Effective onboarding practices for new hires

Effective onboarding practices for new hires

May 21, 2024
by Talenteer Editorial Team
The foundation of employees’ productivity lies not solely in professional challenges and decent compensation. It also depends on the experience they get at the beginning of their tenure. This is why an onboarding system is important—a process where HR and the team collaborate to help new hires acclimate in the organization seamlessly.
The statistics related to insufficient onboarding are pretty alarming: 80% of new hires feel undertrained and seek alternative job opportunities. Despite this, only 52% of recently hired employees find their onboarding experience useful.
At first, an employee has both fears and enthusiasm, and the ratio of these feelings hugely depends on the onboarding flow. When done properly, it can increase retention by 82% and boost productivity by 70%. Read on to explore how to achieve that.

What is an employee onboarding process?

Onboarding is not a quick conversation or a short manual, it is a series of steps. It can last from a couple of months to up to a year and aims to help employees settle in the company easily, explore particular rules, and clearly understand the goals. This process cannot be rushed to allow you to reap benefits with time. It may vary for people hired externally and internally, but the main steps are similar for everyone.
The efforts to onboard a new team member can be called successful if an employee seamlessly transitions into their role. They get all the resources for doing their job efficiently and establish connections with the manager and the team. They learn how to achieve their goals and who to turn to in case of difficulties. Also, a structured plan with milestones and transparent metrics boosts confidence and engagement.

What’s included in the onboarding workflow

Your new employee onboarding checklist should cover several areas, such as:
  • Handling administrative tasks and filling out the basic paperwork.
  • Obtaining tools, equipment, resources, and information.
  • Undergoing training.
  • Socializing with the team and other coworkers through formal and informal events.
  • Grasping the company’s culture.
  • Better understanding of the team’s dynamics.

Why effective employee onboarding is important

The efficiency of any recruiting tips and tricks can decrease if the new hire feels confused during their first days or weeks. Here are several reasons to transform a new employee’s orientation into a full-fledged process:
  • A new hire acclimates in the company faster and better. They learn about the company’s processes, goals, and norms. This helps them start feeling like a part of the team sooner and increases their comfort level, which contributes to high productivity.
  • Collaboration with the team goes smoother. A plan with specific steps for getting acquainted with the key colleagues and starting with essential tasks will streamline adaptation. This is especially important for remote employees who may have less communication with colleagues.
  • Saving on employee turnover. Recruiting and hiring can be expensive. At the same time, according to BambooHR, efficient onboarding makes employees 18x more committed to the company.
Poor onboarding can make one feel uncomfortable and confused. In contrast, a proper one increases morale and productivity. The main indicator of this process going successfully is an employee’s ability to perform their job confidently, effectively, and independently and attain the set objectives.

Best practices for onboarding new employees

New hire onboarding may differ depending on the role, the candidate’s experience, and the company’s norms. However, some tips are basic and can be applicable to almost every case. Let’s review them below.
  • Incorporate pre-boarding activities. One of the key tips for onboarding new employees is to get ready before their first day. Start with sending them paperwork that can be signed digitally and a note about how the team is excited about a new member joining them. Mention any administrative details, such as the time the working day starts, an address and parking details, and the agenda for the first day or week.
  • Set up the workspace and accounts. Make sure your new employee will have everything needed to start working. Prepare a comfortable workspace with a desk, a chair, and a workstation with other necessary devices. Leave essential office supplies and a welcome gift if a company provides one, like a mug or a notepad. Finally, contact the tech team to create logins and credentials for the platforms a new hire will be using, so that they can access it from their first day.
  • Perform a building tour. Give a new employee a tour around the office or a building to introduce them to the key staff members and show the key areas. Share an access code or provide an access card and explain security policies and protocols.
  • Explain the company’s values. Learning the company’s culture early will help a person understand if it matches with their values. Take a few minutes to discuss the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Knowing the bigger picture will make one more connected and engaged.
  • Announce a new hire to the team. On the new hire’s first day, ask them to write a short bio and send a message to the staff to introduce the new team member. Mention the person’s role and general goals to help others better understand the changes in the team’s dynamics.
  • Assign an office buddy. Find a person who can mentor a new employee well and won’t feel obliged to do that. The activities may include an explanation of more specific workflows and unspoken rules, having lunches together, and answering any questions.
  • Encourage communication at lunch. Make sure a new hire is not eating alone on their first day. Lunch is a great time to socialize and make new connections. Getting to know coworkers in an informal atmosphere is simpler compared to only tasks-related conversations. Consider joining an employee if their mentor and other colleagues are busy.
  • Set expectations early (30-60-90 plan). Collaborate with a person’s manager to prepare a detailed job description, key responsibilities, and an overall 30-60-90 plan. This plan includes primary objectives for each of the three first months, performance metrics, and evaluation milestones. Remember to add information about where to get support if any difficulties occur.
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings with their manager. Schedule one-on-ones with their manager or supervisor. During these meetings, they will discuss tasks, plans, victories, and concerns in more detail. A manager will evaluate whether the goals are achieved and if an employee is ready for more challenging tasks. It’s also a perfect time to discuss training options if necessary and specific skills to be gained for professional development.
  • Communicate regularly. Communicate with the new hire after the first week, at the end of the first month, and then monthly. Make sure they understand how success in their role is measured and ask if they need anything to maintain good performance. Evaluate their comfort and engagement, which also shows the onboarding effectiveness. The best way to handle HR analytics for this matter is using specialized staff management platforms, including the ones with AI helping with data analysis.
  • Ask your team for feedback. Your and manager’s conclusions about the employee’s performance and adaptation may not be enough sometimes. In this case, to receive a more comprehensive overview, start a survey involving other team members to explore their experience.

Onboarding timetable

A structured timeline makes it simpler to follow all the stages, from pre-arrival preparations to performance reviews. The use of digital onboarding tools can aid in designing the whole plan and monitoring its flow. Let’s review a general example of such a schedule:
  • Before their first day. These activities make their first day simpler. Prepare mandatory paperwork and instructions, necessary accounts, and equipment.
  • On the first day. Conduct orientation, including an introduction to the team and a tour of the facility. Make sure the workstation operates well, promote communication at lunch, and help an employee explore the details of their responsibilities and the company’s rules.
  • During the first week. Seek feedback to make sure a newly hired employee is aware of all their duties, has the necessary tools, and knows who can help them in different situations. For some roles, it’s also the time to start training.
  • After the first month. This period is focused on evaluating the employee’s initial progress. Schedule weekly one-on-ones with their manager and make sure they go through training and meet initial expectations.
  • After the first 90 days. At this point, an employee should feel mostly adapted. You can focus on the training programs, gather performance feedback, and hold a formal performance review.
  • At the end of the first year. Continue with regular formal evaluations and their integration into the team to gather data for the yearly performance review. Also, offer support when needed.

Common onboarding mistakes to avoid

To onboard a new employee efficiently, you need meticulous planning and execution. These are the key mistakes you have to avoid:
  • Late start. Prepare all the documents and equipment in advance. This way, an employee won’t feel lost or unwelcomed.
  • Lack of structure. An unstructured onboarding program can cause information overload. Craft a step-by-step plan and share information about different matters over time based on priorities.
  • Lack of training. Don’t rush through training to avoid decreased quality or productivity. Make sure a new hire doesn’t feel frustrated but instead knowledgeable and confident.
  • Unclear expectations. Confirm with an employee if they know their job responsibilities, primary goals, and the impact of their role.

In conclusion

Effective onboarding leads to win-win results. An employee feels recognized and connected with the team while the company shouldn’t worry about retention. A well-crafted plan and the use of modern HR platforms not only expedite acclimatization but also enhance engagement and loyalty.

FAQ

Is employee onboarding only for new hires?

How long should onboarding last?

What is the difference between orientation and onboarding?

What are some tips for onboarding remote employees?

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