Employees are most engaged and productive during their first 6 months at their new place of employment. So this is the best time to integrate them into your company’s culture and work ethic. Any training, engagement, and relationship building done during this time is likely to carry them through their employment with you.
Unfortunately, many employees miss the opportunity to absorb new employees by having a poor onboarding process. After spending a lot of time and money on the hiring process, employers can lose the right candidate through having poor employee onboarding. 40% of employees that resign do so within the first 6 months of employment.
On the other hand, 91% of companies with an engaging onboarding program retain all first-year employees. So, having an effective onboarding program is key to employee retention.
Many companies that have an employee onboarding program focus on completing paperwork and reviewing rules and regulations. While it is necessary to tick the legal boxes, onboarding should also be a time for employees to get the tools they need to thrive at their job.
The Harvard Business Review found that the main reasons for high employee turnover in their first year are lack of solid work relationships and difficulty integrating into the corporate culture.
How to Improve Your Employee Onboarding Process
Read on for the complete guide on how to improve your employee onboarding process.
1. Get the Basics Out of the Way
New employees must fill in regulatory paperwork such as bank information, insurance details, retirement scheme sign up, etc. It’s best to get all the paperwork done as fast and seamlessly as possible. Software like this one https://Workbright.com/employee-onboarding-software/ makes it easy for employees to remotely fill in required paperwork.
This means that new employees can use the period between signing an offer letter and their start date to complete any required paperwork. The right onboarding software will give proper instructions and guidance on how to submit information so that errors are reduced.
By the time the employee reports for work, all the documentation, and compliance training is complete. So, you can now focus on the harder elements of onboarding, such as integrating them into your new team.
Some companies buy software that allows them to conduct other aspects of pre-employment onboarding. Once the employee signs their offer letter, nondisclosure agreements, and employment contracts, there is no reason why you can’t share basic company information with them.
If you have an employee intranet or website, grant them access before their official start date. They can learn your standing operating procedures, company history and values, technology systems, etc. This will help reduce any first-day stress or anxiety that they may be having.
2. Get Off to a Great Start
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Impress your new employees by giving them a fun and memorable “first day”. Ensure that everyone in the team knows that the new employee will be starting by sending out a company-wide email.
The email should mention their name, which position and team they will be in, and their previous experience. You may also add in any other fun personal information the new employee may want to share. To reduce any anxiety your new hire may have, have someone from your team call the new employee the day before their start date.
During the call, you can give the new hire information on what to expect on their first day. You can also answer any questions that they may have regarding your onboarding process. Ensure that the employee’s workstation is clean and fully set up.
Any equipment that requires log-ins and passwords should also be prepared and ready. In case the employee will be wearing a uniform or PPE, get their sizes in advance so that these can also be ready for them on the first day. Company swag goes a long way to brightening an employee’s first day, so if your budget allows it to give them a welcome bag.
Schedule a wide array of activities for the first day. For instance, you can have a company tour to show the employee your work environment. They will quickly need to know where the emergency exits, restrooms, vending machines, and break rooms are.
You can also have a few orientation training on their first day. A new hire lunch is a great way to introduce the employees to their team or company leadership. Whatever you do, don’t overload your employee with paperwork or a barrage of information. Keep everything light and deliver any information in small, digestible amounts.
Another good idea to make your new hire feel welcome on their first day is to have a designated welcome team. Some companies have a group of employees whose mission is to welcome new employees and help them quickly integrate into the company. This team is in charge of preparing the new employee’s workspace and even adding touches like flowers, gifts, coffee, etc.
3. Create Opportunities for New Employees to Build Connections
New employees need to build the right relationships and connections if they are to succeed in their new roles. Your employee onboarding process should create opportunities for your new hires to connect to the right people to build their careers. During their first week, the new employee should have a new hire lunch with their new team.
This will allow them to meet and know their colleagues in a relaxed setting. You could also schedule a team-building activity for the new hire’s team, department, or even companywide. This will give new employees a chance to build connections with established employees and learn how they work.
Team Building events are a great way for new employees to get integrated into their new company. Everyone gets to work together to resolve challenges, so all employees learn a lot about how to work best together. The hiring manager can also use employee onboarding to make strategic introductions between new employees and potential mentors or buddies.
The hiring manager should know the new hire’s career goals, and they already know other people in the organization. So it would be easier for them to pair up the new hire with suitable people. These individuals could help them succeed and thrive at their new place of work.
If you’re onboarding several new employees at one go, you can create a “new hires” group for them. Most companies have collaborative software such as Microsoft teams, Slack, or even WhatsApp, where the new hires can chat in an informal group setting and share any challenges. Their colleagues can then chip in and offer advice on how they overcome similar challenges. It can also be a forum to share opportunities, wins, and onboarding experiences.
If possible, the company should have a coach that can help new hires succeed at their new job. The coach would help the employees to identify a vision, goals, and strategies in line with the company vision and strategy. Monthly meetings with the coach would help the employee identify wins and build confidence to succeed in their new role.
When the employee faces challenges, the coach could help them identify ways to handle problems.
4. Set Up an Onboarding Calendar
Onboarding a new employee should ideally take a whole year. The first month would have most of the activities and training. You should have in-person (or in-video) orientation sessions, training on company policies and procedures, introductions to the top leadership, etc.
After the first month, plan check-in sessions, team building, training, and other activities over the rest of the year. To ensure that you don’t miss anything, it’s best to have an onboarding calendar with reminders for each activity. Schedule regular communication such as a one-to-one meeting or a call with someone from the HR team to find out how the employee is doing.
During the calls, you can get feedback on any challenges that the employee is facing so that these can be smoothed out. Frequent communications with the new hire will also give you insight into areas of your onboarding process that need improvement.
5. Create Structured Interactions Between the New Employees and Their Managers
An employee’s direct manager or supervisor has the most influence on their engagement levels. Ensure that a new employee fully settles into the new company by encouraging their direct line managers to interact with them. Within their first few days, the manager should meet with the employee and let them know what they expect.
Departmental goals, performance standards, and KPI’s can be laid out so that the employee knows how their performance will be measured. The manager can offer support through on-the-job training or by providing any resources the employee may need to succeed. Obstructive and unapproachable managers and supervisors can greatly inhibit a new hire’s success.
To ensure that managers check in with new hires regularly, schedule one-to-one meetings between them and the new hires. Follow up to ensure that the meetings took place and any action points closed. Encourage the manager to recognize any new hires that do a job well.
Recognition is a great strategy to increase employee engagement levels. Also, encourage managers to take an interest in employee development and career growth. You will find that managers that display caring interest in their employee’s growth will report higher retention levels.
6. Keep Your Resources Accessible
Make sure that your new hire is always supported by keeping your resources accessible. All your onboarding training material should be loaded into your employee intranet. This will allow employees to access it whenever they want to look something up.
The internet has also made it possible to have training courses online so that employees can go through training at their own pace. You should also give your new employees a “buddy” that they can consult whenever they have a question or problem.
Buddies are current employees that work in the same department and can provide guidance on any aspects of the job. They can also advise on issues such as where to buy lunch, which bus to take to work etc.
7. Get Feedback
One of the best ways to improve your onboarding program is to get feedback from employees that have gone through the process. Create surveys to check in with employees 1 month, 3 months, and 1 year after their employment. Ask the employees what they would like to see more of and less of.
You can also conduct a quiz to check how well they have integrated your company culture and values. You should also ask managers and supervisors to chip in on your onboarding and training process. They work with the new hires, so they can have unique insight on what to include in your new employee onboarding.
Another important way to get feedback is to ask employees why they left their previous job. This insight could help you to avoid the mistakes their previous company made. You can also research how other companies conduct employee onboarding and benchmark yourself against them. Reading articles and research on onboarding can also give you great ideas on how to improve your program.
8. Learn How to Improve Your Employee Onboarding Process
Many new employees experience stress, anxiety, and frustration during their first few months at a new job. New hires may have years of previous work experience. But they don’t yet understand your business, have no work relationships, and are unsure about what they should be doing.
It’s no wonder that without the proper guidance and support, many employees quit new jobs within 6 months of signing a contract. Employers can increase their employee engagement and retention levels by having a well-structured employee onboarding program.
HR teams can accelerate the learning and integration of new employees through team-building events, targeted on-the-job training, onboarding software, and strategic introductions to the right mentors.
Adopt some of these practices for your company to improve the employee experience. For more information on employee onboarding and the best onboarding software, read the rest of our blog.