By Alison Lambert, Associate HR Business Partner 
We all know that first impressions count right? This is no different when welcoming a new employee to the helm. I clearly remember starting a new role and arriving enthusiastically on day one to find a member of the IT department stood on my desk preparing the wiring for my laptop. A laptop that hadn’t even been ordered yet. My first impression?........ What on earth have I done? 
Great talent is hard to find, so its vitally important to nurture them before, during and after the recruitment process. CIPD research shows that the majority of staff turnover in the first year of employment is down to poorly designed or non-existent induction programmes or on-boarding as it has become known in recent years. A well on-boarded employee who feels welcomed and prepared will without a doubt stay with an organisation longer than one thrown in at the deep end without the tools required to succeed in role from day one. 
Tip 1: Ready, set, go…………… 
On-boarding begins from the moment with the first contact. Make sure that your recruitment process in professional, transparent and timely and that they know what to expect and when. This includes making the offer and following up with the relevant paperwork. This can massively affect your Employer Branding too. We all know someone who’s had a bad experience with an Employer and they’re not afraid to shout about it. 
Tip 2: Keep the employee warm 
Once they have excitedly accepted the offer, some employees have up to 6 months’ notice to work in a previous role so making the offer and then disappearing off the radar doesn’t give off good signals. Invite them to team events or for a coffee/lunch so they get to know the team, keep in regular contact and where appropriate ask for their opinions on upcoming initiatives they may be working on (don’t forget your non-disclosure agreement if there is anything confidential you wish to share). All of these things will help the employee feel part of the team from the offset and make day one a little less nervy. Drip feeding important induction information over this period of time is also a great way of imparting information onto the employee without overloading them in their first few weeks, meaning they can hit the ground running instead of drowning in induction paperwork. 
Tip 3: Hatch a plan 
Having an induction plan is imperative. New employees need to know about the business, the team, their role and the culture. Organisations who do this really well will usually have a ‘generic’ plan for all roles and a ‘role specific’ plan which can map across all roles. Think about how long you wish your on-boarding process to last. Best practice is for the period of probation, however, businesses with technical roles may extend this over a longer period. 
Generic induction plans are likely to include: 
· A HR Induction 
· Business overview day 
· Compliance and Health and Safety Induction 
· Meet the team 
· Systems training 
· Office/Site tour 
Unfortunately, many businesses provide the generic on-boarding plans above (or parts of) and send the employee on their merry way, thus resulting in inconsistencies at ‘role specific’ on-boarding. Great role specific onboarding plans should be managed by the Manager and include: 
· Shadowing colleagues / providing a buddy 
· Role specific meetings with key personnel 
· Regular meetings and check ins with the Manager 
· Development which is specific to the role 
· First 90-day objectives / areas of focus 
· Site visits 
Arriving on day one and having a full 3-month induction plan mapped out and having all the required tools will not only make the employee feel valued and clear on what they are doing but also shows a professional and forward-thinking team who has their act together. 
Tip 4: Culture and People 
Integrating a new employee into the team is vital in those first few weeks and its so tempting, as a busy Manager, to introduce them to everyone by name and assume this is enough. Assigning a buddy who can advise them on ‘non role specific’ things is a great way of helping the new employee settle in. Advising on simple things like where to go to lunch, where is the stationary cupboard or the Company values can really make an impact on how settled they feel in role. There’s nothing worse than sitting at your work station and being unsure on where to grab a coffee or how to log onto your computer and having no one to ask. 
Tip 5: Feedback Loop 
Keeping in regular contact with your new employee and asking for feedback on the onboarding process is vital. Some people like more detail and some are happy with a broad framework for induction. Don’t be afraid to sit down with the new employee and ask for feedback so you can flex the plan. How are you settling in? Is the induction plan working for you? Do you need anything else from me? I would certainly recommend a feedback discussion at the end of day one and potentially weekly during the onboarding process. This not only allows you to ensure your new employee is settling in well but also means you can adjust your induction processes overall as a business as you develop and grow. 
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