and whether there is room for improvement.


How can I implement these 5 Key Elements to effective onboarding?

If you can line up these 5 key elements to effectively onboard your next new hires, you might be surprised by the results you see sooner, rather than later.

There’s no one way to slice the pie when it comes to onboarding, but no matter how creative you get with your onboarding process ensure that you include Compliance, Clarification, Connection, Culture and Check-ins as part of the experience.

The more unique and relevant your onboarding experience is for a new hire who already matches strongly with your organisation’s vision, mission and values, the more likely it will be that they’ll start to thrive in their role quicker, and you can increase the likelihood for retaining them longer.

An invitation to join a thriving business community

If you have questions about how to make your onboarding process work seamlessly for you, I’d love for you to join us inside our free Facebook Group where you can connect with other like minded business owners, leaders and managers to discuss all things HR: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hrsupportaustralia


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