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How to Improve Your Company’s Employee Onboarding Process

According to one recent Gallup poll, only 12% of employees believe their company does a great job onboarding new employees. As a business leader, would you agree with that sentiment?

The employee onboarding process is a critical HR function, but one that is too often overlooked in the quest to win new talent. As a result, individuals enter their new roles already frustrated and overwhelmed.

Thankfully, there are small adjustments that can make a major difference. Today, we’re sharing a few ways you can improve your company’s onboarding approach, starting today.

1. Maintain Regular Engagement 

It’s all too common for HR teams to court a new job prospect in the beginning. Then, when they sign on the dotted line and accept the offered position, those same teams go silent until their official start date.

The issue with taking this approach? New hires are essentially left in the dark for days or weeks, unsure what to expect, who to talk to, or where to even go once they start work. As soon as you hire a new employee, it’s important to stay in contact with them, even if there will be an extended period of time before they actually begin work.

Why does this matter?

Keep in mind that they can always change their minds. It’s possible for a job candidate to rescind an acceptance, even if they’ve already completed preliminary paperwork. Choosing to disengage until their start date means accepting that they could leave your organization for one that’s more communicative and forthcoming.

2. Automate Where It Makes Sense

One of the biggest frustrations with the onboarding process? Most of the time, this phase is filled with cumbersome paperwork and tedious administrative tasks that can eat up a new employee’s time and attention.

Especially if they’re already feeling overwhelmed at what’s to come, they’d rather be learning the ropes and meeting other team members. This is why it can help to automate as many of these processes as you can.

Depending on your industry, this can take many different forms. A few of the top ones to consider include:

  • Video training sessions
  • Digital forms
  • Online policy education

You can find different types of HR software solutions, including e-verification tools and remote I-9 forms, at WorkBright.com. When you have these types of processes in place, you can go ahead and send the links to your new employees before Day 1 in the office. That way, they can get right to work when it’s time.

3. Assign New Employees Mentors

According to one new report, nearly 6% of all employees are currently in a state of burnout. You don’t want a new hire to immediately join these ranks.

That’s why one of our top training tips is to partner a new hire up with a seasoned and experienced mentor. Not only is this an informative and engaging way for them to learn role-specific skills, but it also gives longer-term employees the opportunity to feel valued and appreciated.

Both measures can go a long way toward improving morale and encouraging teamwork. As you select mentors, keep current workloads in mind. If a current employee is overwhelmed with a big project, mentorship could be more of a burden than a relief.

4. Consider Sending a Small Gift

You don’t have to go overboard with material gifts when you hire someone new to join your team. Yet, a small and personalized favor can send a meaningful message.

About one week before they’re set to start work, consider sending a small token of your appreciation to their home. This reminds them that you’re excited to begin work with them, and sets the tone for a friendly and professional working relationship.

One easy idea? Create a small gift that encompasses your company culture. Throw in some fun branded swag, along with a personalized note from each person on the interview team.

5. Don’t Confuse Onboarding With Orientation

When it comes to your hiring strategy, keep in mind that orientation is usually a one-day event. It gives a new hire the opportunity to meet other team members, get their office or cubicle set up, and start on that paperwork assigned to them.

However, it does little to actually integrate the employee into their role. This is where effective onboarding comes in.

Instead of viewing it as a one-day or even a one-week event, dedicate your HR team to supporting and assisting all new workers for at least the first 365 days. It can take months for employees to reach peak productivity levels, and assuming they’re all set after the first day is unwise.

Throughout that first year, check in with your new hires frequently. Ask for feedback, allow them to voice concerns, and take their pain points seriously. This constant encouragement can help them feel more supported from the very beginning, which aids in long-term retention.

6. Ensure Personal Greetings

If you’re at the helm of a small company, then your new hire might know every person on the team as soon as they walk in. On the other hand, they might not know a single person if the enterprise is much larger.

In either case, make sure they’re greeted with a personal welcome on their first day. This means making sure your front-office employees know their name, their role, and when to expect them. This may include the:

  • Security guard
  • Receptionist
  • Secretary

Once they’re inside, meet and introduce them to key team members they need to know. It can help to prepare the rest of your crew beforehand and encourage them to introduce themselves throughout the day.

You can also prepare a quick company roster that includes their co-workers’ names, email addresses, and phone numbers. This way, they know how to get the information they need.

7. Create (and Stick to) a Plan

New employees are already nervous on their first day. You can relieve a little of this anxiety by following a plan that begins as soon as they arrive. Otherwise, approaching the process lackadaisically sends the message that you didn’t care enough to get ready ahead of time.

This small misstep could have major consequences. You don’t want a new hire to second-guess their decision, so take the time to write down the day’s activities and make sure there’s minimal downtime so everyone can stay on task.

8. Schedule One-on-One Time

Yes, you want employees to have plenty of time to walk around, meet their new colleagues, and get oriented with their new workspace. Yet, there’s a good chance that they’ll be more than a little confused on that very first day.

To this end, it can help to schedule a one-on-one meeting with their direct manager at some point during the day. This way, they can ask questions, discuss upcoming projects, and get acclimated before they’re thrown into existing efforts. Managers may be busy, but they should still carve out enough time to meet with new employees to facilitate an easier and smoother transition.

9. Consider Gamification Strategies

One way to make your hiring strategy more fun and interactive? Consider turning it into a game! While many departments have already embraced the corporate gamification trend, it’s only recently made its way into the HR sphere.

For inspiration, consider the hiring practices of hotel giant Marriott. The well-known chain takes a unique approach when recruiting new talent through an online game called My Marriott Hotel. In the game, prospects and new hires can complete various virtual tasks including:

  • Designing their own restaurants
  • Purchasing supplies and inventory for the restraurant
  • Training new employees
  • Serving guests

While this is an isolated example, it represents the many ways that HR leaders can incorporate games into their hiring approach. Strategic, game-based tools can make the otherwise-tedious onboarding experience that much more exciting.

10. Discuss Key Performance Indicators

It might not be the most thrilling thing to talk about on an employee’s first day, but take a little bit of time to discuss the ways that they can succeed in their new role. This includes a brief discussion on team-based key performance indicators, or KPIs.

What metrics will their department manager use to gauge team success? What about success on the individual level? Share those goals and benchmarks, and make sure they understand what they mean.

If possible, ask their manager to talk about their individual management approach, as well as their career path and opportunities for advancement. The sooner they know the roadmap to follow, the more likely they are to get on board.

Ace the Employee Onboarding Process

Adding a new hire to your company can be an exciting and rewarding process. This gives you the opportunity to grow your teams, expand your reach, and deliver more products and services to your end-users.

The first step toward successful long-term employment is a great employee onboarding process. By following the tips above, you can make this stage as engaging, informative, and stress-free as possible.

Looking for more business, technology, and lifestyle news you can use? We have it all on our blog, so check back often for more informative guides!

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