Effective Onboarding Practices

There are many who have debated the true meaning of the term early attrition. Is it, not joining on day 1 (no show), is it the ones who left before training was completed, is it those who left after they were handed over to Ops but within 6 or 12 months – definitions are many, but many a time a company looks at allocating that attrition in the appropriate bucket, rather than looking at the main reason around early attrition. Is it the culture, the expectations mismatch, false promises, poor treatment, incomplete training etc? The reasons could be many. The point is to reduce early attrition to ensure longevity of tenure and skills.

At the onset let us focus on the element of expectations mismatch. While we would like the Hiring Manager plus HR to be very clear around expectations of role, responsibility, work culture, ethics, etc, many a times these are only words which do not leave an impressionable mark on employees. The future employee wants to accept the offer letter and go home, while the recruitment team also wants to complete the formalities and get on with their day. One way to handle this mismatch is to detail a process that ensures 100% compliance around sharing of JD’s and ensure that every candidate is briefed on all aspects of the job before they leave with their appointment letters. The other that I have found useful and call it the Pre Hire Orientation, is inviting the selected employees to the office on a given date, and allowing them to soak in the culture and warmth of the office. They get to take a walk, meet with peers, managers, support groups, can ask any questions they want, and at the end of the day asked a pertinent question “Would you still like to work with us”?

What do you think this process helped achieve – Two things. You have only the ones that like what they see join you, and even if they don’t, they will continue to be your ambassadors to the outside world, and second, if they join, they stay longer and bring a few more along with them. If the employee decides to walk away at this stage, then there is minimal damage as we have not yet invested in their training and other activities, and such an early attrition is healthier for us.

Every time a new employee joins the office it is important that their on-boarding is as smooth as possible. We need to push hard to ensure that any documentation that needs to be completed is done at the pre-joining phase or automated through the digital route, to allow an employee’s Day 1 to be focussed on aspects that really matter. Ensure that an employee’s basic requirements like ID/Access Card, Meal Cards, Laptop/Desktop, Seat identification, Line Manager identification, Buddy appointment etc is completed before the end of day 1. The more organised we are, the better would be the impression that the employee carries with them back home. (remember the first question many will ask is – How was your first day?). An employee induction or orientation needs to take the form of a documented plan which each and every stakeholder is well aware of. Some of the stakeholders involved at this stage are HR, Facilities, IT, Operations, CEO, COO, Client etc. If 12pm on Day 1 is a session by Finance to run through salary structure understanding, reimbursement process, taxation, general financial rules around invoicing, timekeeping etc, ensure that the session starts on time and is easy to understand.

Sometimes Line Manager assignments are not possible due to employee being in training, or a delayed decision on team assignment. In such a scenario assignment of a Buddy/Mentor could prove to be beneficial. A Buddy is an employee of the company (not necessarily from the same department) who is known for the people engagement skills, and who is coached, trained to handle the first 3-6 months of a new employee. They are like the employees friend who will respond to any queries that an employee may have around culture, process, people, roles and responsibility etc. The buddy and the new employee should at the minimum meet once every fortnight where the meeting is documented and data shared with HR. Any signs of employee discomfort should be reported to the HR committee or council who can then remedy the situation.

As you will notice, there are various aspects like punctuality, innovation, care, readiness, etc. that are showcased through the first 3-6 months of a new employee joining the company. It reflects the values that an organisation lays priority and leaves a strong message on expectations  for

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the future.




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