Employee Onboarding: Process, Definition & Best Practices
Employee onboarding is a crucial step in the hiring process, but it can be hard to do well. The onboarding process should make new hires feel like they’re part of your team from day one and help them hit the ground running.
But many companies don’t have an effective plan for this important phase, which means that their new employees aren’t getting off to a good start and as a result, might not stay long-term.
This guide will show you how to set up an employee-friendly onboarding program that benefits your company in the long term with tips for making each phase successful and easy to repeat with new, future hires. It’s packed full of advice on how to create an easy transition into your business so all of your staff can get straight down to work.
What is Employee Onboarding? Definition & Meaning
Employee Onboarding is the process of making sure new employees are ready to work.
People might need help with their computers or getting to know the office. This is important because people who are not well boarded might leave after a short time. Moreover, this is critical for making sure that new hires are up-to-date on the company’s policies, procedures, and best practices.
When onboarding is handled effectively, it can make a big difference in maintaining your company’s morale, productivity, and culture.
Employee Onboarding – Why is Crucially Important & List of 13 Benefits
Employee onboarding is important for many reasons. Let’s have a look at some of these benefits:
- Increases Retention
- Boosts Productivity
- Increases Employee Morale
- Helps set up the new employee for success
- Makes Wanted Employees Feel Welcome & Valued
- Enhances Corporate Culture
- Prevents Gaps in Knowledge Transfer
- Leverages a New Hire to Build Relationships with Key Contacts
- Keeps Company Information Secure
- Helps Organizational Change Management
- Provides Mentoring Opportunities
- Puts the New Employee on a Path toward Success
- Avoid Employee Burnout And Loss Of Enthusiasm
Process & Strategies for Employee Onboarding
Let’s now look at the process required to create an effective onboarding process.
Know the new hire’s willingness to learn
It is important to know this to understand what type of training and induction process you should implement. Also, be sure to ask the new hire what they expect from their role and how you can help them.
Get them up to speed on company policies
Company policies can sometimes seem overwhelming to a new employee, so being able to respond quickly with organized information is key in this situation.
You should have a list of company policies or documents that employees are required to read upon joining your organization, as well as any necessary training sessions that need to be completed.
This way, you know exactly where each individual stands regarding company procedures and can address any concerns or questions immediately.
Give them tasks that fit their skillset
For a new employee to feel productive and useful right away, you must give them tasks that suit their skillset. For example, if you hired a programmer, don’t make them answer the phones – instead, assign them tasks that need to be completed with code.
Answer any questions they might have
You must dedicate some time to answering all of your employee’s queries about their role and the company as a whole. This way, they feel more comfortable being able to ask you anything without fearing judgment or an awkward conversation.
The key is not only finding things your new hire wants answers to but also how to find those answers for them promptly. You can do this by creating an online resource for employees where answers are already provided so they don’t have to come directly to you for information.
If you do offer questions and answers sessions, don’t forget to take note of any concerns or suggestions your employees might have.
Introduce them to team members and colleagues
Your new hires are now part of the company. To make them feel more at home, you must introduce them to any other team members they may interact with frequently.
This allows your new employee to feel valued by their peers while also familiarizing themselves with anyone who will be a direct colleague.
Introductions can include both formal and informal ones – for example, a department head could formally introduce a new hire during a weekly meeting while an individual colleague could chat over a cup of coffee about their role on the team.
It’s also worth noting that if your organization has a culture that embraces informal meetings, you could suggest employees just chat informally about various details in their day-to-day roles.
Offer guidance on how they can improve in their current role
After your new hire has become accustomed to the company structure and policies, it’s now time for them to set goals for themselves. You should be offering any guidance they need regarding what they can do next to improve and take advantage of their skillset.
Setting goals allows them to work towards something while keeping track of what needs improving – this is also very useful when performance reviews come around.
It’s important not to forget that different employees will have different ideas or processes for meeting high standards. The key is finding out and providing any resources that can help them improve.
Provide opportunities for skill feedback, goal setting, and career advice
Many companies recognize that ongoing training and development is crucial to making employees feel fulfilled or valued by their role.
Providing an employee evaluation, skills feedback, goal setting assistance, and career advice allow your new hires to continuously grow as an individual while still being part of the company.
You could consider cash bonuses or even non-monetary rewards such as extra days off. The key here is finding benefits that are suitable for both you and your employee – if they do well but are unsatisfied with their role then it will be difficult to keep them motivated.
Create a template for success
You should aim to create an employee onboarding checklist that you use each time someone joins your organization. The intention behind this is to provide employees with the necessary information for them to succeed in their roles, whether it be tips on how to complete day-to-day tasks or what next steps they need to take to reach their goals.
Also, this checklist will come in handy during the performance review process by giving you and your employees insight into how they can further improve based on previous preferences or suggestions.
Best Practices & Examples for Employee Onboarding
Many companies use a mix of these techniques to successfully welcome new hires into their workplace. Although it’s important to remember that different employees will have varying preferences, it’s also crucial that you establish your company as a whole as being open-minded and welcoming towards all.
Example 1: Introducing New Employees To Others
On her first day, Zoe was introduced face-to-face by her manager to her colleagues who explained how she’d be working closely with them throughout the first week of her career.
Afterward, Zoe was shown around the office and introduced to whoever she hadn’t already met. She was also given a tour of the building which included explaining where she could eat lunch or relax on her breaks.
Although it’s common for new hires to have face-to-face introductions during their first day, you could allow employees to introduce themselves any time they feel most comfortable. This includes introducing new members at events, organizing coffee catch-ups, or even sharing information via email or Slack messaging.
Example 2: Introducing New Employees To The Company Structure & Policies
Ana was provided with an employee training program that gave her all the necessary information about how HR operates at her new company.
This included how to go through the onboarding process, what information she needs from other departments, and where to find documents such as job descriptions.
She was also given a tour of the office which showed her where she could keep personal items, as well as where meetings or work-related discussions would take place.
To start this process, we recommend that you hold an informal meeting with your employees either individually or in small groups to discuss their experience with the company thus far and answer any questions they may have about factors like communication policies.
Some further points to consider
Keep their schedule tightly structured at the beginning
The last thing you want a new employee to feel is overwhelming. As a result, it’s often best to have a structured schedule for their first week. This includes organizing an overview of what they’ll be expected to do and when they’ll do it so that nothing is too vague or unexpected.
You should also consider having them submit a list of questions that they may have about their role which you can then answer at a later time.
Provide Employees With Individualized Feedback
Although it’s beneficial to have employees meet with their managers regularly, this isn’t always possible. As such, it’s good practice to ensure that your new hires receive feedback from both you and their peers so that they can get more of an insight into what works well within the company culture.
This allows them to learn about themselves while also demonstrating how their colleagues work together during meetings or projects. As many of you may know, there are tons of benefits associated with onboarding new employees.
These include increased productivity, decreased turnover rates, and an overall happier workforce just to name a few.
How to Improve Employee Onboarding Process & List of Techniques
A process is something that can always be made better. Employee onboarding is no different.
Here is a list of techniques that can be used to improve your onboarding process.
Do something special for your new hires
Everyone likes to receive a gift. Even if it’s small, doing something special for your new hires will help them feel welcomed into the company culture.
You can do anything from giving them branded swag to inviting them out for lunch after they’ve settled in.
Give them an overview of their responsibilities & goals
Before you dive right into training, make sure that your employees are aware of what is expected of them and why this is important to the company as a whole.
This will give them a sense of accomplishment each time they complete an assignment or meet their goals.
Encourage collaboration among teammates by including everyone in the onboarding process
New hires tend to have similar questions no matter what role they are being hired for. To avoid having the same questions asked repeatedly while also ensuring that everyone feels included, encourage your employees to meet with their new hires.
This doesn’t have to be a formal process, even something as simple as an email chain will suffice.
Showcase company culture through virtual or in-person tours
Showing off the office has never been easier thanks to technology. Even if you don’t have time for a physical tour, take your new hires through your website where they can get all of the information they need about what it’s like to work at your company.
Educate new employees on how to communicate effectively & professionally
You would never want one of your co-workers coming into a meeting without fully understanding the guidelines for being professional.
They are the face of your company so they need to know how to behave. Make this process easier on yourself by educating your new hires about these guidelines during their onboarding period.
Keep track of feedback between managers & employees
There are times when feedback needs to be given quickly before things spiral out of control. However, this becomes difficult when your managers and employees aren’t communicating.
Keep track of feedback between both parties by sending out a weekly reminder to managers to check in with their direct reports. This will help you address issues faster and ensure that they don’t get worse over time.
How Automating Employee Onboarding Can Lead to a Lower Turnover Rate
The turnover rate among U.S. employees is around 22%. A company’s most important resource is its people. Employee dissatisfaction significantly increases the risk for poor performance, decreased productivity, higher healthcare premiums, increased customer complaints, and loss of key talent.
Automation can help combat employee dissatisfaction by providing an efficient, standardized, and streamlined experience for your employees. Employee Onboarding can be automated with the implementation of workflow automation software.
This solution will enable you to set up the processes and rules that trigger automated actions, with no assistance from IT. This can help your HR department manage all aspects of employee onboarding efficiently while also creating a positive experience for employees.
By automating the more repetitive tasks of your employee onboarding process, HR professionals can instead focus on more strategic and valuable things for their company.
Here are several benefits of automating the employee onboarding workflow:
- Save time & money by taking human error out of manual processes
- Reduce reliance on paper-based methods increasing accountability and accuracy
- Ensure an accurate and complete record of each new hire’s data such as contact details, benefits enrollment, payroll setup, etc.
- Managing compliance reporting and tracking, avoiding unnecessary risks
- Customizing individual onboarding procedures for each new hire’s specific requirements including state-specific processes
- Implementing custom enrollment checklists, workflows for benefits setup & payroll management
- Performing performance reviews at regular intervals through automated reminders
What are Employee Onboarding and Offboarding Checklists?
In general, onboarding is the process of welcoming or integrating new employees into a company. It generally focuses on the process of orienting them to the company’s culture, procedures and policies.
During orientation, there is often some setup that needs to be done such as setting up meeting reminders for their new boss and getting acquainted with the IT department.
Offboarding refers to letting an employee know when they will be leaving your company and how it goes from being a member of your team to being a past employee.
Details will vary from company to company but oftentimes involve ending the employment, handing in access cards and security badges, returning any company property (e.g., cell phone), collecting final paychecks, etc.
Employee Onboarding Checklist
The following list is a starting point for your onboarding process. You can tailor this to suit your company’s needs and add items that make sense for your business.
Employee onboarding checklist:
- Welcome letter and company overview
- Job Description and role
- HR Policies (e.g., time in/out, leaves of absence, sick days)
- Employee handbook including all other policies, procedures & benefits information
- Introduce new hire to the team(s) they will work with
- A brief tour of facilities or open access lab/office space if applicable
- Initial equipment set up (laptop, smartphone, access card, etc.)
- 1:1 with key managers
- Set up benefits enrollment (insurance, retirement accounts)
- New hire onboarding orientation
- Provide informal feedback session
Employee Offboarding Checklist
The following list is a starting point for your offboarding process. Again, this can be tailored to suit your company’s needs and add items that make sense for your business.
- Provide farewell lunch or dinner with the team, if appropriate
- Connect with main referral sources to offer support and answer questions
- Transfer any outstanding tasks or projects to a colleague
- Complete the process of turning in access cards/badges, parking passes, etc.
- Update contact information in relevant HR systems (e.g., address change), if applicable
- Organize & return all company property including laptops, cell phones
- Collect performance feedback
- Close any open work tickets/projects (if applicable)
Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Onboarding
How to Speed Up the Onboarding Process?
Speeding up the onboarding process depends on the organization and there are no standard or universal techniques to help you eliminate or reduce time-consuming tasks.
Some organizations implement hiring processes that make sure all documentation is prepared in advance and cover potential issues in the interview process. Other organizations prefer a more flexible approach and let managers prepare for new hires after they have been hired.
How to Make Onboarding More Efficient?
An efficient onboarding process has the following characteristics:
- Completeness (if something is missing or unclear, employees will be stuck and leave it unresolved)
- Consistency (in most cases, HR processes are very rigid and efforts to make them more flexible result in disorganization and chaos with no clear workflow)
What is Included in Employee Onboarding?
The most important things to include in an employee onboarding are:
- A checklist of key tasks and responsibilities during the first month (e.g., create an account for Slack, enter timesheet)
- Clear task distribution (new hire gets one person to help them during the early stages while managers check in on progress). This can be organized by HR or performed automatically with an employee onboarding software.
- Coordinating meetings to discuss goals and come up with an employee development plan
What is Employee Onboarding as a Service?
Employee onboarding as a service lets you take advantage of ready-made templates and ensure consistent implementation without spending much time on research or customization.
Some companies offer help with setting goals, customizing workflows and internal communication, entering HR data like insurance claims, and many more.
If you choose to go this path, make sure the provider offers the features that will help speed up your process without adding too much workload for managers or wasting money by not using all options provided.
Overall Conclusion Of Employee Onboarding Process
In conclusion, the process of employee retention is highly complex and there are no universal solutions for all companies. Even so, it’s important to revisit your company goals and process every once in a while to measure results and ensure the plan you designed is working.
Employee retention is highly affected by the initial onboarding process. That’s why you should make it as simple and efficient as possible for new hires to get started.
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