Employee onboarding is the process of integrating a newly hired employee into a company, as well as its culture. Onboarding is meant to instill the training, motivation, and information needed to become an efficient team member. When done correctly, onboarding can be an invaluable opportunity to create a culture of employee appreciation and engagement. Additionally, employees who are correctly onboarded are more likely to stay with their company for longer. Statistically speaking, properly onboarded employees show better retention by 25%, and better performance by 11%. Anyone who has experienced a less-than-stellar onboarding process will share that it leads to an equally disappointing work experience. Poor onboarding processes can be an unfortunate cause for employees to perform poorly or even leave a company. With 2022, managers are presented with a new year and a new chance to revamp their onboarding processes.
Here are a few onboarding best practices to put into play in 2022:
1. Start with a thorough onboarding plan.
The first step to onboarding success is a well thought out, complete plan. In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Outlining a detailed plan for bringing on new hires helps you make onboarding a priority that will stick. Setting crystal clear expectations should be a major part of this onboarding plan. Determine how you will convey responsibilities, workflow, and reporting methods to your new hires. It’s also important to also consider how you will keep micromanagement to a minimum. While it might be tempting to keep an extra tight eye on your new hires because they’re, well…new, it can lead to feelings of confinement and diminished creativity.
What sort of ship would you like to run and how will you run it? This is the baseline of considerations for building your onboarding plan. Once you’ve detailed out your plan thoroughly, here are a list of questions to ask yourself to ensure that all bases have been covered:
- When will onboarding begin?
- How long will the onboarding process last?
- What is the goal you are trying to achieve by the end of the process?
- What impression should your new employees walk away with on their first day on the job?
- What should new employees know about your company’s culture?
- What are your metrics for success—your KPIs? How will you convey their importance to new hires?
- What issues or obstacles may come into play?
- What is the feedback process for new hires? How will you set a clear expectation that feedback will occur frequently?
- Who all will be involved in the onboarding process?
- Finally, is the onboarding process totally cost-effective?
If your plan answers all of these questions and there are no gaps, then you’ve created a detailed plan. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board. It may feel time-consuming, but the investment of time into planning your onboarding strategy will be worth it.
2. Hit the ground running from day one!
Once your onboarding process is thoroughly planned out, it’s time to get going! It is crucial to be effective and efficient in bringing on new hires from their very first day at work.
First and foremost, set clear expectations with new hires. From the moment a freshly hired employee walks through the door, they should fully understand what their responsibilities are in the job position they have been hired for. One way you can make this happen is by starting the onboarding process early on. In the days or weeks prior to their first day at work, new hires can be learning the ins and outs of the tasks they will be expected to complete on a daily, quarterly, and annual basis. Here are a few early onboarding best practices:
- Have the new hire’s immediate team send a welcome email featuring reasons they love working at your company.
- Share relevant information about the job position they’ve been hired for such as an onboarding itinerary, company contact information (i.e., email address and phone number), as well as contact information for other employees in the company.
- A checklist of assignments they will be expected to complete during their first week (or more).
- Reach out to address any of the new hire’s questions or concerns that may arise.
Early onboarding allows for a smooth transition on the first day of work, setting crystal clear expectations without overwhelming new employees.
Another way to hit the ground running is by communicating company culture to your new hires. It’s important for employees to feel like they’re part of the team and clearly contributing to the big picture at work. Creating this sense of belonging at work starts from day one, similarly, feelings of isolation can begin on the first day without proper onboarding. You can make belonging and inclusion a priority during the onboarding process by speaking the “unspoken rules” of company culture, things like: dress code, messaging norms, remote working expectations, virtual meeting etiquette, and level of in-office formalities. Especially in our increasingly digital work-world, it’s important to keep remote workers involved in company culture, which begins in the onboarding process.
You may also consider scheduling meet and greet opportunities during the new hires’ first few days or weeks at work to further integrate them. This is a great way for new employees to meet other, more senior employees at the company. It’s also a way to effectively introduce the new hire to the rest of the office. A well-acquainted team leads to unity at work, which means higher retention rates, happier employees, and better performance.
Additionally, it is imperative to set attainable yet challenging goals as soon as your new hire begins work. This sets the expectation that your new employee is to be an achiever, and that reaching goals at work is a thing to be praised and celebrated. Further, make sure the new hire knows the growth potential that is available to them. A new employee who starts their job on day one with the goal to grow in the company already has the motivation that will lend to a long, successful career at the company.
There’s an undeniably fine line between overwhelming or burning out a new hire and giving them an informational, exhilarating start to their new job. It is, however, very important to hit the ground running when it comes to the new hire onboarding process.
3. Make it digital-friendly.
We are all fully aware that the Covid-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we work. Our new reality of seemingly endless remote work opportunities means everything must be adjusted to fit remote work, including onboarding. All onboarding processes: meet and greets, company culture integration, goal setting, etc., should be adaptable to your remote workers. When onboarding can be made digital-friendly, it can increase employee retention. Effective onboarding processes encourage new hires to stay in a company for the long run by convincing them that maintaining motivation and effort will help them grow professionally. On that note, a team that has been together for a while and has committed to performing well will do just that—perform well. Creating unified, motivated, productive remote teams can be done by conducting effective digital onboarding processes. For more insight, check out our post “Pandemic: Problem or Potential?“.
4. Keep it human.
Here at Blaast, we encourage remembering that work is a human experience, affected by human tendencies. For a new hire, it’s their first day doing something new, often in a totally new environment. Remember that new hires at any stage, whether they be entry level workers or senior level workers, are likely nervous to begin this new role. Combat these new job jitters by reminding your new hires that you care for their well-being beyond what they accomplish at work. Make a point that your company encourages work-life balance and understands that employee engagement is critical to success. For more examples of how to engage employees, check out our post, “Employee Engagement: What’s the ROI?“.
Just like anything, the way a new hire begins at a new company sets the tone for the rest of their career. It is vital to have an effective onboarding process in order to have successful employees and in turn a successful company. To recap, it’s a new year, and consequentially the perfect opportunity to revamp your onboarding strategies. Step one: come up with a thorough, well thought out plan. Include even the nitty-gritty details, and allow other managers, team leaders, and HR managers to contribute to the agenda. Also, be sure to hit the ground running when your new hires start. From day one they should be setting goals, meeting people around the office, and beginning role-relevant tasks. Consider early onboarding to make that first day transition even smoother. Third, make sure your onboarding process is remote-friendly. When planning the onboarding process, consider how each step might be adapted for your remote-working new hires. Last, keep it human. Remember that your new hires are people, first, prone to make mistakes but driven by success. Ease their nerves throughout the onboarding process. These best practices are a few elements that will lead your 2022 new hires to success. Keep them in mind as you customize your company’s onboarding strategies so you can set up for flourishing, long-term employees in the future.