When you have spent a lot of time and energy in finding and hiring the right person, it makes sense to put just as much effort in to making sure they succeed.

Ensuring the early days of the employment relationship are satisfactory helps form a lasting impression that a good choice has been made on both sides. All of the activities used to bring a new employee in to the organisation and give them the tools, information and introductions they need to bring them up to speed are encompassed in the terms onboarding or induction. The sooner you begin this process for a new employee, the better your chances of successfully integrating them into the business quickly and well.

Recruitment is not easy; finding the right candidate in the face of strong competition across the construction sector is a challenge and can be expensive. Ensuring both you and your new post-holder feel you have made the right decision can save enormous amounts of energy, disruption and cost.

Turnover among people in the first two years of a job is much higher than among other groups. According to AHRI research, 25 per cent of new employees decide whether to stay within the first week and 47 per cent of turnover occurs in the first 90 days. That compares to 25 per cent leaving after between five and 10 years of service. The sobering fact is that a high percentage of new hires may not stay beyond their probationary period, which highlights the importance of a strong induction and onboarding process.

High levels of turnover among new recruits means you will barely have recovered your recruitment and training costs before it is necessary to restart your recruitment process. Its difficult to put a figure on the exact cost of replacing an employee, but Randstad estimates this could be anything from 50 to 150 per cent of an individual’s salary depending on the acquisition cost, seniority, skill level and the impact of the loss on both staff and customers.

Here are eight tips to help you successfully set the right fist impression with new staff, all of which you can implement before the new hire starts:

  • Get the physical space ready. Is there a desk and or locker assigned? Is it in good shape? If it has a lock, is the key there? Is there a phone there and is it connected?
  • Get the computer or other required tools ready. Make sure their tools are set up and ready to use, that they have the access keys and codes they need, and that there is someone assigned to assist if they need help. Have their printed business cards ready for when they start.
  • Ensure staff know about the new recruit. Notify the people who need to know the new employee’s name, title, reporting supervisor and start date. Depending on your organisation, this might include HR, payroll, IT and security.
  • Add the new hire to distribution lists. Make sure IT creates the necessary email accounts and adds the new person to distribution lists they need to be on. You will want the new employee to be able to receive emails as soon as they start.
  • Assign a mentor. Most new employees have questions, so assign them a mentor or buddy. Questions might include: dress code, local facilities where you can get lunch and arrangements for tea and coffee, and so on.
  • Prepare a starter pack. Put together a new starter pack that gives them a checklist of what they need to bring on the first day and a schedule for the days planned activities. Include company policy documents so they understand what is expected of staff. If your company has social networking groups, provide a link so they can ”meet” colleagues before they start. Include any company news as it will help new starters to understand your culture.
  • Plan the first day. Ensure they know where, when and to whom they should report each day. Include details such as parking, which entrance to use and who to call if there are problems. It’s often useful to ask them to arrive slightly later on their first day to give the manager time to prepare for their arrival.
  • Health and safety. Ensure the new starter is aware of the health and safety procedures, including first aid, injury and incident reporting and emergency evacuation plans.