In recent years, onboarding has become a blanket phrase used to describe everything from pre-recruitment all the way to first-day and post first-day. With the rise of technology in the onboarding process, and the fragmentation of services and products within the space, which are the best and how can you use them effectively?
In many of our recent articles talking about optimizing employee integration, or employee engagement in various stages of the life cycle, we’ve mentioned onboarding as a key factor. This is because the proactive nature of recruitment allows employers to stand out from other companies, resulting in a seamless onboarding experience.
The Importance of Good Employee Onboarding
As for the importance of it, employee onboarding can help with various factors including the improvement of employee experience, productivity, retention and much more. A study showed that 69% of employees who had a positive onboarding experience would remain loyal to the company for at least 3 years. Moreover, with the competitive edge, companies should prioritize onboarding to achieve the lowest employee turnover, improve employee job satisfaction and much more. Hiring top talent, improving employee lifecycle and even retention are among several other perks.
What are the Best Onboarding Practices in 2022?
The 11 best employee onboarding practices can be broken down into different sectors, starting with before arrival, first day, and post-first day.
Often, companies will delay or forget about the onboarding experience before a new hire’s first day, which is usually the cause for a bad experience. Setting the tone early with orientation, efficient provisioning and more, will lead to a positive work environment and experience for the new employee.
Create a welcoming environment
Creating a great work environment will have long-lasting effects that will not only help new team members but also improve office productivity with existing employees. This entails ensuring that company culture and policies are paramount. Additionally, you can set up pre-virtual meetings with the team to acclimatize new hires with their fellow team members. Anything from a simple Slack invitation to a Zoom meeting.
From relationships to job onboarding, communication is one of the most important parts of sustaining a healthy rapport. For onboarding specifically, pre-arrival communication can be as simple as sending an email to a new hire prior to their first day. This could help them with orientation training and outlining the next steps to ensure all new hires don’t feel confused and abandoned on their first day.
Provisioning of tools, technology and more
The provisioning of technology and software can be an excellent way to stand out and provide a better experience. Automating this can not only ensure new employees have a streamlined experience but also ensures they won’t have to waste time on their first day wondering what tools or software they need.
In order to do this effectively, you should have internal systems that allow for the delegation of such software’s and tools which will enhance any first impressions. Some common provisioning of tools can include:
- Keys and other accessibility tools
- This includes desk space, chairs, outlets and more
- Passwords for things like Wi-Fi, logins and other software’s
- Pre-made profiles and log-in credentials for the tools and software they will be using
- Basic equipment like computer, keyboard, and mouse
Fulfil all paperwork
This best practice is essential to improve as it directly affects retention, engagement and more. New hire paperwork is boring, frustrating, and often tiring. Going back and forth over missed signatures or clauses can be a severe pain for everyone.
This means that to improve onboarding, you must get all the paperwork out the way immediately. Even setting up tools to automate this process can provide positive benefits. With the advancements in electronically accepted signatures, this is a great way to avoid postage delays, mismanagement and more.
Some key paperwork that can be done to welcome user onboardings could be:
- Banking and tax information
- Employment contracts
- Work requirements and eligibility
- Any other company policies
Notify the rest of the team
Whether it's happened to you or not, people not knowing you are joining the company feels a bit like people forgot your birthday.
Birthdays are the one day where you are usually celebrated, and that day is meant to be awesome. Thus, the more people that know, the better you feel. Likewise, coming to work as a new hire and other colleagues not knowing that you are a new hire, can feel intimidating. The work environment will feel strange, and you can feel shunned in a way. Essentially, being left out sucks. That’s why, onboarding practices can go even beyond HR as department by department, onboarding can vary, and experiences may differ.
Furthermore, when the people involved in the onboarding process are informed of the new hire in a timely manner, they will have more time to prepare and make sure everything is ready for the new hire by the time they start.
With the start of the first day comes a whole host of responsibilities to help acclimatize new employees to their new surroundings. This could include training, mentorship and more to help with socialization, and orientation.
Assistance from day one (Mentorship)
Mentorship is one of the most effective ways to help new employees gauge their new work environment and culture. Pairing new hires with more experienced employees can help those new hires with anything and most importantly, for a new employee, will develop a sense of comradery.
While new hires can always go to their managers or leaders with questions, they may be redundant and can be answered by other people as often managers and other higher-ups could be quite busy. Finally with the mentorship, new hires can feel the sense of an individualized and personalized process that works best for them allowing them to hit the ground running.
Schedule consistent check-ins
Similar to mentorship, scheduling check-ins fosters a positive work environment and promotes a healthy culture within the workplace. Building a professional relationship between seniors and new hires is a great tactic to improve the wellbeing of new employees.
It’s important to offer these services to employees and incorporate them into their day-to-day, making it routine for them. This can set the tone for their continued stay at the company and improve employee retention.
Provide training if needed
Depending on the specific job, training may be required, and specialized training may be needed. This will quickly get new hires up-to-speed on critical systems and software allowing them to be a productive member of the team. While this may have an initial cost, providing training is a best practice as it makes for effective employees and employee management.
After the First Day
With the first day onboarding procedures completed, many organizations believe their duties end there. However, to fulfil the best practices, onboarding doesn’t just stop after the first day, but continues with consistent check-ins, KPIs and more. According to Sapling HR, “The best employee onboarding programs extend throughout the employee’s first 90 days—and may even extend out for a full year—to ensure new hires are fully supported as they ramp to full productivity.” That’s why it’s important to:
Set clear KPIs and goals for the new hire
KPIs or OKRs are traditional goal setting programs used by large organizations in order to motivate, engage and retain employees. It allows employees to grow within the company at an effective rate while measuring their performance with other employees. Setting them allows employees to have role clarity and improves communication as new hires will understand their impact allowing them to push themselves internally.
For this best practice, it has been shown that up to 23% of new starters who receive a poor onboarding experience depart in the first year. That’s why, celebrating milestones like hitting KPIs and anniversaries are a time to enjoy, reflect and admire the work new hires have done.
This can also involve building team chemistry and synergy. Ultimately, employees need to be heard and celebrating milestones is another way this can happen. It fosters an environment that delivers positive energy and will help with employee morale and retention.
Continually optimize the onboarding process
Finally, for the last best practice of 2022, it’s imperative that companies continue to optimize the onboarding process. This can be done through surveys, votes, and other tools to measure employee satisfaction and find areas of improvement. In a recent article, we’ve talked in depth about optimizing the onboarding process.
With these 11 best onboarding practices, you can be sure to drastically improve your current processes and procedures. However, it is important to understand your current onboarding journey and identify the key areas of improvement, as not all 11 practices will be best suited for your special situation. Overall, it’s important to learn, adapt and innovate with onboarding practices to promote a healthy work environment and promote your company in the competitive markets to bring in top talent.