Recruitment: How effective are you when hiring and on-boarding new staff?

Agricultural Appointments, June 15, 2020

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CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just made an excellent new staff appointment and are excited about the contribution fresh talent can bring to the team. What comes next?

Well, your primary concern at this stage needs to be engaging your new employee, and garnering their support for their new organisation. This is achieved via immediate and efficient on-boarding.

Remember, you never a get a second chance to create a great first impression, and this first impression can be crucial to securing high levels of engagement, productivity, job satisfaction, and, ultimately, employee retention.

With this in mind, on-boarding is a serious issue for all agribusinesses, but are they all taking it seriously enough?

Consider these statistics:

  • Only 12pc of employees strongly agree that their organisation does a great job of on-boarding new employees
  • In a survey of senior executives by Harvard Business Review, 32pc of them rated their own on-boarding experience as poor
  • A structured on-boarding process has been shown to increase new employee retention by 25pc and increase productivity by 11pc
  • 69pc of employees are likely to stay with a company for three years or longer if they experience a great on-boarding experience
  • The total cost of replacing an employee including the cost of hiring, lost productivity and training is estimated to be 200 to 300pc of their salary
  • The above figures demonstrate the overwhelming value of effective on-boarding, and yet 35pc of companies still admit to spending nothing on the on-boarding process, and only 10pc say that they periodically review their on-boarding procedure.

What is on-boarding?

On-boarding can be described as the process of integrating a new employee into an organisation, enabling them to adjust to the social and performance aspects of the job quickly and smoothly. The on-boarding process also introduces the new hire to the company mission and values, and familiarises them with the attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviours required for them to effectively contribute to the organisation.

A well-designed on-boarding program helps establish role clarity, job satisfaction and organisational commitment, thereby reducing staff turnover.

For the employee, it minimises the stress and anxiety often encountered in the process of moving jobs.

What should an effective on-boarding process comprise?

For an on-boarding process to be considered effective, it should include the following components:

Provision of tools – Nothing says welcome to a new employee better than a new workplace that fulfils all their initial needs. The reality in many businesses is far different, and the first day of employment may be cluttered with last-minute activities which should have been completed well beforehand.

Introductions  – An email introducing the new employee to the immediate team (and beyond) prior to starting work will not only open communication channels with other organisational stakeholders, but will also convey to the new employee that they are a valued team member. The email should include the new employee’s name, details of their role and associated responsibilities. It should also provide information such as their qualifications, experience and any personal details that may be of interest. Personal introductions to team members and relevant stakeholders should also be undertaken as soon as possible.

Assignment of responsibility – Responsibility for on-boarding should be assigned to a particular person. This is often the immediate supervisor, a member of the HR team (if your business has one), a co-worker, or a nominated mentor or ‘buddy’ who has the appropriate organisational knowledge.

Administrative – An information pack for new employees can be extremely useful and should include the position description, employment contract and other relevant documents that need to be completed, such as those concerning tax and superannuation. Ideally, these should be provided well before the new employee’s commencement date.

Skills – It is frequently the case that new hires do not immediately have all the skills and knowledge required to perform the role. It is a good idea to evaluate the skills gap at the commencement of employment and to agree on a strategy to remedy this.

Culture – A company’s organisational culture is a system of shared values and beliefs that guide how team members behave within the organisation. Educate the new hire in this culture early on, and help them understand the company’s direction.

Continuation of on-boarding – A common mistake organisations make is to assume on-boarding is complete within the first few weeks of employment. Australian hiring managers say that it can take up to five months for new employees to independently and successfully manage their responsibilities. Review meetings should continue regularly for the first few months. These can then be scheduled less regularly for up to 12 months after commencement or longer, and eventually replaced by performance reviews in which two-way communication is encouraged.

Today’s employees have a desire to be connected to their jobs, to their managers and to their company. If these ties are not fostered and nurtured, a new employee is more likely to seek other opportunities elsewhere.

On-boarding is a prime opportunity for employers to win the hearts and minds of new employees. Don’t waste this important opportunity by undervaluing the on-boarding process, and under-allocating resources.


Source: Agricultural Appointments. For further information on Future Skill Hot Spots in Agriculture and Other Major Future Challenges in the Industry, download a free copy of Agricultural Appointments’ “Agribusiness Trends and Salary Report 2020”.




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