By Jim Wong, CPA | June 6, 2013


Finding the right candidate is only part of the battle. Your job as an accounting and finance leader isn’t finished when you hire a new employee. Look at the statistics: The cost to bring on a new hire can range up to 150 percent of that person’s salary. With such a large investment, you need to have an onboarding process in place to set up new employees for success.

A strong onboarding process will help accounting and finance professionals become more productive because they will know exactly what is expected of them not only in their job tasks, but also with the organization. A poor onboarding process can leave employees unsure of their exact roles and responsibilities.

“The first few days of employment are critical. New employees are a lot like cruise ships: Once their course is set — especially if that course is the wrong course — it takes significant time and energy to change their direction,” says Jeff Haden, contributor to Inc.

He shares some things to avoid when you create an onboarding process.

How to Create an Effective Onboarding Process

Focus on the Work
“You hire employees to work, not build personal relationships,” says Haden. Of course you should be polite, courteous and friendly, but “also stay focused on the fact the employee was hired to perform a job,” he adds. New employees will earn respect through their hard work and achievements.

Train Accordingly
Don’t train new employees on broad tasks. New accounting and finance professionals need to know “how to perform the tasks you hired them to perform. Leave the comprehensive overview approach for later, when they are better able to put their role into context,” says Haden.

Show them specific processes and give them time to master them, then introduce the other job functions and how they fit into the overall picture. “Think of it this way: How can you understand how your role fits into the broader organization when you don’t even know your role,” says Haden.

Provide Feedback
Don’t be slow to share feedback with a new employee. They are already nervous and are prone to mistakes, but if you don’t offer feedback early, you risk losing the opportunity to set the right tone. To increase the success of your onboarding process, it’s important to monitor how well your new employees are adjusting to their roles, responsibilities, colleagues, supervisors, and the business as a whole.

“Expect new employees to do things your way first; bad habits are easily formed and very difficult to correct,” says Haden.

Don’t Let Them Modify Processes
“In the first few weeks, though, a new employee should not be allowed to reinvent your wheel until they fully understand how your current wheel works,” says Haden. He suggests to be polite and tell them to hold on to their ideas for now.

Empowerment is Earned
“Empowerment is a privilege. Empowerment is not a right,” says Haden. New accounting and finance professionals need to earn their keep. Make sure they have the tools they need to be successful, and they will be itching to show they deserve your trust.

A great onboarding process is good for both your business and your new employee. “Engaging an employee can improve their performance by 20 percent and reduce their probability of departure by a whopping 87 percent,” says Darren Dahl in a recent Forbes article.

How well you integrate new employees into your business will determine how quickly they can have an affect on it and become successful.

What steps would you consider important in the onboarding process?

This article originally appeared on Clear Focus Financial Search.


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