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The importance of an effective on-boarding program

The importance of an effective on-boarding program
How to keep new employees feeling engaged and excited about their job

Did you know that enthusiasm and natural employee engagement of a new employee typically drops off after the first 90 days? This opens the door for employees to depart or be recruited away. 

That is why an effective on-boarding strategy is just what is needed to help train new employees in a manner that makes them feel comfortable, engaged with the operation and excited about their future with the farm.  

What is On-Boarding?
On-boarding is the series of processes that transition an accepted applicant into a productive employee. There are several key things that a new employee wants in a new career:

How to keep new employees feeling engaged and excited about their job

To understand how their role fits into the operation; To learn the vision and strategy of the operation; To meet other employees; To have the tools needed to do the job; To understand the responsibilities and performance expectations; and To have immediate responsibility and work.

An effective on-boarding strategy contains components that respond to each of these.

How can you develop and on-boarding program of your own?
Here are some quick tips to help develop an effective on-boarding program:

• Develop a pre-arrival checklist. This will help with consistency.

• Assign a key contact that will stay in touch prior to their start and through the first few months on the job.

• Be prepared!  Have all of the necessary paperwork collected and ready for completion.  Have their workspace and resources ready to go.  Develop an orientation plan.

• Involve several team members in the orientation as a way to start the networking.

• Give background on the operation and outline the overall objectives of the business.  Build in some time for the new employee to absorb all of the information.  Talk about how their role fits within the operation.

• Outline very clearly their responsibilities and how their performance will be measured.

• Try to do something special for the employee.  Begin to foster a relationship.

• Give the new employee an opportunity to ACHIEVE something in the first week -- capitalize on their natural motivation.

• Move on to specific training for their role and responsibilities.  Try not to cram everything into the first week.

• Encourage managers to spend time with their new hire frequently during the on-boarding time to reiterate vision, responsibilities and training.

• Discuss areas for improvement early and often throughout the on-boarding process.  Be sure to also highlight what is being done well.

• Ask for feedback, a new hire has recently gone through both the recruiting and interview process -- their feedback can strengthen your future recruiting efforts.

An investment in employee on-boarding programs positively impacts employee engagement, morale, productivity and retention.  To learn more about how on-boarding programs can impact the bottom line, contact at [email protected].

The opinions of Erika Osmundson are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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