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After expending company resources to find and hire a great new employee, have you thought about what the employee will need to know in order to be successful in your organization?

A report from the Society of Human Resource Management found that half of all hourly employees leave within the first 120 days. However, another study completed by the Wynhurst Group found that having an effective onboarding process can increase employee retention by 58 percent, and improve employee performance by 11 percent.

Wikipedia defines onboarding as the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.

Here are some best practices to establish an effective onboarding process for your company:

  1. Establish an onboarding outline.  This outline may vary for each position but should be adapted for each specific candidate. Key aspects include:
    • Expectations of the job;
    • Explanation of how their job contributes to the company’s strategic goals;
    • Job specific training with key personnel assigned to assist with the training;
    • Company focused training so the employee understands the business, including the values and culture;
    • Performance goals;
    • Feedback.
  2. Be prepared for the employee prior to her first day.  What kind of a message does it send when you aren’t prepared for the employee on his/her first day?  Paperwork should be prepared, schedule established and team members notified. Having a new employee standing around waiting for you doesn’t send a welcoming message.
  3. Make onboarding a two-way street. Giving some responsibility to the employee during onboarding helps them gain ownership in the process. For example, you could have an employee list the areas where he feels he needs further training or exposure.
  4. Establish a calendar for onboarding.  What specifically does the company need to do in the 1st day, week, month and beyond?  What specifically is the employee responsible for?  One company requires that the employee and supervisor set goals during the first 30 days which must be completed prior to the 90-day review.
  5. Schedule one-on-one meetings on a consistent basis.  During these meetings, both parties should be open to feedback, suggestions and questions.
  6. Extend the onboarding process beyond 90 days.  As the employee becomes a contributing member of the workforce, shift the conversation towards employee development and advancement.

Considering how difficult it is to find qualified employees, doesn’t it make sense to have an effective onboarding process to ensure that you retain and develop the ones you have?

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to