onboarding HR Consultants

A HR Consultant’s Guide to Employee Onboarding

Becoming a trusted Human Resources Consultant is based on trust and there are a lot of potential challenges to building and maintaining that trust.

Managing the hiring process, training new hires and overseeing their tenure at the organisation depends largely on “first impressions”; that is, the care and attention taken during the onboarding process.

Sometimes, personalities and cultures aren’t a good fit even though the skillset seems ideal on paper; but according to a study done by Korn Ferry, most companies don’t have an onboarding process that encourages employee engagement and retention.

The Korn Ferry study found:

• 90% of surveyed executives said that new-employee retention was an ongoing issue
• 10-25% of new employees quit within the first 6 months

While executives lament the difficulty of retaining quality employees, not all optimise the concepts of onboarding. 98% of surveyed executives stated that onboarding programs were central in retaining employees; however…

• Only 69% reported their organisation has formal onboarding programs for all employees
• 23% said that their onboarding programs lasted one day
• 30% said that their onboarding program lasted one week

That means that 31% of organisations have no formal onboarding programs, and of those that do, just over half are confusing onboarding with orientation.

Onboarding is not the same as orientation.

Orientation provides a basic awareness of the position and employer, and is done over a short period of time. Orientation does not encourage employee longevity because it often leaves them feeling like they’ve just been dumped into a tank full of sharks and they have to figure out how to survive on their own.

Onboarding, however, is a structured approach of providing personal, professional and social support intended to assimilate new hires, empower them and maximise their productivity in the long run.

This approach involves a significant time and energy investment – and an “investment” it is. An investment in helping a new hire integrate quickly into the company results in higher employee retention, productivity and satisfaction by encouraging each new employee to thrive.

For the HR Consultant who works with multiple clients of up to 500 employees, onboarding services that you provide can include:

Manage and take the stress out of the hiring process and being committed to finding and retaining the right candidate who meets the needs of the organisation in the long-term.

Communication with the new hire before they start work so they can learn about the company and the company culture including dress codes, logistics such as parking, self-development opportunities within the organisation, and a “who’s who” that will make them feel welcome on Day 1

Working with managers in:

Creating a welcoming work space for the new hire

Making the new hire’s first day memorable and positive

Creating a comprehensive orientation/onboarding experience

Providing a smooth paperwork process and conducting an HR audit

Setting clear expectations for the new hire including job responsibilities, goals, performance metrics, and company policies and guidelines

Educating managers on allowing for the learning curve: while the loss of productivity with a new hire can be frustrating, the first 3 months should be viewed as a training period that will pay off in the long run

Assisting managers with forming an onboarding team of the new hire and a buddy or mentor, including job shadowing (if applicable, mentors both within the department and in other departments will help create a powerful sense of collaboration and help the new hire feel like they’re part of the big picture)

Assisting managers with performance management including identifying issues that trigger poor performance

Promoting socialization: making a new hire feel like part of a friendly team is vital for motivation and dedication

Encouraging feedback and open communication between yourself, the new hire, and his/her managers, so that any concerns can be addressed immediately

Mediating staff disputes

Providing management advice: just because someone has a “Manager” title, doesn’t mean they are good with people and they may need education in communication, conflict resolution and employee engagement

Effective onboarding programs support employers, new employees, and HR consultants. 69% of new hires are more likely to remain with the company if they have been inducted into the company within a structured onboarding program; this means less work and an enhanced reputation for HR consultants.

As an HR consultant for your clients, you can introduce onboarding as a key value add to your services, and:

Accelerate a new hire’s assimilation into the organisation, allowing them to feel like a valued, contributing member sooner

Minimise the risk of premature departure within the critical first 90 days

Positively impact the organisation by engaging and retaining top-performing, enthusiastic, dedicated and satisfied employees

Let CareerSupport365 help you custom-design an onboarding process for your clients, so they create a thriving team of engaged long-term employees!


Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.

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