Getting Onboarding

Onboarding is a human resource (HR) practice gaining traction throughout the ag industry. This is a process focused on engaging new hires in their job and helping them understand and embrace overall company vision. However, many of us in the retail agronomy business are left asking a simpler question: “How do I get this new employee in the saddle, trained on how we do things and generating a return, fast?”

The answer to the question is through an onboarding process built to help the employee learn a lot in a short period of time. The ability to make a new employee “stick” can often be tied to what they learned (or didn’t learn) during their first three months on the job. A number of organizations, both in and out of ag, have studied employee departures. A study done by Monster.com found that 30% of new hires depart their company within two years. At an average of 25% of annual salary to replace that employee, the costs can really add up!

Engagement Is Key

Clear onboarding processes will provide a new employee with the training and resources they need to fully engage them in the role and company culture. An engaged employee understands their role, believes in the culture and future of the company, is energized to do their job, and overall a much more successful long-term employee. To create an energized employee, your onboarding process needs to include the following five components.

The first component in a successful onboarding program starts before they are even an employee. It begins with the very first “touch” of the candidate, whether it’s on campus, at a trade show or in the field. In high performance organizations, everyone becomes a recruiter for the company. The first impression your organization makes on this future employee will set the stage for their desire and attitude during the onboarding process.

Pre-hire onboarding requirements will include compelling job postings, prompt follow up by interviewers and a professional presentation of the organization. The offer itself is even part of the onboarding process. Know your candidate and make an effort to present an offer that will be accepted without negotiations. We have heard many stories of clients hiring someone, negotiating hard on the compensation to keep costs down and getting a disengaged employee on day one.

Now that you have an accepted offer the first day needs to be handled appropriately in the second component. You never get a second chance to capitalize on first day excitement, so make Day One special! Most new hires decide whether they made a good decision during their first week on the new job. Someone should greet them when they arrive and start by sharing their startup plan and answering any questions they may have. This is also a good time to take the new hire through the company’s mission, vision and goals and more importantly, how their role ties into where the company is going.

A key component to this initial meeting is to share with them who their mentor is. This mentor, or “Go-To” person, is critical for the new hire to be able to ask questions. If there is a “secret sauce” to onboarding, most HR professionals will tell you it is a mentor to the new hire. Tom Nelson, the vice president of HR for Farmers Cooperative Co. in Ames, IA, said: “An HR representative can make sure the employee has all the paperwork done and is ready for day one, but a mentor is a critical component of the onboarding process. A mentor enables that employee to successfully learn their role on a day-to-day basis.”

Tools Set Up

The third component is usually the easiest to make happen but the most overlooked by our clients — tools! The new hires’ desk, phone, computer, cell phone, vehicle, etc., need to be ready on Day One, with all accounts ready to go. Preparation will be noticed and greatly appreciated by the new hire, but it’s the lack of preparation that will immediately question the decision they have made. Nelson believes that this part of onboarding “can be handled by an administrative level person because it is generally a list that needs to be completed, but most organizations fail here because no one is responsible for the list.”

Our fourth onboarding component is a three-legged stool that consists of the hiring manager, HR and a mentor. These individuals must be in constant contact with the new hire to answer their questions and provide ongoing encouragement through the starting process. This prevents the employee from ever feeling “lost” or confused, and will make a big difference in the attitude of the employee. Everyone in the three-legged stool should initially check with the employee on at least a weekly basis to evaluate progress against a training plan and answer questions. The time between check-ups can stretch longer over time, but this group needs to continually make sure all HR issues are taken care of and that the new hire is assimilating into the organization and learning what they need to do. An ongoing system of feedback and continuous improvement is the goal.

Our last component is dogged determination. Most new hires will tell you that it takes 12 to 18 months to completely understand everything about their role in a company. How long is your orientation and onboarding process? Does it match the 12 to 18 month needs of your new employees? Don’t discount this length of time. Stay determined to answer questions and coach the candidate past the challenges they may face as the expectations and demands of the role increase.

Onboarding may not sound like rocket science, but it’s the little things that put the rocket on the right course to success. As recruiters, we know which companies have strong onboarding processes, because our candidates succeed and don’t call us frustrated with lack of direction or confusion. To retain your best, hire right and onboard through a process that sets them up to succeed.

Leave a Reply

Employees Stories

Employee Interview
Employees1 Simple Step To Hiring And Retention In Ag Retail
February 2, 2017
There are three significant trends pertaining to the ag industry workforce which merit consideration: A growing shortage of qualified workers, Read More
AgHires.com
EmployeesAgHires Launches Redesigned Job Board, Recruiting Platform
November 8, 2016
In an effort to better serve job seekers and employers in and around agriculture, AgHires has launched its new redesigned job Read More
EmployeesOABA Program Develops Future Generation Of Agribusiness Leaders
September 29, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association will select up to 25 promising leaders to participate in a leadership enhancement program early next Read More
Co-Alliance employee
EmployeesNew Purdue Program To Focus On Talent Management
July 14, 2016
Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business is starting a new professional development program to help food and agribusiness Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Latest News
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
NL5000 With G5 Technology
SpreadersNew Leader Introduces NL5000 Dry Nutrient Applicator Wi…
February 13, 2017
New Leader, a division of Highway Equipment Company (HECO), has announced the next generation of spreading technology with the NL5000 Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Agrees To Credit Agreement Amendme…
February 9, 2017
Pinnacle Operating Corp. has entered into an amendment (the “Amendment”) to its First Lien Credit Agreement that will provide for, Read More
ManagementUpdates on Upcoming Trips, Dow-DuPont, and the Des Moin…
February 9, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review a few future travels, along with the latest on big company mergers and Read More
Championship Tractor Pull
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Highlighted By Championshi…
February 9, 2017
The scream of monster engines, the stench of burning rubber and the ground-pounding vibrations of the country’s largest, loudest and Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Corn Field
InsecticidesArysta LifeScience, DuPont Collaborate On Rynaxpyr Prem…
February 8, 2017
Arysta LifeScience recently announced that it has entered into a global collaboration with DuPont Crop Protection for the development of Read More
Industry NewsThe Fertilizer Institute Board Elects New Chairman, Vic…
February 8, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) Board of Directors has elected Chuck Magro, President and CEO of Agrium, and Tony Will, President Read More
Sonny Perdue
ManagementARA Joins More Than 600 Organizations In Support Of Per…
February 8, 2017
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) recently joined with more than 600 agricultural groups on a letter of support for Governor Read More
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit Panel 2016
Crop InputsWorld Agri-Tech Innovation Summit To Be Held In San Fra…
February 8, 2017
“Breakthrough Applications and Business Models for Sustainable Farming” is the theme of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit to be held Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojConsolidation In Agriculture: More Middle Movement
February 7, 2017
If you’ve regularly followed my column, you know I’m something of a movie junkie. Like many, one of my favorite Read More