The Ultimate Employee Onboarding Program Guide
- Omer Usanmaz
- February 6 2022
Onboarding new employees is one of the vital tasks that a company can undertake. Creating a memorable onboarding experience is essential to getting new employees up to speed quickly and ensuring their success with the organization. In this guide, you will learn about the different components of an effective onboarding program and best practices for implementing each component.
Integrating a new employee with the company’s culture and providing them with relevant information that helps them understand the company better makes an individual a productive member of the team.
Onboarding employees is not a one-time event and can be challenging at every stage. Thus, the onboarding program should enable the company to transform a candidate from a fresher to a fully integrated and productive employee. The initial steps of the process begin with smooth yet diligent hire paperwork. After that, the HR executives provide the company handbook to understand company rules, company personality, company values, relevant tools, access details, and email addresses to their new hires. What follows could directly impact the new hire’s journey in the organization.
According to a 2019 North American Mercer survey, the average retention rate in the US is a
mere 22%. (Rockwood, 2020) This is a major concern faced by the corporate world today, and effective onboarding can be a positive step towards tackling this challenge.
Creating Effective Onboarding for Your Newly Hired Employees
Creating an effective onboarding process for your newly hired employees is essential. This process will help them feel welcomed and comfortable in their new surroundings, and it will give them the tools they need to be successful. Onboarding includes everything from preparing new employees for their job duties and orienting them to company culture to helping them develop relationships with their co-workers. To create an effective onboarding process, you must first understand what it encompasses.
And, to make the onboarding a smooth process, here are a few pointers mentioned below, which will result in a more productive and positive work environment.
Sending welcome emails and packages and setting up an employee orientation program for the newly hired can be some of the most basic gestures for a warm, memorable welcome.
Apart from this, the other memorable onboarding process can include:
- Provision of any technology that the hire might need.
- Announcing the new hire to other employees in the team and across the company.
- Identifying and providing the newly hired with all the necessary documents.
- Have regular check-in sessions, scheduled events, and meetings.
The HR team must spend adequate time with their employees regularly. This helps the employee feel valued and cared for while also helping the HR build a cordial relationship with their employee.
Simple practices like remembering their names, waving at them as you pass them, asking them about their day, and having casual meetings in the cafeteria are a few ways to keep in touch with the employee and make the onboarding experience positive.
Onboarding strategies do not come in a one-size-fits-all format. The employee onboarding process checklist needs to be modified to suit the industry, positions, and other factors related to the job function. They also need to be aligned with the corporate culture.
Notifying Offboarding Requirements While Onboarding
While HR pays keen attention to onboarding a new employee, offboarding also plays a key role. The offboarding enables the company to eliminate any legal or security threats caused by the employee offboarded. Having a formal offboarding also helps the company receive honest feedback from the employee.
The offboarding checklist should be disclosed to the employee during their onboarding process. The HR needs to familiarize the prospective employee with all the details, from paperwork to offboarding criteria, to clauses like notice period, knowledge transfer, and who will be taking their positions during the interim.
Five Best Practices of Employee Onboarding
The onboarding process in any company can be made easier if the company implements the 5Cs- which are,
- Compliance - This step familiarizes employees with company and department policies, and confidentiality rules, amongst others. Compliance establishes the rules of the game and is critical to onboarding.
- Clarification - This step explains the job’s expectations from the new hire and his role in the bigger picture. It also includes goals and performance appraisal. The clarification is either done by the hiring managers or the HR to clarify any doubts the newly hired may have.
- Connection - The new employee can be overwhelmed initially, as they have just started a new position at an organization. Connecting them with onboarding buddies and mentors will reduce the pressure.
- Culture - Culture includes the familiarization of the employee with the company’s history, mission, and vision. For instance, if an individual is starting a managerial position, they have to be in sync with the company's culture. They will also be monitored based on their actions to determine whether they are adhering to the culture or not. The entire company can keep the company culture alive by coming together for a team lunch, a celebration of birthdays, etc.
- Check Back - Check back is done by HR by having a regular check-in schedule between 30 and 90 days of the new hire. This regular check-in schedule enables the Human Resource department to identify any milestones that are achieved and provide a further outline for the transition of the newly onboarded.
Customized onboarding efforts are a great way for new employees to get comfortable in their workspace and enable continuous learning. This highly impacts the company mission and creates a cohesive team. Everything matters. For instance, the tone you speak with during your initial meeting has lasting effects on how people perceive not just themselves but other members within departments too. With some planning and forethought, you can make this time go as smoothly or quickly as possible for better employee performance and achievement of key goals. Company leaders are just as much a critical part of this process to ensure job satisfaction.
What Is The Importance of Effective Onboarding in Times of The Pandemic?
Social distancing and work-from-home options deny new hires the chance to have a positive onboarding experience. It is, thus, all the more a critical time for the HR executives to ensure a smooth welcome during the pandemic. Virtual onboarding should be strengthened with additional benefits such as providing branded T-shirts, mugs, office supplies, etc., apart from ID cards and laptops.
Defining what success looks like and how success is measured in your company are other crucial metrics for your employee to understand. The new employee can have a buddy program with a model employee to understand the regular tasks or a short-term goal. Review of regular tasks helps the new hire understand their progress and improve. Assisting the new hire with digital elements like videos for additional training programs or supply videos for upskilling could be provided to ensure continuous on-the-job training and upskilling.
The pandemic has ushered in a great deal of change, and employers should embrace a more extended onboarding period. The newly onboarded employees in an in-person environment have plentiful opportunities to learn. On-site, they get to learn about the business, their role in the organization, the culture, and about their peers and colleagues from observations and conversations. Whereas in the hybrid mode of working and remote workers, the same opportunities to learn on the job and form relationships do not exist.
Importance of an effective onboarding process during the pandemic:
1) The faster a new employee can get up to speed, the sooner they can contribute to the organization's success.
2) In times of crisis, it is more important than ever for all members of the team to be pulling in the same direction.
3) New employees who feel welcome and supported are more likely to stay with the organization for a long term when compared to others.
Don'ts of Effective Onboarding Programs
Don't Make Onboarding An HR's Job Only
It is not only the HR job to onboard the employees and welcome them. It demands the involvement of other stakeholders in the company for a positive new hire experience. For instance, the HR department can delegate the task of welcoming the new employees to the direct managers, and the team leads can introduce the employees to their respective teams. The reporting manager can help identify the daily roles and objectives of the newly onboarded.
Don’t Focus Only on The Paperwork
The job of onboarding is not restricted to signing paperwork. The first few months of the employee should be spent familiarizing themselves with the company. This includes understanding the company colors, company culture, company office details, and having access to the company email address. On-the-job training and building relationships with colleagues should also be the priority.
Do's of Effective Onboarding programs
Share An Onboarding Plan
A comprehensive checklist helps both the employee and the employer accomplish common goals. From keeping track of the new hire's progress and ensuring regular check-ins, ensure that expectations are met by all parties concerned, and nothing is left to guesswork.
Use Appropriate Onboarding Software
Many organizations turn to software to assist with the onboarding process, but not all software is created equal. The right platform can make the onboarding process fun and more efficient. Customizing a company’s online onboarding portal helps your new employees get up to speed quickly and become part of the family seamlessly.
Familiarize The Employee with The Services Provided
The employee needs to be familiar with all the services provided by the company. This helps them understand his role in the bigger picture and plan his journey for a progressive career ahead.
Some of the companies that used onboarding to the road of success
With the second-highest value, Google, with over 130 000 employees as of 2021, has higher expectations of developing vital relationships with its co-workers. To prepare employees for their new roles at Google, the HR team analyzed their difficulties and resolved them by instilling a simple interactive onboarding program.
Google implemented a strategic process called “just-in-time nudges” to boost its employee's engagement and familiarize the team members with the company's policies. The recipient is informed about their next course of action in the form of nudges. They also monitor the employee’s progress, and these nudges have four characteristics: gentle, easy to execute, relevant, and timely.
The Nooglers (new Google hires) received these reminders themselves. This resulted in “Nudging” Nooglers exposing them to relevant information faster. With Google’s new hire onboarding process, the employee experience moved up a notch and increased by 25%, in the case of new employee productivity.
Since its inception, Netflix has experienced tremendous success, building an engaging production company around its employees. According to a report by Hired, Netflix has been established as the most attractive place to work in.
Netflix embraces a ‘welcome home’ approach and creates a secure feeling to set the new hire's success from day one. Their company culture instils values and balances freedom with responsibility in their 12,000+ employees. The smooth transition includes an orientation process that spreads over the first three months of the new hire’s employment period. The key is to bring intense training and trusted relationships with other employees.
To make the atmosphere welcoming and procedures simple for the new hires, Netflix’s company culture provided them with all the necessary information. This leaves no room for errors, and the new employees can equip themselves with the company policies. This work culture has enabled Netflix to show off an employee turnover rate of 11% in 2020 (Smith, 2021) compared to its competitors. The results are ahead and better than other giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
For a company that has built its niche around business networking, HR management, and career-building, excellent onboarding practices are expected.
LinkedIn's Jason Weeman believes in engaging talent with curiosity to unlock potential. The company has a 7-component onboarding strategy to ensure the new hire’s transformational experiences. From exploring the company to launching a tour, the investment in employee engagement is rich and fulfilling. A well-rounded onboarding program is critical to both employer and employee.
In 2014, LinkedIn was awarded a bronze Brandon hall award regarding the introduction for its best onboarding program. Their success rate also highlighted a revenue growth of 27% year after year.
With these market giants making their way to success with their consistent experience in onboarding with the implementation of the right communication tools with their employees, the onboarding made these companies stand out in the market. These companies ensure a strategic onboarding process for high employee engagement and retention rates.
It Is More than Just An Offer Letter
The onboarding process is much more than an offer letter to the hire. It includes
- Background details checks
- Remote onboarding formalities
- Provision of employee handbook
- Access to technologies related to the job profile
Ensure smooth employee onboarding processes with the right software to complete due diligence of the new talent. The employee onboarding process checklist should be comprehensive and bring equal and fair onboarding formalities to all. Every organization follows its listicle of onboarding, but the committed HR team does not disappoint when it comes to hard work and the dedication required to garner and retain the right employees
Onboarding steps done practically with the right kind of training given to the HR and other vital members can elevate the company's fate to newer heights. The administrative tasks do not get over with onboarding but extend to a regular check-in schedule and 60-day pulse check-ins. They also play a crucial role in analyzing the business performance of the newly onboarded employees, along with the provision of help that might be needed to achieve the Key performance indicators.
HRs also spend extra time providing on-the-job training programs for the employees as part of the hiring process to fill any skill gaps the employee might have. Often, onboarding is just thought to the process of providing the offer letter, but there’s so much more than just filling out paperwork and getting a new employee up-to-speed on what they need to do for their first day at work!
A Comprehensive Employee Welcome with a Strong Onboarding Strategy
The process starts during the hiring phase with pre-boarding assessments. These are designed to help your company better understand how individuals perform in various roles before committing them to an official offer letter. It continues through training orientation where employees go over all aspects of what is expected from them personally and professionally and HR policies like vacation time, sick leave, paid holidays, pay rates, or bonuses.
HR and its cohesive team are among the essential pillars of the company and its growth. While their job descriptions are to find, screen, recruit, and train job applicants and administer employee-benefit programs, HR teams enable onboarding and take care of its existing employees and the company-wide goals. As Betty Bendor would like to say, when people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at their homes.
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