Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into your organisation and providing them with the right knowledge, skills, and behaviours they need to succeed in their new role. It is an important extension of the recruitment process as it can have a significant impact on employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
According to a report by Glassdoor, organisations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. On the other hand, a poor onboarding experience can lead to high turnover rates, low morale, and wasted resources.
With that in mind, how can you ensure that your new hires have a positive onboarding experience that sets them up for long-term success?
Start Communicating Before the First Day
The best way to ensure a smooth first day is to prepare well in advance. From the moment you have offered the role, you want to keep the communication going with your new employee to ensure they remain committed and excited to join you. This is especially key where notice periods are 2 months or more.
Before the employee starts their work, you have the perfect opportunity to:
- Send them a welcome email or package, this could include some branded items, such as a mug or coaster, to show your appreciation and excitement.
- Provide them with an induction schedule and agenda, so they know what to expect and how to prepare.
- Ask them to complete any administrative tasks or paperwork electronically, such as new employee payroll forms, signing of their contract of employment or complete any pre-employment checks such as DBS.
- Introduce them to their team members and manager and encourage them to ask any questions they might have.
- If they have a long notice period before they can start with you, you could invite the employee around the mid-point to attend a lunch with their new team as a meet and greet before they start.
- Set up their work equipment, accounts, passwords, and access rights, and test them for functionality.
Make the First Day Count
The first day of work is a memorable moment for any new employee. It is your opportunity to make a positive first impression and create a lasting connection.
No matter the seniority or experience, most people are somewhat worried about starting something new, so make sure that you are ready for them and to have your diary cleared so you can spend quality time with your new employee. The last thing you need is to try and set everything up for the employee or be disturbed and add to the anxiety.
Ideally you send the team an email to remind them that the new employee is starting and introduce them by highlighting their role and background (be careful of UK GDPR breaches).
Be patient and supportive and check in with them regularly throughout the day. By making the first day count, you can show your new hires that you care about them and that they are valued members of your organisation.
Involve Team Members in the Onboarding Process
Successful onboarding is a collaborative effort that involves various team members, not just hiring managers and HR professionals. By involving other employees in the process, you can help your new employees build relationships, understand team dynamics, and feel a part of the organisation.
Within the first week of them starting, you want to arrange formal team introductions and informal social gatherings, such as coffee breaks, this can be done virtually, if you are hybrid working. Ask your existing team to be welcoming and encourage them to be open to assist the new employee with any questions they may have.
Involve the new employee in meetings and events straight away. This will make them feel part of the team immediately. As they are new, you may want to encourage them to speak up in meetings and ensure that other team members do the same.
By involving team members in the process, you can foster a sense of belonging and trust among your new hires and existing employees.
Provide Training and Development Opportunities
Training is an essential component of onboarding that helps new employees acquire the skills and knowledge they need to perform their roles effectively. It also helps them grow professionally and personally within your organisation.
Create a personalised learning plan for each new hire that outlines their goals, expectations, responsibilities, timelines, and resources in line with the requirements of the role. Use a variety of training methods and formats, such as online courses, videos, podcasts, webinars, workshops, coaching sessions etc.
A good way of learning the culture and ways of working in the organisation is to provide opportunities for hands-on learning and practice through shadowing other employees or working on real projects.
Make sure to monitor and evaluate the progress and performance of each new hire through regular feedback sessions and assessments. By providing training and development opportunities you can help your new hires develop their competencies confidence.
Onboarding is a vital part of the hiring process that can make or break your new employees’ success. By following these best practices and techniques, you can create a positive onboarding experience that will help your new hires integrate into your organisation and thrive in their roles.
Do make sure that onboarding is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that lasts for several weeks or months. It is important to revisit your onboarding process frequently to ensure that it is effective.