Onboarding process in the UAE: What to do and what not to do

By Robert Half on 21st July 2021

If you, like many employers, are looking to hire staff to take advantage of opportunities in the recovering global economy, you will know that the process of on-boarding these new team members can be arduous and time-consuming.

The first days in a new job are critical. While the spotlight is often on the new recruit, as companies and managers eagerly anticipate their arrival, the need to make a good first impression works both ways.

As a busy manager, it’s easy to skip a comprehensive employee onboarding process for the new hire, especially as work has most likely been piling up while the position has been vacant. However, failure to make sure your new employees feel fully supported can result in long-term issues with productivity, reputational damage, retention and company culture.

  • Loss of productivity. The new employee could flounder and take many more months than expected to work effectively
  • Impact to the company’s reputation. Negative word-of-mouth can impact on your ability to secure top talent in the future
  • Loss of the new recruit. When an employee isn't supported and continually sold on the role within the first few months, you could be at risk of losing them. According to ERE Media, 90% of new hires decide to stay or leave a job within the first six months
  • Impact to company culture. Consider the emotional impact to your team if a staff member leaves too soon. A report by CIPD found that over 70% of employers believe employees’ departure from the organisation has a minor, or serious, negative effect on business performance

Employee onboarding checklist

With the above factors at play, it’s crucial that your new employee is set up for long-term success with a comprehensive onboarding process – ensuring they feel supported right from the start. Investing the time up-front will help ensure your new employee feels settled and give them a strong foundation that will help them to soar to new heights that will benefit both themselves and the company.

The checklist below will help with your management of the employee onboarding process, although these are not the only steps required. They are designed as a starting point for you to create a more comprehensive onboarding plan.

Step one: The prep work

Before your new recruit even starts work, reach out to them so that they feel comfortable from the get-go. Share important information to help them feel prepared and excited for their first day – this information can include what time they need to arrive on their first day, who they should ask for at reception, dress code, parking instructions, as well as any other helpful details.

Preparing the technology and equipment your new hire will need is just as important as communicating with them directly. Reach out to HR and IT to set up the new email account, voicemail and computer equipment. If the employee will be expected to work in the office, make sure their workspace is ready for them. On their first day, you should have their login information, company ID, security information and office set up ready so that they can get started as soon as they enter the building.

Step two: Allay first-day fears

Make sure your new recruit receives an energetic welcome – online and in-person. Brief a receptionist, ‘buddy’ or meet-and-greet team so that they are welcomed the second they walk through the door. Send out a welcome email with some facts and conversation starters about the new hire to the team, key stakeholders and the business in the morning, and follow up with personal introductions to key departments and colleagues.

Help to orient your new employee with the lay of the land with a tour of the office that includes the basics: where to find stationary, how to book meeting rooms, where to find the best coffee. If they will be working remotely, this should include information on tech support and the services or platforms available to them – they should be able to find everything they need as soon as possible.

Step three: Give the blueprint to success

Give a business induction. Your business may have a formal induction but if not, create one. Provide an overview of the company’s vision and mission, values, products and services, organisational chart and functions of various departments.

Revisit goals and responsibilities. You will have touched on this during the hiring process, but now is the opportunity to go into more detail about key assignments and expectations. This is a key aspect of effective talent management, so also take the time to discuss the evaluation process and schedule a performance review.

Schedule training. As part of the onboarding process, find out which new skills your new employee feels they may need training on. Explore and book in relevant internal training, conferences and webinars. Establishing employee training as a priority for the business can not only help you secure the candidate but retain them too.

Step four: After month one

Remember that successfully onboarding a new employee takes several months. Check in often, and schedule regular catch-ups to give new hires the opportunity to air any concerns or ask any questions, and make sure you listen carefully to their answers. Using what you learn, facilitate any additional training on systems or processes, and be prepared to give extra feedback or reassurance. 

Set the scene for your relationship with the new hire, including your management style and expectations. The first few months is a good time to assess the best way for you both employee to interact on a day-to-day basis, even asking how they prefer to be supported and managed so that you can adjust your management style if needed. These initial months will likely set the tone for the entirety of your professional relationship.

Finally, keep the employee motivated and engaged by celebrating success. It could be as simple as noting the new employee’s achievements in a team meeting, or you could establish an awards program to acknowledge and celebrate high-performing staff.

Let the experts help

Effective onboarding is just the start of talent management. Contact us to discuss recruitment services, employee onboarding and talent retention with our expert team.

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