Onboarding… We can’t afford the time to do it properly or we can’t afford the time not to do it properly?

We’re working silly hours because we can’t find good people. Finally, we find good people that can relieve pressure, sort TripAdvisor, give people days off and generally release pressure. We get them to start as quickly as possible and chuck them straight in at the deep end – they will understand the situation and be prepared to muck in and hit the ground running. A few weeks in and they’ve resigned. Oh well, they were clearly the wrong person. We’re working silly hours because we can’t find good people… And so, it goes on…

How do we ensure that the talent we have decided is right for our business becomes a long-term asset?

onboarding Lime Recruit Onboarding… We can’t afford the time to do it properly or we can’t afford the time not to do it properly?

This is a question I have spent a lot of time asking: whilst we have made huge progress and I am proud of our approach to onboarding, it’s also important to remember best practice is constantly evolving: utilising the best tech, keeping an eye on other sectors’ approach and analysing what we could have done better every time a new recruit joins.

Here is a checklist that we use when recruiting – some of this takes time and effort, usually at a point when we have little time but we make it a non-negotiable: we want the best people; the best people have high expectations.

  1. Formal offer of employment sent out promptly with draft contract, job description, our values, progression pathway and a note of congratulations from a director.
  2. Share the news with colleagues and provide contact details so they can, if they wish, welcome our new recruit.
  3. A welcome gift: a bunch of flowers, a bottle of something nice. We’re excited this carefully selected person is joining us: we want them to get excited too.
  4. Induction programme sent prior to first day.
  5. A few details on our induction:
    • Typically, 7-10 days.
    • Day 1: contract, job description, policies, systems & processes etc provided.
    • Day 1: pen, diary and employee handbook provided.
    • Day 1 also includes a ‘meet the team’ where they spend 10 minutes chatting with everyone in the business. It’s a great icebreaker and assists in the development of colleague to workmate.
    • We have 3 offices: this induction will be spread across all venues, so they feel part of the business rather than part of a branch.
    • We try to lead with theory then follow with practical: makes it less dry and gets people ‘doing’ rather than talking about it.
    • We keep this informal and the programme flexible: it’s not a box-ticking exercise, instead we’re trying to prepare someone for the job required. If some parts come easily, we speed up and if other bits take more time, we give me time.
  6. Control exposure to the chaos! Whilst all businesses have their struggles at the minute and our loyal employees are having to go above and beyond at times, we shouldn’t expect a new recruit to share this approach – why should they? We haven’t earned their trust or ‘had their back’ when they need it yet so why should they have ours? Allow them time to settle.
  7. Get the basics right:
    • Have they been set up on payroll in time for their first payment run?
    • Has any overtime been processed?
    • Has any bonus been processed accurately?
    • Has uniform been ordered and arrived for first day?
  8. Invest the time! Yes, we’re busy but the only way we can break this vicious circle is by retaining great people.

I appreciate all organisations have their own onboarding methods and its certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. I would be delighted to hear suggestions and ideas but, in the meantime, this is merely an insight into how we do things.

We’re in a more competitive market than ever: candidates hold all the aces. Get this wrong and good people will be snapped up in no time. My take home is that I have high expectations of the people I employ. These people will naturally have high expectations of their employer.

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