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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

Onboard to Prevent the Offboard!

Landing new clients is always a positive happening when one owns a business. What happens after a potential client becomes a client needs to be a successful onboarding process, or the relationship can go awry before it even starts.

As a business owner, one should not underestimate the power of a good onboarding process. It is during the onboarding process that a new employee or client becomes engaged with the company and impressions are made. Hopefully, those impressions are good ones!

For a number of years, my job included completing tasks that are often part of an onboarding process. For instance, a quick phone conversation the night before a set start date just to check in. The phone call would often include items that if forgotten, would cause a bit of anxiety in a new employee such as, “Where do I park?”, “Is there a fridge for my lunch?”, or “Will I have business cards printed and ready to use?”.

Although a thorough orientation can include those bits of information, the less logistics preached during orientation, the better. Employees who experience poor onboarding tend to think about quitting quite a bit earlier than those who observe the “touches” that make them feel warm, fuzzy and welcome, not to mention, ready to get to work.

Glassdoor recently conducted a study surrounding onboarding and retention. It was found that “strong onboarding can improve retention by more than 80%. In addition, effective onboarding can increase productivity by 70%.” When it came down to productivity, the study revealed 77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process hit their first performance goals and that almost half of the employees who did not meet their goals did not go through formal onboarding.

As an independent contractor who only onboard clients, the process is obviously a bit different. We chat about what problems the business owner may be facing and how my services can allow him to focus on what is truly important. After coming to an agreement on the services I can provide as a virtual assistant, contracts are drawn up and signed. Then we get to work together. Each day goes better than the one prior as I learn their specific styles, personalities and requirements.

This week, I experienced onboarding as a virtual assistant on another virtual assistant’s team. Through answering an RFP process, the talks started rather informal, moved to formal, then on to meeting another team member to them bringing me on.

Then, the magic happened! Right away we had an onboarding call, which at the end, I was “turned over” to start working right away. That same evening, during a Google Meets staff meeting, I was introduced to the entire team and welcomed in an amazing manner.

What a way to be welcomed to a team! Immediately, all the software platforms I needed to learn and become accustomed to were set up with my username and profile information. There were no hiccups in logging in and getting down to it. In addition, a group chat via Voxer ensued, and the bantering made me feel right at home. I smiled to myself thinking of the new team I became a part of, and people whom I clicked with immediately.

If you and your company do not have an onboarding process, the importance is very clear and evident. Putting a solid onboarding process together and implementing it should be key for your next round of hiring. It makes a difference!

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