How many new hires can say that they are just as excited to start their first day at work as they are to open a new package of the latest iPhone?
The onboarding process is often overlooked by employers. Just like a child needs nurturing in order to make better decisions later in life, a new employee needs to have a great experience being onboarded. This will ensure that they have the confidence and drive to perform their best.
As an employer, you will never lose by putting in the extra effort, it’ll only increase the performance of your employees. You should never make a new hire feel as if it’s either sink or swim in order to be successful.
We’ve included our best onboarding templates so that you can get started now.
Here are our best onboarding tips. Click to jump ahead:
- What is an onboarding process?
- Why does efficient onboarding matter?
- Steps in the onboarding process
- How to improve your onboarding process
- Onboarding remote workers
What is an onboarding process?
Onboarding is more than leaving a pile of papers to sign on the day they start, it’s about planning ahead and thinking from your new hire’s perspective.
Onboarding begins from the hiring process to fully settling into the new role. The first day of work is just a small indication of how successful your onboarding process is going.
Each year, 25% of the US population experiences some sort of career transition.
What are the steps in the onboarding process?
- Preparing new hire before starting day
- Training new hire for any tools used
- A thorough office orientation
- Meeting and connecting with team
- Evaluation of onboarding experience by new employee
Before you begin fleshing out your onboarding process, ask yourself some of these questions to figure out exactly how you envision your onboarding to look like:
- When will onboarding begin and how long will it last?
- What sort of impression do you wish to leave on your new hires’ first day?
- What role will different people play in onboarding?
- What goals will you set for a new employee?
- What is important for the new employee to know about the work culture?
- What information is important for the new employee to know and when?
Your onboarding process should reflect your company culture as well.
Pro Tip: If you want to avoid information overload, you can plan out your onboarding process by defining what the person needs to know and when – so you don’t give all the information to them at once and feel overwhelmed! A timeline infographic can help you communicate this.
Why does efficient onboarding matter
Employees who have a better experience with onboarding, will understand the company culture better, making them more aligned with the company, especially when making decisions. This will also help them to make stronger connections with others within the organization earlier, which will help them settle into their new role more comfortably.
When onboarding is done correctly, it has a multitude of benefits such as: higher job satisfaction, commitment to the organization, lower turnover rate, higher levels of performance, and less stress.
The more prepared a new employee feels, the more they will be motivated to perform well, it comes with confidence. Studies show that employees who experience an improved onboarding process perform two months faster than employees who are in a more traditional onboarding process.
Begin onboarding during recruiting phase
There is a fine line between onboarding and the hiring process. With a good onboarding process, the lines are blurred between the two.
New hires will get a good impression of your company during the recruiting phase. You want to ensure that it is seamless and comfortable for them, this will be a taste of what it will be like working at your organization.
Being thoughtful and welcoming during this stage will guarantee that you will attract top talent to your company. By taking the time to make this phase as smooth as possible, your onboarding process will already be better, recruiting is the stepping stone that onboarding builds on.
Here is a blog post that further expands on great recruiting tips from experts: 10 Hiring Experts Share Their Recruiting Tips [Infographic]
New Hire Needs
The socialization of your new hire is important, there are multiple levels of it. The 4 C’s:
Compliance – Teaching new hires the basics, rules and regulations
Clarification – Ensuring that your new hires understand the expectations of their job
Culture – Providing a sense of the company culture norms
Connection – Relationships that new hires must form with others
Using these 4 principles will allow you to start with a foundation to build on. These are the goals you are trying to achieve in your onboarding, and it will always begin with your new hire’s needs.
The more you focus on the 4 C’s in your onboarding process, the better your onboarding process will be.
Steps in the onboarding process
The first step to onboarding is preparing both parties for what to expect on the first day. It puts your new employees nerves at ease because they know exactly what to expect, no surprises or curve balls. This can start with an onboarding manual:
1. Send out email or slack message to the entire organization welcoming the new hire to the company.
You can ask the new hire to answer a few fun questions about themselves to make the greeting more personable.
2. Set up a new computer/laptop and have accounts set up and guides for new softwares to learn.
3. Create and prepare business cards.
Having business cards ready for your new employee will help make them feel prepared to represent themselves outside of the workplace and add some excitement. It also makes their new role feel more official.
4. Have a designated workspace with the new hire’s name on the desk.
This is like setting the table before your guests arrive. It lets the new hire know that you have been expecting them and that you are prepared for their arrival! It helps them to identify where they will sit and also gives a hint to other employees that there is a newbie in town and that’s where they will be sitting.
Having a direct onboarding plan after figuring out how your onboarding process will look like will help you be organized. Here are examples of onboarding plans/training checklists:
How to improve your onboarding process
Have new hires electronically sign any important documents before their first day
Get all the annoying paperwork out of the way – it gives HR more time to process. There is also less chasing involved and it lightens up the first day for more human contact and meetings – a more positive experience for everyone involved.
Welcome letter and messages on first day
Starting a new job can be nerve wracking. Making the new hire feel as welcome as possible is the responsibility of the employer. A welcome letter should include warmth, enthusiasm, and an introduction to the expectations.
First day information and tasks
Give new employees all the information you can regarding their first day at their new job. Starting a new job can be nerve-racking in itself, so it’s super helpful to aim at eliminating as much of the “unknown” about their new environment as you can. This can include information like when to arrive, an agenda of their first day (what they will be doing, who they will be meeting with and why), what to wear, how lunch works, etc.
Virtual copy of employee handbook
The employee handbook includes everything employees need to know about working within a company. This is great to give to a new employee so that they have time to review and build an understanding of the company and its values before they arrive. A pre-developed understanding for their new space will also help to ramp them up to hit the ground running on their first day.
Details about department and job responsibilities
This could include things like organizational charts, a copy of their job description, a departmental playbook – basically any information surrounding how their department operates, who they work with, its process/procedures, who is in the department and how they all work together toward common goals. Also, who to go to for what!
Everyone wants to feel comfortable and at ease in their new environment. It’s always best to ask your new employees about accommodations they require in order to do their best work. This could be a meditation room, food restrictions, etc. Clarifying this early on will ensure both parties are set up for a great relationship.
Offices are big and full of stuff and people, I recommend always starting someone’s first day with a tour of the office. Show them where they sit, where meeting rooms are (and what their names are AND how to identify them), where to get supplies, where key players they will work with are sitting (and introduce them) where the bathrooms are, the snacks, etc. This person should feel confident navigating the new space and know where to find the things they need.
First day team lunch
A great team bonding experience to break the ice with newcomers on the first day. It’s beneficial for both parties, as it gets them out of the office to interact on a different plane. This gives them the opportunity to learn a little bit about each other and start making bonds with each other.
One month check ins
One month check-ins are important for the sake of ensuring that your new hire is transitioning well in the job. Thoughtful feedback is important so that they have a solid foundation to build up on. New hires can also use this opportunity to build mentor relationships with people in the company.
Ask new hires for feedback along the way, either through coffee chats or survey questions, this will help employers continuously improve their processes.
Assign your new hire a “onboarding buddy” who can be a pal and help them navigate the cultural norms of their new office. This is someone who is also relatively new (can empathize with joining the company at a similar stage) and is not in your department. Have the new hire also meet with other departments or teams they will interact with – help break the ice with them!
Onboarding remote workers
43% of Americans work remotely some of the time. This means that your onboarding process needs to cater to your remote workers, whether they are full time remote staff or not.
Working remote can reduce communication and connection between employees. The feeling of isolation and loneliness is common. Some common issues with remote workers include challenges with accountability and productivity.
Making sure you equip your remote employees with the right tools to succeed during the digital onboarding process is important. It’s hard to understand company culture when you work remote, the transparency isn’t quite there.
Here are some quick tips on how to make the work from home jobs less concerning for companies that hire remote workers:
- Have a virtual welcome meeting with the employee where they are able to introduce themselves to the company.
- Get the new remote employee to have an in person 2 week training. This will cause them to really get to know people in the company by interacting in person.
- Using tools for communication: There are many communication tools some are: Slack, Chanty, Fleep, Monday.com and 15Five.
- Provide training on collaboration software such as GanttPro, Trello or Wrike.
With the right onboarding process, your new employee will feel well adjusted to your company. You will have built them up for success which will only benefit the company and team in the long run!