Today’s skills crisis means that genuine talent seems rarer than ever, with every organisation fighting an ongoing war to secure the best candidates. Recruitment has become a seller’s market – and the candidates know it.

As with any battle, it pays to have the right strategy. Having a well-planned out and executed recruitment plan that involves the right people quickly and early in the process will help ensure that you can attract and secure the best talent. But the job isn’t done the moment the employee signs the contract. In reality, this is only the beginning.

Research shows that up to 20% of employee turnover happens within the first six weeks of employment. This has significant consequences: it means that employers need to restart the hiring process and suffer further loss to productivity – especially if the role has already been vacant for an extended period. While no formula exists to the actual cost of a bad hire, the most common figure estimates it can equal 30% of the individual’s first year potential earnings, making a long recruitment process and poor hiring decision a very costly exercise.

Perhaps even more damaging is the impact on staff morale, increased stress on the team and hiring manager and decreased confidence in management’s ability to make hiring decisions. Higher workloads placed on good employees to cover the vacant role – particularly in small and medium sized businesses – can further contribute to employee dissatisfaction and have longer term repercussions for the business.

One of the most common – yet often overlooked – reasons why an employee leaves an organisation so soon after being hired is the lack of an effective onboarding plan. Robert Half research shows that 36% of office workers consider leaving their employer after the first month for this reason. It clearly pays to get onboarding right.

Today’s skilled candidates are much more discerning and demanding than they might have been a decade ago when we were in the global financial downturn. They don’t just expect a fast recruitment process: they want to feel welcomed and know that they will have the support they need to grow and perform well in their job.

That’s why it’s vital that your organisation reviews its onboarding process to make sure that you start your new employee relationship off on the right footing.

1. Take onboarding seriously

First impressions count. The new employee’s signature might still be wet on the contract, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got them for life. That’s why organisations should have a clear onboarding process that makes a new hire feel welcomed and valued, taking every opportunity to recruit and re-recruit the candidate and effectively embedding them into the company culture.

This process should encompass formal introductions with new colleagues, providing a welcome pack, setting up an introductory meeting with their mentor/line manager, and arranging a formal induction/orientation session to discuss the organisation, its ethos and culture, and to answer any questions.

2. Make it personal

It’s important to have a process in place, but by personalising it you can make the new hire feel much more welcomed and positive about their new role.

Consider using the first day as an opportunity to discuss their aims and ambitions, as well as their preferences in management style. The first week is an opportunity for an employer to demonstrate how much they value their staff, so make sure you listen to their concerns and develop a tailored programme, including a personal development plan.

3. Regular catch-ups

When does onboarding end? It’s an interesting question and will most likely differ from person to person.

Some people may settle in straight away; others may take a little time or may experience frustrations or unhappiness that they are reluctant to share openly. That’s why it’s so important to check in regularly with new hires, and let them know that you’re serious about helping them feel comfortable and thrive in their new role.

4. Set goals

A commitment to creating a great onboarding process needs to be accompanied by clear goals. Setting weekly targets throughout the first 90 days and supplementing with additional training and development and check-ins with the line manager will set both the employee and company up for success. This will enable you to manage their progress – and also how you are meeting their ambitions.

Above all, see this as an opportunity to demonstrate your corporate values. If your business is a vibrant and fun place to work, let this shine through during the onboarding process. The more people involved in making a new starter feel welcome, the greater the boost to team morale and future collaboration, leading to longer-term success and growth for your company.

Learn from Robert Half’s expert recruiters so you can build a talented team of employees or advance your career. Operating in over 300 locations worldwide, our employment agency in Perth can provide you with assistance where and when you need it.