Employee Onboarding Best Practices

When hiring new employees, you want to ensure they have the tools to do their jobs as effectively as possible. Learn how a successful employee onboarding program can help.

While some HR managers feel they’ve done their part after handing over a recruit to their reporting manager, successful companies know the importance of spending a few months guiding new employees with onboarding best practices. But what are the right steps to follow to ensure new recruits thrive in their roles? Read on to learn how the employee onboarding process can increase employee engagement and strengthen company culture.

What Are Employee Onboarding Best Practices, and Why Should You Implement Them?

Employee onboarding provides new hires with the tools and information they need to be productive. It’s your best chance to instill your corporate culture in new employees, and it’s also your opportunity to create a deep connection between your new hires and your existing team. 

Onboarding is also different from employee orientation. Employee orientation is the basic introduction of a new employee to their company, team, and role, and it can take anywhere from a day to a week. New employee onboarding is a comprehensive process that can take anywhere from three months to a year and requires a lot of time and effort from the company as a whole. Here are five reasons why companies should dedicate their resources to this process.

1. Onboarding Increases Employee Retention and Engagement

Employee onboarding saves on recruitment training and costs because it helps to fuel employee engagement. According to LinkedIn, 69% of employees that experience a great onboarding best practices program stays with the company for three years or more. One of the reasons: completing an entire employee onboarding gives hires a sense of purpose, connection, and direction. It helps them understand their importance in the team, which reduces anxiety around job security. 

2. Onboarding Establishes Company Culture 

Employees are more likely to embody your desired values and company culture if they go through a thorough onboarding process. This gives them the chance to forge a deeper connection with the company itself by better understanding both the procedures and the people.

3. Onboarding Enhances Productivity

Employees that go through a great onboarding program have a better understanding of their job. This greatly increases their productivity and reduces costly errors. Through onboarding, employees get clarity on their KPIs and work deliverables so they can work at meeting or even exceeding these goals.  

4. Onboarding Reduces Legal Liabilities 

Using an employee onboarding checklist ensures that you cover all statutory requirements around employment and helps you avoid government fines. Your checklist should specify all the training, contracts, and legal documents that new employees must sign or provide.

5. Onboarding Reduces Turnover Costs 

Did you know the price of replacing an employee can cost about $6,110? Though some employees leave for unavoidable reasons, you can make it easier for them to stay by implementing a strong onboarding program. Onboarding equips employees with the skills and confidence required to succeed at their jobs and creates an environment of trust between the new employee and your organization.  

How to Onboard a New Employee 

If you’re ready to implement onboarding into your organization, follow the five steps below to ensure best onboarding practices.

1. Start the Onboarding Process as Soon as You Hire (AKA Preboarding)

As soon as the new hire signs your offer letter, an HR representative or manager should call the recruit and let them know the next steps. This includes what to expect on their first day and the coming months. You can also build excitement about their new role by mailing them a new employee kit or sending them interesting material about your company, current team, and company culture. Have the employees sign onboarding forms and submit statutory documentation before their first day, and get them registered if you have an employee portal.  

2. Prepare an Excellent First Day Welcome for New Hires

You can make sure an employee’s first day is memorable for all the right reasons by preparing for it. Start by letting current employees know that you’ve hired a new employee and when they’ll first report to work. Ensure that their workspace is clean and has everything they need for their job, including a new employee kit on their desk. On their first day, arrange a meet and greet with their team members, managers, senior leaders, and anyone else they’ll be interacting with frequently. Emphasize the interdependence between different teams and departments so that the recruit can value the importance of teamwork and connection. If the budget allows it, arrange a team lunch to enhance teambuilding! You can also create a welcome bag with gifts and branded company swag.

3. Use Modern Technology to Make the Process Easier 

Technology has made tasks like filling out forms and conducting training much easier. Make sure your employee onboarding software has a portal where employees can quickly access onboarding videos, forms, and information. Bonus: you can leave a welcome message for them on your recognition platform!

4. Build a Lasting Relationship with New Employees 

You can build a lasting relationship between your company and new hires by setting up open channels of communication so your new employees can share any issues, concerns, or suggestions they may have. Make sure to schedule regular one-to-one meetings with the HR department and the employee’s direct manager. You can also arrange to have a peer act as an onboarding buddy who can guide the recruit through company norms.

5. Create a Template for Onboarding New Employees 

Standardize your procedure by creating an Onboarding New Employee template. The HR team and hiring managers should use this each time they onboard a new employee and update the template after each onboarding. For best results, you can request feedback from recently onboarded employees on how you can improve your onboarding process. You can also hold exit interviews for anyone that resigns, which will establish if an improvement in your onboarding process could have prevented their departure. 

Factors to Consider When Employee Onboarding

For most companies, onboarding ensures that new team members are productive, engaged, and integrated into the company. Address the following four steps to make sure your company understands the importance of onboarding. 

1. Employee Education Goes a Long Way

A common mistake some companies make when onboarding new employees is expecting them to know things that they simply haven’t learned yet. Brief your new employees on everything from the dress code to reporting time. This will help reduce frustrations for the new employees and ensure there are no surprises during their orientation and onboarding.

2. Be Ready for the New Recruit 

On their first day, your new employees will be eager to start their new job! In order to be ready for their arrival, start preparing their onboarding schedule as soon as you hire them, making sure you have all the tools and resources they’ll need on their first day.

3. Train Your Team to Be Patient with New Employees

Train your current employees to have reasonable expectations of new team members. It will take them some time to learn your norms, so encourage patience around the learning curve. In addition, managers should confirm that new employees can handle tasks before assigning them.  

4. Incorporate Remote Work into Your Onboarding Plan

In the last few years, remote work and flexible work arrangements have become a standard in many companies. When crafting your new employee onboarding checklist template, make it flexible enough to allow for remote onboarding. You can use technology like video conferencing to conduct training and welcome meetings.

Just like personal relationships take time to form, new employees need time to be fully integrated into your company. Use our tips above to create a successful onboarding program that helps increase employee engagement and retention.