The onboarding process for new employees is an essential integration of newcomers to the company’s culture and helps understand the operative details in the company. Sadly, many employers ignore this crucial step and assume that the newly hired employee would learn independently and become productive faster. Interestingly, research reveals that dedicated and well-structured onboarding programs substantially improve efficiency among newly hired employees.
A structured onboarding process ensures enhanced employee proficiency and higher retention rates. Generally, the first 90 days of a newly hired employee are essential to the training and success prospect. The first few things that you need to consider to design a successful onboarding process include preparing and planning, start of onboarding process, the role of HR in this scenario, making sure that the documents are finalized before an employee’s first day, have a mentor in place, the things a new employee should know about the Company culture, the training process initiated in an organized and pre-structured manner, keeping the training aligned with the career and organizational goals, and initiating the feedback process..
After you have brainstormed about the above-enlisted points, you should outline a clear plan to aid new employees in quickly understanding the workflow and core company policies.
The Most Important Step in Starting with the Onboarding Process
A lot of companies confuse orientation with onboarding; both processes have their significance and cannot be ignored. Orientation is a necessary process in any organization because specific routine tasks and paperwork may be pretty essential. On the other hand, the onboarding process lasts up to twelve months and uniquely involves the management with the employees. With a well-designed onboarding process, you are empowering your newly hired employees for productivity and success.
The critical importance of the onboarding process cannot be emphasized enough. Some experts advise that the onboarding details should be disseminated to the new hires with the job offer. Through this process, the new employees would also have answers to their queries and would be able to understand the system well.
Here are the essential steps of a well-structured onboarding process.
- Stay Ahead by Starting a Day Before
You should be well prepared to give your new hires a warm welcome and a well-prepared onboarding and orientation experience, although this would not happen all by itself. To ensure a smooth process, the hiring teams in your company should have already prepared the necessary procedures before the first day of an employee at a company.
Ideally, you should send all the required documents to a newly hired employee via email. Some companies have online onboarding portals or use professional services. The information found at WorkBright gives us insight into what it takes to create a smooth onboarding experience. This ensures a time-efficient work process because the employee would be able to fill it in advance. You should also have the first week mapped out for your newly hired employees in detail. The tasks would be unique to a company and departments. However, the first week is the most critical time to get your new hires acquainted with the team and coworkers. This would help them stay on top of their game and learn the operational details most effectively. The new hires should also have their respective workspace. A clean and organized workspace optimizes productivity and is also essential to making the employee feel welcomed. Ensure that they have crucial office tools like a calendar week schedule, pen, and paper among other common tools. You may also add a small welcome gift for the newly hired employee! The gift doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and just a welcome card would be a significant step. You should also prepare the team for the newly hired employee and emphasize a welcoming attitude towards the new team member. Similarly, any introductions with the administrative members should be scheduled ahead.
With this step, you should give the newly hired employee a well-structured first day at work.
- The First Day at Work
Your new employee’s first day at work is the big day that you have been preparing for all along as an onboarding process supervisor. On the first day of a new hire, you can add a few more things to do to make the new employee feel welcomed. The first thing is to announce the newly hired team member to the rest of the colleagues. It sets the ground for a good introduction and a candid start. You may also encourage other team members to introduce themselves to the newly hired one.
The next important thing to do on their first day is to give a tour of the workspace to the new team member. The workspace tour would help the newly hired employee to feel comfortable. After this, you can share the schedule of tasks for the first week, so the new member knows what you’re expecting of them. You should also have a mentor or supervisor assigned to the newly hired member. The senior member or mentor should guide the newly hired employee through the fundamental procedures of the company.
- Getting Acquainted during the First Week
Like the first day at a job, the first week also has its uncontested importance. The key to having a successfully planned first week for your newly hired employee is that you don’t overburden them. In case your new employee feels overwhelmed, you risk losing the new hire. During the first week, let them get acquainted with the company standards and basic procedural details. Explain to them the company rules and regulations with the guide below.
Company Culture & the Basics
During this week, take the time to help your new teammate assimilate into the company culture. They must understand the core values of your company and how to embody them best. Share the expectations uniquely associated with their position and how it integrates with the company culture on a large scale. Once your new employee seems to be settling in comfortably, you should have their training started.
Making Regular Follow Ups
Making follow-ups is important because after you have given the tools to get started to your newly hired member, you should be checking in on them to make sure they are not struggling. Let them have some time to get acquainted with the new workspace, mentor, and procedures. After a while, regular follow-ups are essential to ensuring their success. It is usually a brilliant idea to follow up at a weeks’ end. Also, the end of the week is a great time to plan for the next week. You should also communicate the short-term weekly goals and share constructive feedback about their work performance and progress expectations. It is essential to keep the first weeks’ feedback a bit casual, keeping in mind that it is indeed the first week at the job for the new member.
A Pre-Boarding Process
This is quite important to ensuring the success of your onboarding process. It may sound irrelevant to some, but it sets the stage for a successful start. During the pre-boarding process, you can have the employee fill out all the paperwork like identification forms, tax forms, and many others. This clears the first week for other pertinent tasks.
Have you Thought Ahead?
We all have had our first days at work, and the one thing that always seems most helpful is a colleague helping you get acquainted with everyone. You should also encourage the team members and coworkers to help the newly hired employee get settled in. A warm welcome from the fellow members would surely make the new employee feel included. You should also ensure that they have all the necessary tools to get started with the work ahead such as a work laptop, business cards, paper, pens, and more.
Share the Agenda
Without careful planning, the first week of newly hired employees would be nothing less than chaos, causing them to overwhelm and undermine their efficiency significantly. To avoid this situation, you may include different members of the team instead of making one senior member in charge of everything to help train the newly hired employee. Make sure that they have the weekly schedule. It is also vital that they have gone through the employee manual and understand its clauses well. You should also share the unwritten rules (that every company has) instead of leaving them to the imagination of employees.
Communication, Technical Stuff, and More
This rule includes all the essential everyday office rituals, including what technical facilities your company has or the phonebook of employees or getting them familiar with the training materials. Ensure that you have shared this information with the new employee well before sharing the task lists. You should also give them a staff and departmental orientation, somewhat about ‘who’s who and doing what’. Suppose there is no such guide compiled in your company. In that case, you can simply ask the new employee to go over the company website and find out departmental duties and familiarize themselves with different members, essentially, their roles and responsibilities.
The Handy Out of the Box Advice
As an employee, is there something you have learned over time in this company? How about sharing this handy advice with your new colleague? There may be a printer that doesn’t work well and should be avoided or the best time to be at the company cafeteria, whether Kevin likes emails or Emma likes phone calls. Any advice that would make the first few days of your colleague better should be a good start. You can also offer to help them in setting up their new office space. There are specific processes and procedures unique to each company. As a senior, you can share your acquired wisdom with the new colleague and help them avoid common mistakes.
Assign Them A Task
All play and no work make Jack a dull boy. This proverb fits in quite well for the onboarding process. If you keep the onboarding all about training and only training, you may make the new employee feel unempowered and more like a burden to the company. You should alternatively assign them a few tasks to get to actual work and practice what they have learned. Also, it gives them a chance to show you their skills and experience.
With all the above steps, you can make the first week of a new hire quite conducive. Additionally, you can share with them various milestones achieved in the daily, weekly, monthly tasks that help them map out their progress. You should also be available for any questions that the new member may have and ensure that you follow up on them every week in the first few weeks.
- The First Three Months
During the first three months, you should observe noticeable progress in the newly hired employee. By this time, they would have had all the required training completed and would be well acquainted with the environment and procedural details of the workplace.
Once they have completed the first month of service, you should have a candid discussion with the newly hired employee about the overall experience. You should be aware of their progress, things they are struggling with and make them feel welcomed to ask questions. You must emphasize communication and an engaging environment as a senior member and a supervisor of the onboarding process. Ensure that the new member has ample opportunities to get involved in the day-to-day team activities.
During the first few months, regular feedback is essential to employee progress. A comprehensive feedback after 90 days at work includes the strengths and struggling points of a team member. Your feedback report should also include clear goals and performance expectations. Since you have been offering a lot of training and feedback, these first few months are also a starting point for encouraging independent work.
Designing a good onboarding process for your newly hired team members is an intricate and challenging task. The process must train and familiarize the employee sufficiently without creating undue overwhelm during the initial work tenure. However, with the above-enlisted steps, your company would have an impeccable and efficient onboarding process that would empower your newly hired employees for success.