Creating an Onboarding Process

Employee being taken through the onboarding process

Companies hiring new employees expect candidates to deliver a great first impression. But what first impressions will new hires have of your business based on your onboarding process? Every business has the responsibility to provide great employee experiences if they hope to have long-term retention and lasting, loyal relationships.

Creating an onboarding process will help new hires learn the operational ropes and feel like they are part of a cohesive team. As many businesses prepare to rehire and bolster their workforce, now is the time to get your onboarding ready.

It’s important not to lose track of the details, especially now that companies are mixing on-site and remote employees. Unfortunately, many companies are falling short with onboarding. According to The Aberdeen Group:

  • 81% of HR administrators feel their company doesn’t do onboarding well
  • Only 32% of organizations have formal onboarding programs
  • 76% of employees want on-the-job training during their first week
  • 56% of employees said they’d like to have a buddy during onboarding

Where does your onboarding process rank against these statistics? Best-in-class companies are more likely to begin the new hire onboarding process before day one. Many of these businesses utilize online training portals (especially for remote workers) to introduce new hires to the company culture. This creates more familiarity with the onboarding content before they even come into the office.

But why does it even matter? Well, in past studies, The Aberdeen Group found that new hires were 54% more productive and their retention rates were 50% better at businesses that standardize their onboarding. And if employees are your number one investment, that’s an important fact to keep in mind.

Start Onboarding Before Day 1

The onboarding process starts on a new hire’s start day… False! Creating an onboarding process requires you to make the employee experience as seamless as possible. The goal is to help them feel welcomed and empowered to succeed in their new role.

Welcome them Aboard

After a new hire accepts an offer, be sure to send them a welcome email. The content should outline important information regarding their first day to eliminate any unnecessary anxiety or confusion. Here are a few things to consider including in your email:

  • Your company address
  • Floor number, if applicable
  • Who they should ask for upon arrival
  • Key card information
  • Parking directions
  • Employee handbook
  • Mission/vision statements
  • Company social media

This will help your new hires establish expectations and familiarize themselves with your culture. The email can also cover next steps in the onboarding process so they can be on the lookout for follow up information.

Completing the Paperwork

Although paperwork is a requirement for new hire onboarding, it shouldn’t overwhelm the new hire on the first day. In our digital age, much of the documentation can be collected and accounts created before they start.

This is where online training portals come in handy. You can securely gather information and give initial training to help your new hire hit the ground running. Nothing is worse than spending your first day of work stuck in a room signing a bunch of documents. It’s isolating and awkward. That’s why completing these forms online prior to coming into the office allows them to focus on adjusting to their new role.

Create Internal Training and Communication

It’s going to be important to get your new team member involved with all your communication channels. Invite them to join your company’s Slack, Salesforce, Jira, Asana or any other software they’ll need access to. And of course, provide instructions for accessing your company’s online training portal. They can get a head start on your policies, processes, and other differentiators. This will save time and allow employees to prepare for their first day.

Prepare their Workspace

Put yourself in the new hire’s shoes. They are in a new environment, with new people, and new responsibilities. It can be uncomfortable and awkward to try and find or set up their work station. Where applicable, make sure you’ve prepared the following before the new employee arrives:

  • Laptops and monitors set up
  • Office supplies readily available at their desk
  • Business cards
  • Parking passes
  • Swag items like tumblers, shirts, hats, etc.

Also make sure their payroll and other important databases are set up. If the new hire is a remote employee, ensure the IT department is ready to provide any necessary assistance.

Prepare your Team

Help make your new hires feel right at home right from the start. Inform your team, department, or company about your new team member and encourage them to introduce themselves. You can even have your new hire fill out a questionnaire and send the results to everyone to provide topics to help break the ice.

New Hire First Week

Create a schedule for the new hire on their first week. Determine team members they should have one-on-ones with, and identify other relevant departments that may require a meeting. It can also help the new hire feel more integrated with the team if you have the supervisor helping with their onboarding responsibilities, instead of only HR.

Getting them Comfortable

New hires have a lot of new information to process when they start with a new company. Don’t pressure them to jump right into their responsibilities as soon as they walk through the door. Give them a tour of the office and introduce them to the team. Also give them time to review their schedule, read over policies, and come up with any questions.

The first day needs to be completely focused on interacting with your new hires. Don’t let emails, phone calls or other tasks distract you from this objective. Make sure they feel important and valued from the get go. This will help them feel more comfortable asking questions about their specific role and responsibilities. Studies have shown that companies lose $37 billion each year because employees don’t fully understand their jobs. So make sure to be clear about those responsibilities and expectations.

A New Hire’s First Project

Orientation takes a lot of time and effort, but it shouldn’t be the only thing a new hire does during their first week. Identify and prepare a manageable project your new hire can jump into. Sometimes the best thing to do is get them working to get them adjusted and productive. It’s okay to start with a smaller project that will give them a quick win. This builds a strong foundation of confidence as they move forward.

Continue to support, document and embed training throughout the first week. Make sure you have established timelines to check in on their goals and progress. Staying involved will help them feel like they have someone to reach out to as they continually adapt.

Nurturing New Hires

Integrating a new hire into your team won’t stop after their first day. Employees are still trying to adjust and evaluate their fit within the company for months after being hired. And in many cases, when onboarding hasn’t been done well, people quit their job within the first six months.

Work with your new hire’s manager to create a path for milestones, goals and check-ins. Keeping the new hire motivated and busy will give them purpose and a sense of accomplishment to keep them engaged. An easy way to improve the new hire process is to provide organized, relevant and well-timed training content.

Yes, it takes careful preparation and coordination to get new hire’s up to speed. But when you invest your time and energy into creating an onboarding process, it always pays off in the long run. If you’re looking for an HR software to better manage your remote workforce or onboarding process, see how we can help.

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