Formalising onboarding for new employee success

Great talent makes your accounting practice – employees deliver output and secure long-term client relationships. This makes getting any new recruit up and running quickly in your team critical.

Once you have selected a new candidate to work for you, they need to be efficiently introduced into your accounting firm so they can start being productive. This process is called onboarding. Some businesses might also refer to it as induction or orientation—but essentially, they all mean the same thing.

Onboarding is particularly important for early career seekers and accounting graduates. Unlike your more experienced employees, they won’t necessarily bring with them other business practices and experiences. The key benefit of this is that you get to train them into your business your way.

The ultimate goal of onboarding is to set up your employee quickly and productively so they can play a key role in helping you reach the goals of your firm sooner. There are a number of benefits to running a good onboarding program for all.

These benefits include:

  1. Increasing the likelihood of retention. Do you remember what it is like to start a new job? New employees can feel a bit nervous—especially those younger. Employees become more productive and will be more loyal when they feel a part of the team from day one.
  1. Ensuring the essential paper work is ticked off. It is important that letters of offer or contracts are signed, employee bank, superannuation and tax file numbers have been completed and other required aspects of the work relationship are formalised.
  1. Sharing the bigger picture. Smaller practices, particularly those with strong leaders, are often very good at sharing the vision of the firm and demonstrating how each staff member contributes to key objectives. It is not uncommon for employees of bigger practices to feel distanced from the bigger picture. Sharing your vision early on can help empower an employee, and show them that they have an opportunity to make a real contribution.
  1. Instilling good work practices and habits. Onboarding provides the opportunity to continue the conversation about your firm’s practices and culture that began during the interview process. Employees feel more secure when they know how the firm works and what the expectations are on both sides of the employment relationship.
  1. Meeting key stakeholders. New employees like to meet their key stakeholders quickly. Onboarding needs to enable relationships through early meetings and training.
  1. Putting in place training requirements and a schedule. Depending on the nature of the role, some training will be required. Every firm has their own procedures and processes, so it is good to get new employees familiar with these key practices early.
  1. Meeting legal requirements related to occupational health and safety. It is important to provide a safe work place for every employee—new and existing.
  1. Building your reputation as a good employer to work for. With a good onboarding program, you are more likely to be seen as a professional firm. Practices that look after their employees have more successful and longer employee relationships.

What should be included in an onboarding program?

To be effective, an onboarding program needs to be formalised. Sure, it might be tailored for different employees who complete different roles, but there are some core elements that apply to every member of staff. Let’s take a look at the key elements of an employee induction program.

Induction activity
Before employee arrives Tasks may include
Employee work station set up Stationery requirements, computer, email, telephone
Onboarding package Welcome letter, job description, organizational chart, key contacts
Staff notification Notification to key people and teams of new team member
Once employee arrives Tasks may include 
Workplace welcome Meet and welcome, office tour, their workstation
Employee paperwork Collected letter of engagement/contract, tax form, superannuation details
Business introduction Values, flexiblity, bigger picture, leadership values, career planning
Review of role Objectives, job description, performance evaluation, remuneration
Probation objectives Performance evaluation
Policies Business policies / requirements
Processes Business processes / how we do things here
Training requirements and schedule Knowledge gaps and training requirements—schedule
Mentor contact and goals Mentor meeting time and frequency
Occupational health and safety First aid kid location, first aid officer, evacuation plan
Meeting key stakeholders Setting appointment times after meeting key people
Followup and checkins Ongoing checkin, daily for the first week, weekly thereafter
Probation review Review and assess, exit or proceed

How do you create your own onboarding program?

To help create your own onboarding program, Grad Mentor has put together an onboarding template for your accounting firm. Click here to access it under the ‘For Employers’ heading.

A good onboarding should continue the key messages you spoke about with employees in the recruiting process, and build the foundations for ongoing employee development and retention. Induction is just one step in a long-term and productive relationship between the employee and your firm.

With competition for good human resources greater than ever before, managing staff has never been more important. A sound onboarding program is one of the most important parts of this.

And if you’d like to join the Striver Tribe at no cost, please follow this link to set up your account:  www.striver.careers/accounting-launch. Right now we’re giving away a free e-book ‘Your Professional Headspace’ by Scott Charlton to those who join. Filled with real life examples, checklists and tips, ‘Your Professional Headspace’ is a practical guide to achieving a more fulfilling and financially rewarding life as a professional in practice.

Alisdair Barr
Founder and CEO at Striver
Email: abarr@striver.careers

www.striver.careers

Alisdair Barr

CEO at Striver
Alisdair Barr is the founder and CEO of Striver. He’s also been a key figure in developing the best practice frameworks for how financial advisory and accounting firms hire and manage early career talent. Alisdair has been recognised by the AFA for his contribution to the advice profession, including the best practice study and frameworks within ‘The Perfect Marriage –The Graduate and the Firm’.When he’s not working for clients with Striver, you’ll probably find Alisdair spending time with his young family
Alisdair Barr

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Alisdair Barr

Alisdair Barr is the founder and CEO of Striver. He’s also been a key figure in developing the best practice frameworks for how financial advisory and accounting firms hire and manage early career talent. Alisdair has been recognised by the AFA for his contribution to the advice profession, including the best practice study and frameworks within ‘The Perfect Marriage –The Graduate and the Firm’. When he’s not working for clients with Striver, you’ll probably find Alisdair spending time with his young family