Improve your Employee On-boarding process with these 10 simple tips and ideas
First impressions are meant to last, which is why having a carefully designed on-boarding process is a must in modern-day organisations. It is a crucial aspect of improving employee satisfaction and retention.
Research by Glassdoor indicates that organisations with a strong on-boarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. With such big numbers, you might surely think most companies get it right, right?
But a research by Gallup found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organisation does a great job with on-boarding, and that calls for some efforts into revamping the process. Employee satisfaction and engagement is probably at the top of an HR manager’s checklist, and ensuring a seamless experience for your employees from the start is a must with various virtual team building activities and other strategies in place.
Whether you’re preparing a virtual on-boarding experience for the first time, or you’re looking to structure your existing on-boarding process, you’re at the right spot.
Remember being the new kid on the block? Being a new employee at a company is quite similar. A robust employee onboarding is akin to having a great time at school. You get to learn, have fun, and make friends at the same time. The importance of a new hire onboarding program is often understated.
Most employers view the onboarding process as a checklist waiting to be ticked off. However, data from Gallup suggests that companies with poor onboarding programs have a lot at stake. Bad news: Currently, there’s a tsunami of employee turnover.
So, it is quite necessary to understand new employee onboarding! In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the employee onboarding process.
We’ll cover the meaning, the onboarding process, onboarding of employees in remote settings, tips for efficient onboarding, onboarding for different profiles, onboarding software and tools to help you out, metrics to keep an eye on, and finally, end with the Employee Life Cycle.
If you ask someone for a proper onboarding definition, you’ll notice a common thread. Most likely, people will tell you about employee handbooks, new employee orientation, compliance, paperwork, etc. Additionally, they will tell you that it’s an HR thing. But it’s not.
So, What Does Onboarding Mean?
If you want to define onboarding, here it is- integrating your new hires into your organization. It means showing them around the block, teaching them the ropes, and getting them on the same wavelength as your team. Usually, this process is assumed to last for only a few weeks. However, do not mistake onboarding for a one-off ‘event.’ It is a series of interactions. According to research, it takes at least 6-12 months to familiarize a new hire and capitalize on their skills. The onboarding duration could vary from company to company. But, the jump-off point for onboarding begins as soon as you hand over the offer letter.
Your onboarding process impacts an employee's decision to stay with you. There are strong statistics that support this stance as well. According to The Wynhurst Group Survey, employees that go through efficient onboarding are 58% more likely to stay on the job. Evidently, the Society For Human Resource Management quoted something similar. Their 2015 article, ‘Onboarding Key to Retaining, Engaging Talent,’ said that 86% of employees decide to stay or leave within the first few months.
So, impressions do matter.
Yes, initial experience has great power.
The impression about your company comes in quite early. Think about the content that you consume on a day-to-day basis. How long does it take for you to decide whether a Netflix series is worth your time? Probably seconds. Admittedly, content consumption and professional work settings are quite different. But people subconsciously engage in this decision-making all the time. We form an impression about everything based on our initial experience. So, an effective onboarding experience creates a great impression on your new hire. A company might also mistake onboarding for a logical or rational process. However, onboarding is more than that. It is quite an emotional experience. It is a time of change for the employer. Also, the start of something new for the employee.
So, the onboarding period is a rollercoaster journey for everyone involved. For the new employee, it’s a period of doubt. They will ask themselves questions like - ‘Did I make the right choice?’ or ‘Do I fit in here?’
For the employer, it’s a period of anxiety. Employers might think - ‘Did we hire the right person?’ or ‘Will they be able to complete the task?’
Unfortunately, yes. Many organizations end up playing the game of pretense. When confronted with new situations, we are likely to play a role that isn’t us. For companies, this means painting a picture that simply isn’t theirs. In reality, you want to show your employees exactly who you are from the start. The reason for being authentic is just one - it is hard to keep up with a facade for too long. A vast difference between a new employee’s initial experience and the actual onboarding process could have significant consequences for your organization.
What happens is that expectations are not met. And this is the point where onboarding turns into a volatile experience. Your new employees either regret their decision to join or start putting in their papers.
A structured onboarding curriculum could change your company’s fortunes. If done right, an effective onboarding will achieve the following objectives:
Read more: 12+ HR strategies on How to Increase Employee Engagement
Every company has its own subjective onboarding process. However, companies considered ‘best-in-class’ have a more formal and structured curriculum for onboarding. In general, a great organization will cover all the Four C’s required for successful onboarding. These Four C’s, in ascending order, are Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection.
The lowest level of the onboarding process is compliance. Here, you teach the new employee all the rules and regulations of your organization. Almost all companies cover this aspect in detail.
The second rung on the onboarding ladder is clarification. It means ensuring your new employee knows the ins and outs of their role and your expectations of them.
The third aspect of onboarding is culture. The new employee understands your organization's norms, culture, or habits, including formal and informal standards.
The final but critical part of onboarding is connection. Your new employee is able to form strong interpersonal relationships with other team members.
When companies just cover the compliance part, we call it Passive Onboarding. Such organizations tend to see onboarding as just a checklist that needs to be ticked off. If a company takes it up a notch and covers compliance & clarification, it is called High Potential Onboarding. This has a trickle-down effect where you’ll also see a favorable impact on culture and connection.
However, the ‘best-in-class’ companies cover all four onboarding blocks. These companies adopt what we call Proactive Onboarding. Additionally, they have an incredible Human Resource Management team. It is said that only 20% of companies can reach this level of onboarding. Now, let’s look at a general timeline for the onboarding process. As we mentioned before, every company has its own subjective onboarding journey. However, you’ll see a few similarities here and there.
An efficient onboarding flow is structured in such a way that it covers all The Four C’s. In general, this flow will include 8 Stages.
Here’s a brief outline of what a good onboarding process will include - The hiring stage, offer letter phase, offer acceptance, waiting period, first day at work, coordination with other teams at the company, job training, and the first few months.
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An efficient onboarding process can do wonders for your company. Just like a well-oiled machine, it makes the different parts of your company function more smoothly and in unison. Successful onboarding spells increased employee retention for your company. New hires who understand their role and feel supported are likely to stay on the job. Experts say that onboarding is that magic moment when an employee decides to stay engaged or just check out.
Poor onboarding is going to leave your new employee feeling confused and lost. The lack of proper guidance, chaos, and disorganized environment come back to haunt the company. The Principal of The Interchange Group, Amy Hirsh Robinson, calls this disengagement ‘death by orientation’. New hires might come to the premature conclusion that your company is nothing but poorly managed. Given that onboarding is their first brush with the job, they might think accepting the offer was a mistake. A poor onboarding process means setting the stage up for an early exit. Your company ends up reversing all the work that’s gone into the hiring process. This includes the time, effort, and money you took to recruit.
Don’t believe us? Look at the numbers:
The recurrent theme across all these statistical figures is this - Onboarding experience will make or break your new hires' relationship with the company.
Now that we have a hang of the numbers, let’s look at the benefits of great onboarding:
A smooth employee onboarding sets you up for success. Companies will likely see increased employee engagement, higher retention and profits, decreased workload for other teams, and excellent interpersonal relationships.
Gartner Inc. estimated that, by the end of 2021, remote workers would represent 32% of all employees worldwide. If you have remote workers, it’s time to reconsider your onboarding process.
As hybrid and the remote workforce becomes the future, here is an onboarding checklist you could use for remote employees:
Here’s a visual representation of the onboarding checklist for remote employees:
Alternatively, here’s one onboarding of employees video from Trainaula that will be useful: Onboarding New Employees While Working From Home
Today, most companies have some form of an onboarding program. Yet, only 12% of employees surveyed by Gallup feel that their organization provides a smooth onboarding process.
This means that 88% of employees are dissatisfied with their onboarding program. This could negatively affect your employee retention rate. According to SHRM, if an employee leaves, it takes a company 6 to 9 months' worth of an employee’s salary to identify a replacement!
So, adopting the best practices for employee onboarding is crucial. Here are a few tips to stay on your A-game while employee onboarding:
Here are employee onboarding tips from Harvard Business Review:
By now, you know that an efficient onboarding program makes you a competitive differentiator. The benefits of effective onboarding are plenty. Your employees have higher job satisfaction, increased organizational commitment, higher productivity, lower turnover, and less stress. Still, companies have a mediocre onboarding process. Most importantly, senior hires’ onboarding is given top priority. This is because senior executives have a significant impact on the organization.
However, refining the onboarding process for employees at every level is crucial. As time goes by, the competition for talent and the desire to increase retention rates will set in. In the end, an inconsistent onboarding program will hurt your business. Hiring an onboarding specialist will be a huge boost! If you are thinking ‘who?’, don’t worry! It’s not just you. Most companies rely on their HR team for onboarding programs. The thought of hiring an onboarding specialist might seem like a bit too much.
An onboarding specialist works with your company to create a seamless onboarding program. They take your employees from being new hires to a part of your team. If you are wondering, what is the average onboarding specialist salary? It is around $61,415 in the U.S. In general, the onboarding journey has four phases - the Pre-boarding Stage, the Welcoming Stage, Role-Specific Training, and the Transition Stage.
Now, let’s look at the company structure. Generally speaking, a company’s organizational structure has five levels.
In ascending order, these levels are – Entry-level, Individual Contributor, Manager, Director, and Chief-Executive Officer. Let’s see how onboarding varies for these levels:
Formal Onboarding Process: It is best to incorporate a milestone-based onboarding program for your contributor. You could have 30, 60, and 90-day plans with frequent check-ins and feedback for the new hire.
Establish Goals: It is essential to define what success in the new role looks like for your new hire. Communicate and enforce short-term and long-term goals for the role.
Provide Training Support: To achieve the goals of the role, it is important to provide your new employee with training programs, modules, and other learning resources.
Let them Shadow Seniors: Let your new hire see their work in action. Allowing them to shadow seniors will help them learn more, ask questions, and simply observe.
Evaluate Performance: Your onboarding program should have checkpoints where you analyze the progress of your new hire. If they are lacking in their role, it is crucial to intervene early on.
i) Connect: Create a connection with the new manager before the onboarding process begins. This will reduce their anxiety and stress regarding the new role.
ii) Align: Select a mentor buddy or team member to help the manager during their onboarding process. This mentor will get them acquainted and comfortable with the work culture.
iii) Manage: Integrate your new manager into your organization. To do this, you could schedule daily meet-ups to discuss issues and create personalized plans. If you can’t take this up, hire an external or internal coach to work with the new manager.
iv) Plan: It is best to set up weekly milestones and goals for your new manager. Assess progress with technological solutions, schedule meetings, and let the manager shadow during essential conversations with other key stakeholders.
v) Streamline: The final step includes measuring the manager's progress and creating feedback loops.
i) Create a Director Onboarding Plan: Senior management teams and the Board’s governance committee should craft an onboarding plan for the new director. This plan should list the goals of the onboarding, a list of documents that need to be given, and a list of people/organizations that the Director should know about or meet.
ii) Necessary Documents: The new Director needs a copy of all the Company’s essential documents. This list could vary from company to company. However, usually, it includes - Committee charters, quarterly/annual goals, a brief company history, and its operations, approved budgets, bios of other team members and board members, minutes from the previous annual or committee meetings, etc.
iii) Team Introductions: Schedule meetings for the new director with different stakeholders. Make sure to space out these meetings so that the new director has enough time to retain information. This could include meeting up with the CEO, other board members, important organizations, team members, etc.
iv) Board Buddy: Even seasoned professionals require help when starting new at a company. You could enlist the help of another board member to improve the onboarding experience. This board buddy could answer all the questions, show them around the office, and introduce them to key players.
i) Align: Invest your time in creating an onboarding plan for the new CEO. Look at the company’s experience with previous CEOs to chart a plan. Finally, give a brief of your plan to key stakeholders and senior leaders.
ii) Acquire: It is a good idea to list strong candidates apart from your lead candidate. How you offer the post and support the new CEO will impact their opinion of your organization.
iii) Accommodate: The next step is to accommodate the work needs of your new CEO. This could be details related to their ID, payroll, forms, etc. It is essential to create an onboarding plan with your new CEO. Let them know their day-one objectives, deliverables, messages, etc.
iv) Assimilate: You want your CEO to have good relations with their new team. Help them become a part of the team with regular onboarding discussions and check-ins. Issues that arise should be tackled early on.
v) Accelerate: If you need to transform your team, the new CEO will need all the resources and support you can come up with. Set the building blocks required for transforming your team under the new CEO. This includes short-term goals, clarity on roles and deliverables of different team members, 1-2 early wins, etc.
Are you looking for an employee onboarding template? Here’s a free employee onboarding template by Zenefits that could help you - Free Onboarding Template.
Alternatively, here is a video by Daylite App explaining the process of a new employee onboarding checklist New Employee Onboarding Checklist
If you are looking for a ‘new employee onboarding checklist template excel’ then here are a few links:
Employee Onboarding Checklist Excel Sheet
Free Onboarding Checklists and templates
Remember, when you hire someone, you make promises. These promises are what the new hire ‘gets’ from their job. It could be the pay, experience, growth opportunity, flexibility, etc. In business jargon, it is called your Employee Value Proposition or EVP.
Onboarding is the first time the employee sees this EVP in action. You are no longer just making claims but fulfilling them every day. Automating and using technology to fulfill some of your responsibilities is a huge boon. Don’t forget onboarding is a journey. And so, you’ll need onboarding software, tools, and applications for a robust onboarding program. Here’s a round-up of the best onboarding software out there:
If you are a small business, Eddy is the perfect HR onboarding software. Evidently, Eddy helps you become a completely paperless company. You can digitally create, send, sign, and store all your HR documentation! Moreover, new hires can easily set up their Eddy profiles. The platform is easy-to-use and quite intuitive. Eddy claims that your HR team can save 5 hours per new hire!
Trackable new-hire task list
First-day message options
If you are looking for collaborative onboarding software, it must be Monday.com. You can onboard your new employees in no time, manage your entire recruiting cycle, and map progress by creating surveys, quizzes, and tests. Most importantly, you can collaborate with other members in one shared workspace. Finally, Monday.com allows you to connect to your go-to tools, be it Email, Linkedin, Typeform, Surveymonkey, etc.
Automate hiring process emails
Integrate other project management apps like Slack, Typeform, etc.
Keep multiple members informed of the latest developments
Track employee performance
If you are looking for a mobile-friendly system, ClearCompany is your answer. You can digitally store, collect, deliver, and track forms and documents.Moreover, new hires can quickly onboard themselves using any device. Finally, you can integrate assessment, background check, and calendar tools with ClearCompany.
Automated task notifications
Employee Self-Service Forms
Want to get high-quality work from your new hires? EduMe will do that for you! With EduMe, you can create training courses within hours. Additionally, you can incorporate quizzes, GIFs, and images to make the courses more engaging.
EduMe also allows you to integrate other workforce tools like Microsoft Teams, Fountain, Braze, etc. Finally, you can gather insights on your workforce using their feedback and survey feature.
Create engaging courses and training materials
Access real-time data
Scale and automate operations
Allows third-party integrations
Your company might be interested to know about every stage of employee transition. This is where Talmundo comes into the picture! The platform is a highly customizable onboarding solution. Additionally, Talmundo is ideal for onboarding and offboarding as well.
Their onboarding tool helps you build intuitive forms, provides new hires with digital chatbots, has an integrated task management system, and gives insight into the company’s performance during the onboarding stage.
Finally, Talmundo has a great offboarding system in place as well! Collect feedback from leavers, create positive leaving experiences, journey planners explaining the offboarding process to leavers, etc.
Fully customizable onboarding solution
Document and Task Management
Digital Offboarding Software
Automate repetitive tasks.
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The ‘best-in-class’ companies don’t just throw darts in the dark! Their onboarding programs result from surveys, analytics, accountability mechanisms, and feedback loops. They study their onboarding programs, see what works, refine the entire process, and look for changes.
This is where quantitative data and metrics come in. To understand the effectiveness of your onboarding program, we’ve narrowed down five crucial metrics.
At the end of the day, remember what onboarding signifies. It is part of the new hires' relationship with your organization.
While working in the organization, your employee will go through several stages. These are critical points that will end up shaping their overall impression of your organization.
Gallup Inc says implementing best practices is extremely important at each of these junctions. The different stages an employee goes through with the company is called the Employee Life Cycle.
According to Gallup Inc, there are seven stages in this Life Cycle. This journey, in ascending order, includes - Attracting, Hiring, Onboarding, Engaging, Performing, Developing, and Departing.
As we mentioned, onboarding is a crucial moment. Your employee will have an opinion about the company in the first few months.
It becomes challenging to correct any misperceptions they develop during the onboarding stage. Here’s the thought process of your new hire at every step of the Employee Life Cycle:
Here’s a visual representation of the Employee Life Cycle:
First days are crucial, but it can get very exhausting for your employees to receive an information overload, which might eventually lead them to become less engaged with your organisational objectives, especially if you are on-boarding them remotely on Zoom or any other video conferencing tool. Long on-boarding sessions might result in Zoom fatigue on the first day itself.
Our advice is to start early, right from the beginning of hiring processes. Send in booklets to your employees about organisational goals and essential information in advance. This would not put too much stress on them on the first day.
While Employee engagement is a whole wide world for you to take care of, in the long run, try and make your virtual on-boarding process as engaging as possible. Personalise the experience, strike conversations, and help your new hires identify and align their personal goals with the organisational goals. Instead of emphasising on filling up a gazillion HR forms, make the on-boarding process engaging and exciting.
The most crucial task to be done in the first weeks is to explain the job description to your employees, and make them aware about their unique part in the success story of your organisation. Answer questions and explain the goals and motto of your organisation, and how their role is to fit in.
Probably the most important part of your checklist would be to get your new hires familiarised with the software and tools that your company functions with, as getting them comfortable with these tools prevents any confusions and inconvenience later. Whether you are using Microsoft Teams or Slack, incorporate the usage of these tools in the first few days and have check ins with the employees to address any doubts they might have. Also, check out these 14 Slack Channels you must have to make your employee experience better.
Give your employees a structured introduction to the work they’ve signed up for. Our advice, carefully craft a first week to-do checklist to give them a fair idea of the current projects and their work. Bite sized information is the way to go. Try Ricotta’s productivity checklists to make the process efficient.
Now, breaking the ice with your employees is a top recommendation, but it’s that much more difficult to implement. It’s the first step towards building employee engagement, and is so much more difficult in a virtual environment vis-a-vis an in-office interaction. Try to make your on-boarding process and work environment exciting and engaging by incorporating these 10 tips for having fun at work.
You can also have a quick icebreakers' session with all the newly on-boarded employees to make them comfortable and acquainted with each other. You can refer to our list of 120+ Best Icebreaker questions so that you don’t have to compile icebreakers before the session!
Having a person to directly connect with regarding any doubts is a great way to make your new employees feel comfortable. Having a point of contact in a similar role/ mentorship position makes the process more seamless. A research conducted by Microsoft indicates that having a strong buddy system in place helps in improving employee satisfaction, boosts productivity and much more within 90 days of implementation.
It is absolutely essential to get your employees to feel like a part of their work teams, hence it is important to get them engaged with the ongoing team building activities. To get a better grip of how to build a better team at the workplace, try checking out these 10 tips for Virtual Team Building.
As important as the first welcome call is, try and schedule frequent debriefs for your new hires, as it’s difficult to have unscheduled interactions in a virtual environment. Having frequent scheduled interactions prevents your new hires from feeling stuck or lost, and provides ample opportunities for them to get any doubts clarified.
Last but not the least, we want our employees to enjoy their workplace, as that is the one sustainable path towards long-term employee satisfaction and retention. While having a fun workplace in general is important, it is even more crucial to make your employee's first week more exciting. Having relaxed trivia activities and games is a good way to do that. Try Ricotta Trivia, an exciting platform for fun games, contests, trivia, and much more.
We’ve covered the ins and outs of a new hire onboarding program! By now, you know the importance of the onboarding process. According to Society For Human Resource Management, employee turnover for hourly workers is as much as 50%.
A number this high means something is going wrong during the first few months at a new job. As we mentioned, employee onboarding is crucial in determining the new hires’ perception of your company.
Moreover, it is not just a mere employee onboarding checklist. Onboarding is about your company culture, helping new hires’ get better at their job, promoting team harmony, and delivering on the promise you made while hiring new employees.
Now that you have a better grip of how to make the on-boarding experience of your employees better, do incorporate elements of team building and productivity and make the workplace more engaging and enjoyable for your new hires. Stuck on how to increase employee engagement? Don’t worry, we have got you covered! Check out 12 HR strategies on how to increase employee engagement.
Onboarding means integrating your new hires into your organization. It takes 6-12 months to familiarize and capitalize on a new employee’s skills. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 86% of new employees decide to stay or quit an organization within the first few months.
An excellent onboarding program means higher employee retention and engagement, increased job satisfaction, increased profits and revenue, decreased workload for other team members, and excellent interpersonal relationships.
To craft a great onboarding program, keep the following in mind - create an employee onboarding process flow chart, use technology and eliminate manual processes, define your company culture, create an onboarding document, make yourself accessible, don’t overload the employee, refine the onboarding process, and offboard with the same level of enthusiasm.
Keep an eye on onboarding metrics to understand the effectiveness of your onboarding program and use onboarding software tools like Eddy, Monday.com, ClearCompany, EduMe, and Talmundo
Orientation is a brief introduction to the goals of a company. Onboarding is a process where new hires are trained to learn their job and assimilate within the company. In a way, a good onboarding process begins with orientation. This includes going through the company’s vision, employee paperwork, system logins, etc.
Often regarded as the business card in professional settings, introductions are extremely important in professional settings. It is advisable to keep it simple and to the point. Use the three-step approach to introduce yourself during onboarding. This includes who you are, what you do (your background, previous job, titles, etc.), and what others need to know (what you bring to the table/ information relevant to the context)
Yes, there is a difference between onboarding and orientation. Orientation is a one-time event. Often, it is just a brief introduction about the company, its objectives, team members, and the new hires’ role. Usually, orientation is delivered using presentations, Q and A sessions, etc.
Onboarding, on the other hand, is a journey. It can last from 6-12 months. Here, new hires are thoroughly trained for their role, and they learn more about how things work in the company. By the end of the onboarding, a new hire becomes a fully independent team member.
A common assumption is - the Human Resources Team. However, new hire onboarding programs require a few more hands on the deck!
Though HR is the primary entity tasked with onboarding, managers, IT representatives, the CEO, and an onboarding buddy (team member helping out the new hire) are others who handle onboarding.
Onboarding is the new hires’ first brush with their job. It is during the employee onboarding process that hires learn more about the company, their role, and the skills needed for the job. If the onboarding is successful, employees are more likely to stick around. According to SHRM, engaging onboarding programs help retain 91% of new hires.
You can create an excellent onboarding program for your new hire. Keep in mind the following tips - provide a warm welcome, start the onboarding process before the first day, discuss the best practices with your team, create a new hire onboarding checklist, check in regularly, and get feedback from new hires.
Your new hire onboarding could hit a roadblock for several reasons. Usually, it is due to the difference between the initial experience and the actual onboarding process. Your onboarding program fails when you treat it as a one-off event, there is a lack of structure in your schedule, or you don’t clearly define what success looks like in the role. Other reasons could include overloading your new hire with information, lack of feedback, and not using metrics to measure your onboarding efforts.
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