To do that correctly, we've compiled this list of employee onboarding best practices that can help improve a new hire's experience.
These employee onboarding best practices are streamlined and consistent, allowing an organization to do more than simply introduce a new hire to the company. A solid onboarding experience can unlock the following benefits for an organization:
Why is an optimized employee onboarding process important?
Employee onboarding is important because it provides a structured program to efficiently, effectively, and successfully integrate new hires into an organization. The more streamlined your employee onboarding process is, the faster it is for new hires to become productive. An engaging onboarding experience can reduce employee churn and foster a better relationship between a company and newly hired team members.
Let's dive into the best practices for employee onboarding.
Employee onboarding best practices
1.Use the right onboarding software
2.Communicate before initial onboarding
3.Practice pre-boarding employees
4.Send a welcome packet
5.Create first-day preparations
6.Introduce new hires to the team
7.Assign a mentor or buddy
8.Set realistic and attainable goals
9.Share their development plan
10.Avoid overwhelming them with information
1. Use the right onboarding software
One of the best practices for onboarding starts with the organization and its leveraging of employee onboarding software. With the abrupt change to fully remote working, a digital onboarding solution like Continu can help organizations and HR professionals:
Assign learning and training materials to new hires
Track the progress of new hire onboarding
Provide company information 24/7
Integrate new employees much faster
Create an engaging onboarding experience
We put this as our first tip for improved employee onboarding as it can solve the majority of onboarding problems that may arise. By using a modern learning platform, your organization can handle HR, onboarding, sales, training, and learning within a single tool.
An Ultimate Guide for a Successful Onboarding Process
Communication between an organization and its employees is key. There are a variety of benefits to corporate communication and it's not just in the office. The time between hiring and initial onboarding is a crucial time to stay in communication with new hires.
In fact, 82% of organizations believe that communication throughout the entire onboarding process (especially before) leads to better engagement with new employees.
For this best practice of employee onboarding, try the following:
Stay in constant email or phone communication until an employee's first day
Have their direct manager reach out to introduce themselves
A message from the CEO can go a long way in creating a relationship
Team members can start following them on social media
There are a lot more ways to keep communicating during the onboarding process, but anything is better than a complete disconnect.
3. Practice pre-boarding employees
Pre-onboarding is the process of starting an employee's onboarding experience BEFORE their first day. This helps HR professionals gather required paperwork, documents, company information, and the new hire's information ahead of time.
Practicing a few employee pre-boarding best practices improves the new hire onboarding experience by:
Organizing everything ahead of time
Making their first day about joining the team, not just signing papers
Shows your HR professionals are organized and experienced
Demonstrates the organization's appreciation of the new hire
Pre-packages everything for quicker consumption
Introduce them to team members or provide contact information
4. Send a welcome kit
A new employee welcome packet says a lot about the organization. First, it demonstrates to the new hire that the organization is "investing" in their future by including some paid, branded, or personalized items. Secondly, the organization is providing new hires with everything they'll need to succeed. Lastly, this new hire welcome kit does exactly what it's meant to...welcome the new hire.
Some popular welcome packet items are:
Company stickers for brand awareness
T-shirts, hoodies, hats, and other clothing items
Remote work tools like a laptop, mouse, keyboard, and headset
Fun, branded knick-knacks to keep at their desk
Letters from the board members
Journals, notebooks, and USB drives
Some companies use this as a hiring incentive within job descriptions and previous employees tend to post their welcome kits on social media, spreading even more brand awareness.
5. Create first-day preparations
Another employee onboarding best practice is ensuring the new hire's first day or week of onboarding is scheduled and organized. There's nothing worse than an unorganized onboarding experience full of dead spots, sitting around, and waiting for your hiring manager to get their stuff together.
To ensure a streamlined first day of onboarding:
Onboarding documents and tax information should be signed
Software, logins, email, and other tools set up
Meetings scheduled for initial introductions
Initial training assigned in the company's LMS
Links to important references and company data
With all the boring document signing, company policies, payroll info, and account logins out of the way, the new hire can now partake in the more fun and engaging aspects of onboarding.
6. Introduce new hires to the team
Introducing new hires to team members is definitely a best practice for employee onboarding. Picture joining a company and aren't introduced, let alone mentioned to the rest of your team, that would be pretty isolating, correct?
Doing so enables the communication between them and their new team members as well as where everyone sits within the company. It also provides a sense of inclusion and belonging within the organization.
Here are a few best practices for introducing a new hire:
Set up a 1 on 1 with their direct manager
Schedule a group meeting with the rest of the company
Provide ice-breaker questions to answer
Share the hiring news on social media
Mention the new teammate on Slack
It doesn't particularly matter which method you use to introduce them, as long as the rest of the company and team are aware of this new hire.
7. Assign a mentor or buddy
A mentorship program is a solid best practice for employee onboarding. This allows employees to mentor or "buddy-up" with a new hire and shows them the ropes. These mentors are there to show them around the office, answer common questions, get a sense of their schedule, and get familiar with their new job roles.
Mentors are great for employee onboarding because they:
Provide the first relationship with new team members
Answer common questions about the company, role, or department
Give context to work-related rules and guidelines
Include new hires in cross-departmental communication
The mentor is there to be a friendly face a new hire can turn to when integrating with an organization. They also act as a middle-person to avoid turning to upper-level management or the HR department to answer questions.
8. Set realistic and attainable goals
This employee onboarding best practice is all about setting SMART goals that the new hire understands, agrees with, and strives to achieve. These goals are there to set an initial benchmark for the employee to base their performance on. Without initial goal-setting, the new hire won't have a number, metric, or KPI they can try to reach and compare themselves to.
Here are some best practices for setting new hire goals during or after onboarding:
Develop unique goals personalized for the employee
They should fit within the department and organization's goals
Setting far-stretched goals can discourage your new hire when they can't achieve these results. By creating realistic and attainable goals that your employee can achieve, they'll gain more satisfaction in their work. Then when it comes time to update goals to the next level, they'll be more comfortable and know the ways they can achieve these goals.
9. Share the employee development plan
After initial introductory meetings and paperwork, it is a best practice for employee onboarding to share their development plan. Onboarding is the perfect opportunity to put all the cards on the table: salary, benefits, goals, and progression. Meaning, that they thought of a learning path that can improve the employee's skills while giving them the opportunity to advance their career into more managerial positions.
Sharing an employee's plan for development during onboarding can:
When new hires are aware of their development plan during onboarding, they see right from the start how to go from their current position to eventually hold senior executive-level positions.
10. Avoid overwhelming new hires with information
Sending new hires too much information or even too little information can cause onboarding overload. A best practice for employee onboarding is to provide just the right amount of information to get the point across.
Starting a new position at a company is already scary enough, then tossing more fuel on the fire makes it even worse. That's exactly what it's like to overwhelm a new hire with a giant list of training, videos, assessments, documents, and signatures.
Try the following tactics for delivering content to new hires during onboarding:
Use your learning management system effectively to host documents
Create a progression for learning, training, and information
That's why organization and scheduling are best practices for new hire onboarding. It creates an easy-to-follow schedule where you can provide new information slowly and ensure new employees retain what they've learned during onboarding.
11. Check-in frequently
To ensure new hires have assimilated into the organization effectively and have everything they need to succeed, it's important to check in frequently. Now "frequently" doesn't have to be daily or even weekly, a typical check-in timeline is the 30/60/90 day timeframe.
This check-in timeline provides just enough distance from the employee where you're not overburdening them or setting unnecessary meetings. Plus they would have enough time to formulate their opinions of the company and their role.
After 30 days the employee has been in the company for long enough to develop an impression of the organization
Once 60 days pass, the employee has a firm grasp of their job duties, responsibilities, and management
Finally, post 90 days, the employee has worked for an entire fiscal quarter and has data to back up their goal progression
Each check-in period post onboarding should be a different conversation. These check-in conversations will range from "How's your experience with the company?" to "What would you like to see implemented for next quarter?". Frequent check-ins are a great way to stay in communication with the employee and judge how your onboarding has set them up for success.
12. Collect feedback
No process is ever complete, especially onboarding new hires. Collecting feedback from new hires before, during, and after their experience is an important employee onboarding best practice. Use your LMS to send out assessments, forms, quizzes, and even video capture to have new hires explain their onboarding experience.
The data you gather from new hire onboarding feedback is incredibly valuable. Use this feedback to:
Improve the onboarding process
Find ways to automate repetitive tasks
Get new hires up and running faster
Create a better onboarding experience
Shorten the onboarding process time
Onboarding feedback is a gold mine for improvement methods.