Though most companies realize the need for a structured onboarding process and have put effective steps in place to make sure the onboarding experience is a successful one, there are always methods to get better at it, through some well thought out initiatives.

While the importance of employee onboarding cannot be overstated, many companies don’t get it right. This initiation phase of employees is directly related to the overall productivity, engagement, and retention in a company.

While great care is taken to source, screen, and get the perfect fit for a role, the process of employee onboarding often goes in a rush. Teams, deadlines, and targets push the employee to quickly get onboard, and often very little care is taken to initiate the employee into his role. The process of transition and initiation is either rushed or done more by default than design. If the employee is left in the lurch, having to figure it out by himself, disengagement starts right there. We provide steps the organizations should take towards designing a successful onboarding program.

  • Compliance

Be ready to educate new hires of the organization’s policy-related rules and regulations. From a policy viewpoint, there are many factors that go into the determination of an organization’s policies, including statutory and regulatory requirements or organizational practices. Post Covid-19, the health and safety regulations pertaining to the new hire are paramount. Under federal law, new hires are entitled to a safe workplace. The business must provide a workplace that guarantees the safety of all its employees by putting in place adequate social distancing measures and by providing masks, sanitizers, and thermal scanners. It’s great to have a checklist in place so that the HR department covers all information that a new hire might need to be aware of on the day of joining. Also, ensure they sign off on Form I-9, Form W4, Federal and State tax forms as well as confidentiality agreements, NDA, and non-solicitation agreements.

  • Connect

Send the new hire a personalized welcome letter from the CEO and a special gift on day one. A new hire’s manager should also schedule a team lunch as it helps to calm the nerves and the new hire gets to interact with peers in an informal environment. Assign new hires to a mentor and buddy and set up meetings with team members. It is vital that the new hires establish social connections within the organization and there is a platform available to get access to other employees. New hires should also be able to communicate and connect with HR to address any issues. Make certain that the new hires are acquainted with the organization hierarchy and connect with the different departments within the company. A mentor’s role becomes very critical is ensuring that the new hire gets the right guidance at the very offset.

  • Competence

Ensure new hires attend the required training programs so that they acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to excel. Jumpstart a new hire’s performance in their new role by equipping them with all the needed tools. This enables them to be productive and on top of their game. From a manager’s point of view, a new hire can’t come up to speed fast enough. Balancing the employee’s need to acquire the right skills for the job and the goal to have him be productive right away is a catch-22 situation for any time-bound manager.

  • Culture

A new hire coming onboard doesn’t necessarily know the culture of your organization. Customize the new hire portal to reflect the company culture. Ensure new hire gets hold of the employee handbook and make it a priority to include details such as new hire safety, benefits, career development, equal opportunity, and anti-harassment policies. This way the new hire gets a glimpse into the culture at the very beginning. A new hire should be immersed into your organization’s culture during the onboarding program. The new hire should get familiar with the company vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, environment, location, beliefs, and habits to successfully acclimate. New hires should learn and embrace the new organizational culture as soon as possible. Poor fit with the culture is the no. 1 cause of new hire failure.

  • Clarify

Ensure that new hires understand their role and expectations of the management. HR and hiring managers should also be able to address any issues or misunderstandings. Key performance indicators and key performance areas should be clearly laid out from the beginning. New hires need to be aware of expectations around job performance, how their work will be evaluated, and performance appraisal handled. Also, provide access to the resource center where new hires can gain the know-how regarding job description, organizational hierarchy, as well as process and culture.

  • Check

Check-in and see how your new hire is doing from time to time.   Schedule a meeting with HR to understand their concerns, and find pragmatic solutions. During the new hire’s first few months use questionnaires and surveys to get relevant feedback.

Be open to suggestions, make changes that can be accommodated. Gather responses from the employee with regard to his “settling in” – in the organization. Review the new hire performance and provide reports on specific tasks. Provide relevant observations – regularly and consistently. Review performance and development goals. Facilitate one on one meetings with managers, skip-level managers, and HR. Review the employee with the assigned buddy for feedback.