Effective employee onboarding – 4 things to consider​

First impressions last. A structured start for new hires is key for companies. What is the secret behind successful employee onboarding?

Effective employee onboarding – 4 things to consider

We have all been new at a job at some point. Although it can be quite thrilling, it is no bed of roses. First impressions last and a structured start for new hires is key for companies looking to grow and develop talent.

According to recent research conducted by Glassdoor, a positive onboarding experience also has a significant impact on business performance. It can improve retention with 82 percent and increase productivity with 70 percent.

What is employee onboarding?

Now that we have established the importance of a smooth onboarding process, let’s have a look at what it means.

Onboarding is the initial process of assimilating new hires into an organization. Basically, it boils down to equipping employees with the right tools and resources so they can succeed in their new role.

A positive onboarding experience can improve retention with 82 percent and increase productivity with 70 percent.

Traditionally, many companies believe that onboarding begins at the employee’s first official day.

Au contraire.

The process starts already in the recruitment phase and takes a bumpy road through contract signing and communication before the employee starts. You can’t truly mark onboarding as “done” until the employee has passed the probationary period, which usually lasts for 6 to 12 months.

So, what is the secret behind a successful onboarding process? Let us dive into our best tips.

1. Think digital-first

Even though buzzwords like digital transformation and digitalization are frequently used in company board meetings, plenty of HR processes are of a manual nature. Quick poll: if you answer “yes” to any of the questions below, you should probably look over your HR processes.

  • Have you asked a new recruit for personal details via email?
  • Do you store employee data, like meeting notes or emergency contacts, locally on your computer?
  • Do you sign employee contracts on physical paper and store them in folders?

Not only does this pose a risk to efficiency; saving sensitive data could potentially infringe on employee privacy rights.

Establishing a digital-first approach in your onboarding will facilitate the process. Not only can you keep track of all tasks and to-dos in one place, but you also avoid working in silos or, even worse, miss out on crucial steps in during the onboarding. All while keeping the data safe and GDPR compliant.

Not only can you keep track of all tasks in one place, but you also avoid working in silos. All while keeping the data safe and GDPR compliant.

2. Get started before the employees start

As mentioned before, the onboarding process needs to start long ahead of the first official day.

As the employer, you have a huge responsibility to help the new employee get acquainted with the company. This can include various of task like reading the corporate handbook, listening to a personal message from the CEO, or familiarize him or herself with the company culture.

There is also an internal to-do list of things that need to be taken care of. IT needs to order equipment and the manager must book introductory meetings with key stakeholders in the organization. Needless to say, this is not an area you should be tampering with.

3. Create a long-term onboarding plan

The first week truly sets the tone and should not be underestimated. Make sure that the computer is ordered (if needed), accounts are set up, and office keys are ready at the desk when the employee arrives. Preferably with a nice and welcoming greeting.

To maximize onboarding, it is important not to lose focus on other milestones and introductions.

Our best suggestion here is to put up a long-term onboarding plan that does not only focus on the first week, but rather the first year. Make sure to set off time for feedback sessions and catch-ups to fully understand how the employee has experienced his or her first time.

4. Make sure they feel part of the team

To create a sense of belonging it is important to introduce the team to an employee before he or she starts. Some organizations present the team during the recruitment phase, but that is not enough. Invite the new employee for a cup of coffee a week before the start date so he or she can get to know the closest colleagues.

Do not forget to assign a mentor that can give some extra love and support during the initial period.

Another great way to create an inclusive environment is to arrange a team lunch during the first week. You can also make sure that the newly hired is a part of less formal activities and feel included.

Key takeaways

  • A successful onboarding is of great importance for the entire company and can improve productivity with 70 percent.
  • You can’t afford a bad start. It’s estimated that companies lose over $10,000/year due to a poor onboarding experience.
  • Onboarding begins long before the employee starts his/her job. Create clear tasks and prepare in time.
  • First impressions last, but don’t underestimate the importance of a long-term plan. Avoid information overload early on.
  • Have a digital-first approach and use HR systems to structure your onboarding process and engage employees.

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