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Should HR or Hiring Managers Conduct Employee Hiring and Onboarding?

Should HR or Hiring Managers Conduct Employee Hiring and Onboarding?

For a growing organization, hiring and onboarding new hires is a big responsibility and team effort. How well you onboard employees plays a key role in your employee retention efforts. This year more than ever, how well you onboard could impact how well you’re able to prevent—or withstand—turnover. That being said, who should be responsible for employee onboarding within your organization?


Why is Hiring and Onboarding Important Right Now?

A recent SHRM article reported that studies show “as many as half of workers intend to look for a new job” in 2021. One reason for this, like many workplace trends in 2020, was the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic shifted work operations and threatened job security, some workers stayed at jobs that they were hoping to leave. As more vaccines are distributed and workplaces start to recover and return to a new normal in 2021, employees might resume their job searches.

According to SHRM, employee turnover can be as high as 50% in the first 18 months of employment. And first impressions matter. A Gallup poll found that an employee’s perception of an organization begins with the individual’s very first interactions with the company, including the sourcing, recruiting, and onboarding processes.

Likewise, inefficient hiring processes put small- and mid-sized organizations at a disadvantage—quality hires are off the market too quickly for searching employers. Organizations will need to look at every opportunity—including the onboarding process—as a retention effort if they want to avoid a wave of turnover this year. How you onboard and introduce new employees to their roles, colleagues, and organization as a whole can make a lasting impact.


Who is Responsible for Recruiting and Hiring Job Applicants?

While hiring and onboarding are going to be co-owned by HR and hiring managers, most of the recruitment and interview duties will belong to hiring managers. Simply put, the hiring manager will be able to tell whether or not the applicant is a good fit for the role, since hiring managers will be working more closely with the applicant than HR. 

Hiring managers will also be able to answer questions the applicants might have about the role itself, what they’ll need to accomplish on a daily basis, and what skills they’ll need to develop to be an effective member of the team.


Should HR or Hiring Managers Do Employee Onboarding?

Ideally, onboarding should be a shared responsibility between HR and your management and leadership teams, with neither party bearing sole responsibility. 

Managers should be the ones actually working with new hires during the onboarding process while HR’s role should be to serve as quality assurance. This approach ensures onboarding success because HR’s oversight helps keep your entire organization on the same page and dedicated to creating an excellent new hire experience. 

There are some parts of the process that will more naturally fall to HR, like legal paperwork such as the I-9 and W-4 forms, but realistically, the hiring manager needs to play the biggest role in actually onboarding the new hire on their first day.


How to Organize Onboarding Responsibilities

A successful onboarding experience depends on defining responsibilities between HR and the hiring manager. That said, the parts of the onboarding process that can be owned by HR include: 

  1. Standardization and Compliance: Making sure the onboarding process is standardized ensures that the new hire experience is the same for all employees. Additionally, HR teams need to make sure that all of the required state and federal forms are distributed and filled out, direct deposits are set up, and background checks are done.
  2. Training Managers on Best Practices: This ensures everyone is on the same page when it comes to the most effective ways to onboard new employees. At BerniePortal, we’ve put together an entire document for managers that explains “How We Welcome New Team Members.” It includes everything from how we explain our mission to where to find the bathroom. 
  3. Creating and Executing an Onboarding Checklist: This helps support all of the above. Crafting and following a comprehensive checklist ensures a consistent, streamlined onboarding process for each new hire. It also allows HR pros to better track the work and time associated with bringing on new employees. This data gives the company an easier way to identify and address inefficiencies in existing onboarding processes.
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