Onboarding employees is more important today than ever. A company’s success will be defined by its ability to attract and retain the best possible people.

In an increasingly competitive job market, HR professionals have had to invest countless hours recruiting, hiring and sometimes relocating the top talent. However if these employees are not onboarded properly, the resulting negative experiences most likely will lead to them leave the company.

The process of onboarding employees becomes even more important for a relocating employee. For these employees, the scope of the onboarding process must be greatly expanded to continue for some time after their first day. It must also extend beyond the office. After all, you are not just onboarding an employee; you are onboarding an entire family into their new community, home, and perhaps even kids into a new school.

With so much valuable time, effort and money spent on the recruiting process, one must have a complete, well-thought-out process for onboarding employees in place. The idea is to help your new employees as they come in the door, and not find yourself trying to keep them when it is too late and they have one foot out the door.

Starting a new job is stressful enough on its own, but combined with a move – and perhaps even relocating a family – the difficulty could be a deal killer. Many of your new candidates may not have relocated to pursue their careers in at least five years, and probably haven’t changed locations in that time either. So, for the majority of relocating employees, the move to a new city is a major life event and the source of significant stress.

Whether you like it or not, a relocated employee’s job performance may ultimately be decided by the success or failure of their location to a new city. It’s no wonder that 61% of companies report loosing a top prospect to relocation anxiety.

The Onboarding Process

In order to win the talent wars, human resources professionals need to be well-versed in onboarding employees, and for a relocating prospect, that process begins during their first interview. When the employee arrives at your office for the interview, show them around the office, introduce them to key employees and potential coworkers.

After the interview, show them parts of their new city that might interest them. This is especially important if there is a spouse. Get them excited about not just the prospects of their new job but the possibilities of their new home and life. This type of attention will give them assurance you and the organization cares about them as a person and you will not leave them to fend for themselves.

You need to treat the first impression of your company as the first part of employee onboarding. This is a vital part of your company's process to attract and retain top recruits. Ignoring the importance of employee onboarding can cost you, and, a strong program for employee onboarding can boost your bottom line more than you might realize.

Onboarding Employees Outside the Office

Employee onboarding may begin with the first interview, but the next steps are just as important. Even before the relocating employee arrives in town, someone needs to work with them to make sure they find the right neighborhood, the right home, and, if they have kids, the right school.

Being close to the right restaurants, stores, and recreational options, will also greatly improve employee happiness, productivity on the job, and most importantly, improve retention. Los Angeles, for example, has over 270 distinct neighborhoods, all catering to different lifestyles. Take the time to find the right neighborhood for your employee and their family.

If your relocation plan was to simply put them up at a corporate housing project and hope they somehow adapt, you’d might as well keep looking for their replacement, because chances are high that they will leave after a short stint with your company. So, get them taken care of at home first and they will be there for you later.

Onboarding Employees at Work

If the employee’s out-of-office onboarding is handled properly, on their first day, they will be much better prepared for dealing with the new challenges at work. In the office, have all of their paperwork ready to be completed. Getting this out of the way avoids human resource headaches down the road. A single tax form forgotten during employee onboarding can lead to major problems come April.

Next, be sure that all of the employee's practical needs are taken care of. Email or phone accounts should be created before the actual employee onboarding even begins. Employee onboarding goes smoother if there's no need to hunt down the needed materials or wait for an email account to be activated before they can begin working.

Preparation is vital for employee onboarding and for your bottom line. A vital component to employee onboarding, and one you shouldn’t overlook, is letting the new employee know just what is expected from them. This needs to be undertaken as soon as possible during the employee onboarding process, and includes not only an accurate description of their job duties and responsibilities, but also documentation about the company's policies and guidelines.

This step of the employee onboarding process ensures that they understand exactly what is expected and what the company will not tolerate behavior-wise – two issues that directly affect your profits.

Follow-through is Necessary for Successful Onboarding

The final aspect of onboarding employees is follow-up and support at home. You helped them find a home in the right neighborhood, but what about all of the other aspects of life that make them feel fully at home? We advise having someone help the employee with the hundreds of other things to get them fully settled-in.

Imagine how much of a difference it will make to have someone set up interviews for the kids at the right schools, help the kids find a soccer club, meet the cable guy, help the spouse find a decorator or furniture store, line up a personal trainer – whatever they need. Things like this will make your new employee feel like they're part of a team, but they also will feel as though they're among friends, even if it is only friends at the professional level.

At work, a first day lunch is a great way to bring some friendly interaction into the employee onboarding process. Something as simple as a full round of introductions can do much for your employee's feelings. Motivation and morale are a big part of your bottom line, and taking the time to ensure that your employee feels comfortable, not just at work, but in their new community, is a vital aspect of employee onboarding.

Ok, so you might be saying, “That sounds great, but who has the budget for all that?” Well, chances are, you do.

Relocity will provide a personal assistant for your employee, who will physically be there for them, providing concierge-level services, and staying with them throughout the entire relocation process, all for $99 per hour.

We bill only for the hours we spend actually helping your employee. The average move for an individual takes 30 hours ($2,970), a family with kids may take 40 hours, and a C level executive may take 50. So, if spending under $3,000 seems like a great investment in your employee’s happiness, well, that’s because it is.

Think of how much you invested to land that person. $3K buys the best insurance around. And think of how your company will look in comparison to your peers. You will look like the company that cares about its staff, a place everyone will want to work.

This will draw talent and increase employee retention a lot better than a foosball table or free snacks. Holding their hands throughout their relocation and finding their kids a great school will earn you an employee for life.