Onboarding employees is a vital cog in the hiring process. With an effective onboarding strategy in place, you can integrate new hires into your company culture and provide them with the resources they need to succeed in their job. It’s essential if you’d like to retain employees, reduce turnover and maximize productivity.
By following these onboarding best practices, you can ensure your new hires get the jumpstart they deserve.
Preboard New Hires
Preboarding is the process of starting an employee’s onboarding experience before their first day. It can get them prepared for their new job, keep them focused and help them to be productive from day one. This is the perfect time for you to send them some company swag, such as a pen, bag, water bottle, or notepad with your company logo, for example, and encourage them to ask any questions they might have. Also, send them the onboarding schedule via email so they know what to expect on day one.
Get Paperwork Done Early
It’s a good idea to give your new hires a head start on administrative tasks, such as creating a company email address or completing HR paperwork so that their first day is not consumed by filling out documents. Some examples of paperwork you may want to encourage them to work on before they start may include:
- Tax forms
- Direct deposit forms
- Company-specific forms
- Noncompete or nondisclosure agreements
- Employee handbook acknowledgment forms
If possible, let your new employees complete these forms electronically so they don’t have to deal with the hassle of printing them and filling them out manually.
Give Out a Welcome Package
While welcome packages aren’t required, they can create a positive first impression and let the new hire know that you care. You can send them a laptop, a company mug, or a mouse pad, for example, or get innovative and send out cookies or other sweet treats with your logo. Whatever you do, make sure your welcome packages reflect your company culture. Send them out via mail as soon as candidates accept their offers.
Involve Team Members in the Process
Successful onboarding is a collaborative effort, meaning it involves a variety of team members, not just hiring managers and the HR department. Make sure that team members, other employees, managers, supervisors, and even senior management are aware of the new hire’s joining and their role within the company setup. New hires will feel more at ease and acclimatized to your company when they know where they fit in and when they are given a chance to connect with other team members.
Assign a Buddy
When new hires are paired with a buddy who they regularly meet on a weekly or monthly basis, they’ll have someone to turn to for advice, questions, and concerns. Choose buddies who are positive role models and are excited to show new employees the ropes. Ideally, they’d be colleagues rather than direct managers or supervisors so that newbies feel comfortable asking them about the culture and team. Your buddy program can be as formal or as informal as you’d like.
Incorporate Job Shadowing
There’s no better way for new hires to understand how your company works than to shadow a variety of employees. If they work in marketing, for example, it might make sense for them to spend a few hours shadowing sales representatives in your call center. By exposing new employees to different departments, they’ll be better equipped to perform their jobs. Shadowing may also make it easier for them to meet all types of team members.
Make the First Day Exciting
A new employee’s first day should be fun and informative at the same time. You don’t want them to spend eight hours filling out paperwork and sitting through lectures. But you also want to ensure they learn something and are better prepared to start their job. Here are some tips to ensure their first day is a success.
- Set up their workstation or desk with their ID badges, passwords, handbooks, a map of the building and anything else that will make their life easier on day one.
- Arrange a nice lunch out with the team.
- Send out a company-wide email that introduces the new employee.
- Give a first-day gift.
Don’t hesitate to ask new hires for feedback about their first day. This information can give you some valuable insight into how to plan your first days going forward.
Company values and expectations vary widely from company to company. That’s why it’s your job to clearly set expectations for your new hire at your organization. While doing so, use concrete examples from past employees and be specific with numbers or data as vague statements will only confuse new hires. By setting expectations right at the start, your new team members will be more likely to achieve success.
Stay True to Your Culture
At the end of the day, most employees care about more than just their compensation. They’d like to work at a company with a great culture. A positive culture can keep them engaged, motivated, and productive. That’s why it’s important to showcase your company’s culture throughout the onboarding process. Share your organization’s history as well as its mission statement and values. Highlight what makes it unique and why some of your longest employees have been so loyal.
Ease them into their role
Let’s be honest. Nobody wants to start their first days or weeks overwhelmed or anxious at a new job. To keep new hires happy and increase their chances of success, assign tasks with the expectation that it will take maybe three or six months to be fully functional in their role
If things are going well, slowly but surely increase the level of responsibility that comes with each task. During this time, check in with new hires often to address any issues and make changes to their task list as needed.
Check In Regularly
Onboarding doesn’t end once your new employees have filled out their paperwork, met the team and completed training. It’s an ongoing process that requires weekly, monthly or quarterly check-ins. These check-ins serve as an opportunity to sit down with them to ensure they’re comfortable and happy.
Don’t forget to acknowledge any of their contributions and ask them if they need additional training or support. Regular check-ins can mean the difference between a long-term, productive employee and one who quits early on.
Involve Senior Leaders
Even though new hires may not interact with senior leaders often, it’s important that they know who they’re working for. Do your best to involve senior team members in the onboarding process as much as possible.
They may give a tour of your building, take employees out to lunch, give a brief overview of the company’s history, or even conduct a required training session. New employees will feel good if they know that superiors are making time for them during their first days and weeks on the job.
While a structured, well-planned onboarding strategy is not a bad thing, it should have scope for some flexibility. Let’s say a new hire is unable to visit your office for in-person onboarding at the last minute. In this case, you’ll want to provide them with a remote option.
Also, if you notice new hires need some time to relax after an intense training session, you may want to move the next training to the next day or week.
Evaluate Your Onboarding Process
Your onboarding process is not set in stone. In fact, it’s highly likely that you’ll change it from time to time. Actively seek feedback from your current employees through regular surveys or conversations so you know what you’re doing well and where you can improve.
Continue to enhance the way you onboard and don’t be afraid to completely revamp your process as your company evolves over time.