Onboarding Process - The Ultimate Guide

Andy Agouridis Talent acquisition

Onboarding may sound like a transactional activity, but it is actually a crucial aspect of any organization's human resources strategy. Apart from setting the tone for employees’ entire experience at the company, it also helps them understand their role and how it contributes to the organization's success. So, it’s essential to make onboarding fun, engaging, and, most importantly, effective.

The importance of effective onboarding cannot be overstated. A study by Brandon Hall Group found that companies with a structured onboarding process can increase new hire retention by over 80% and productivity by more than 70%. Conversely, poor onboarding can lead to new employees being more likely to leave in the first year of being hired. 

So, how can you make sure that your onboarding process is up to snuff? Well, it should start from the moment your new employee walks through the door of your company. You should make them feel welcomed, informed, supported, and prepared to hit the ground running from day one. In this article, we’ll share eight tips on how you can effectively onboard your new employees and make them feel pumped and ready to conquer the world. So, let’s dive in!

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What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is like a first date – it's your chance to make a good first impression and show off your company's best qualities. It's the process of introducing your new employees to your company's culture, policies, and values and setting them up for success in their new role. Think of it as your opportunity to showcase your business as the place where your new hires can grow in their careers while also getting them up to speed with their job duties.

While onboarding often includes logistical tasks like setting up devices and going over health benefits, it's so much more than that. It's a chance for you to set clear goals and measures for success, introduce your new hires to their colleagues, and provide them with the necessary resources and training to succeed. By implementing a buddy system, introducing the team, and providing a tour, you can help your new hire feel welcomed and supported, ultimately leading to a more positive onboarding experience. Remember, your new hire's onboarding experience plays a significant role in shaping their perception of your organization and their willingness to stay in the long term, so it’s crucial to make it a great one.

Employee onboarding checklist

1. Establish expectations 

During the onboarding process, clearly outlining the expectations for new employees is like giving them a roadmap to success. It helps them understand their role and navigate their way toward meeting the company's goals and objectives. This clear communication can also prevent any misunderstandings and keep everyone on the same page. In addition, it’s important to ensure that new hires feel like they are part of the team by sharing the company's mission, values, and culture with them. Providing regular feedback and check-ins can help them stay on track and make improvements where needed, ultimately leading to their success and the company's success.

2. Introduce the team 

Bringing a new employee on board is like adding a new member to the family. It's important to make them feel welcome and introduce them to everyone. One of the simple and effective ways to do this is by sending an introduction email to your team and other relevant departments in the company. It doesn't have to be formal - add some personality and make it fun! Including the new hire's name, official start date, job title, and a brief description of their role is crucial. But, you can also include some interesting details about the new hire, such as their favorite hobbies or guilty pleasure snacks. This helps the team to connect with the new employee and break the ice before they even start.

Now here comes day one at work - an exciting moment for every new hire. No matter what their role is, they should be welcomed with open arms and celebrated like a rockstar. After all, who doesn’t love a little celebration? However, there is no need for anything fancy. A simple get-together at your office or team lunch can do the trick. The key is to do something special for their first day and give them the opportunity to get to know their coworkers away from their desks. New employees who feel appreciated and excited about their work are more likely to stay loyal and thrive in their new job.

3. Set up IT

When it comes to onboarding new employees, it’s not just about welcoming them with open arms - it's also about setting them up for success. And that means making sure they have the right tools to get the job done. In today’s digital age, that equates to providing new employees with the necessary hardware and software to be productive and effective in their roles. Doing so also sends a message that the company values their work and is committed to helping them reach their full potential.

Getting new hires up and running with the necessary tech tools doesn't have to be a daunting task. With careful planning and attention to their specific needs, it can be a smooth and stress-free process. First, make sure you know exactly what software and hardware they need for their role, and have it all set up and ready to go before they even arrive. You can also arrange a dedicated IT orientation to give new employees a head start in getting familiar with the company's tech systems and software.

4. Train on policies and procedures

When it comes to company policies, procedures, and protocols, it's important to lay out the ground rules for new employees from the get-go. This might include everything from dress codes to acceptable social media practices to the ins and outs of office behavior. Learning these early on can help prevent misunderstandings that could lead to awkward situations or miscommunications down the road.

To ensure all bases are covered, conduct a formal HR training program for new employees that includes a look at the company’s policies and procedures. During the discussion, HR can explain these policies in detail and answer any questions or concerns they may have. You can also provide resources, such as manuals and brochures that outline key policies and practices for them to refer to over the course of their employment with the company.

5. Orientation

A new hire orientation is a part of the overall onboarding process designed not only to give new employees a warm welcome but also to communicate how the organization works. This involves providing them with an overview of the company, including its history, goal, and structure. Making this process seamless and hassle-free for new hires can go a long way toward ensuring an easy transition and help them better understand how their role fits into the bigger picture of the company's goals and objectives.

Of course, an orientation wouldn’t be complete without an office tour. This will give the new employee a good overview of the workplace and let them see how the company works in general. Don’t forget to give them a chance to ask questions and share any concerns they may have during orientation. This open communication shows that their thoughts and opinions matter and that the organization values their input, setting a positive tone for their time with the company.

6. Set a timeline

The saying “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” holds true in so many ways, including onboarding new employees. If HR doesn’t plan and set a specific timeframe for onboarding, chances are something will fall through the cracks that could derail the entire process. This is especially true for large organizations where there are typically many moving parts and different departments that may need to be involved. A clear onboarding timeline provides a roadmap for new hires, helps them manage their workload more efficiently, and makes them more productive.

The best time to set a timeline is before a new employee’s first day at work. Proactive planning offers sufficient time to schedule everything effectively. In order to set a timeline, it is important to identify the key steps involved in the process, break them down into small stages, and estimate the time each step will take. Apart from this, you also need to take into account potential delays or roadblocks that may arise. Make sure that the timeline is practical and communicated to the new hire, so they know what to expect and can plan their time accordingly.

7. Assign a mentor

One of the most challenging parts of being a new hire is walking into an unfamiliar territory filled with unfamiliar people, making it easy for them to feel left out and isolated. Assigning a mentor to these newcomers can help ease that transition and provide them with a support system when they need it the most. Additionally, early and frequent interactions with these mentors during onboarding can help your newest team members learn the ins and outs of the company faster and become more comfortable in their new roles.

When choosing a mentor, it’s best to think of people who already have experience within the company and have similar roles to the one being filled by the new employee. This will help the mentor provide more relevant guidance and support. Once you have identified potential mentors, introduce them to the new employee and explain their role in the onboarding process. Make sure to communicate expectations and provide clear guidelines for the mentoring relationship.

8. Discuss benefits

During the onboarding process, it’s important to discuss the benefits offered by the company and how the new employees can access them as needed. Having these discussions demonstrates the company’s commitment to the well-being and satisfaction of its employees, making them feel valued and supported. This, in turn, can increase their level of engagement and motivation, leading to improved performance and a higher retention rate.

When discussing benefits, be clear and concise. Provide new employees with an overview of the benefits available to them, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Make sure to explain the eligibility requirements, enrollment process, and any important deadlines. You should also provide employees with contact information for the benefits provider and answer any questions they may have.

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Andy Agouridis

Andy helps candidates and employers connect faster and better. Apart from being a Jobylon contributing writer and a Careers content creator. He has a background in HR with Fortune 100 businesses, holds an MSc in HRM, and is a Chartered member of the CIPD.

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