Employee onboarding is the process of inducting new employees into your business. To be exact, it involves taking the necessary steps to ensure new recruits feel welcome in their environment, and that they have the guidance, training, and support required to be a happy and productive contributor.
From the initial greeting, through to preparing the workspace, filling out paperwork, and meeting the team, the onboarding process has a lot of steps involved, and it is up to you to get it right. Fortunately, there are ways to make the process easier on you, your team, and your new recruits.
To ensure the long-term success of your new employees, an onboarding program should last for several months or up to a year. During this time you need to maintain regular communication with new employees through follow-up meetings. This way, you can give constructive feedback, and resolve issues early before they escalate.
The Importance of Employee Onboarding
A carefully planned and executed onboarding program will help new recruits feel relaxed and comfortable in their new surroundings. As a result, they will be happier, more productive, and willing to stay for longer. Better still, your current employees will find the transition to be smooth and painless too.
This is not just a matter of opinion, either. According to research done by the SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management), an employee’s chance of success at a new company can be decided as early as the first two weeks. With this in mind, it really does pay off to devote the time and energy into creating an onboarding program that suits your business.
There are many ways to create an employee onboarding program. How you approach this will depend on your business, personal preference, and what your employees are most receptive towards.
In saying this, there are a few key elements that, when implemented correctly, will ensure each employee has the best onboarding experience. They are as follow:
Before the First Day
Inform staff: Let your current staff know a new employee is joining the team. Give a brief summary of their role, department, duties and responsibilities, and whether their inclusion will mean any changes to the business. This way, your team will know exactly what to expect, and will be ready to welcome the new recruit.
Prepare the paperwork: From tax and superannuation to company handbooks, make sure everything is printed and ready for the new recruit to sign on their first day. If you use employee onboarding software, upload these documents as digital files to the cloud, which the recruit can review and sign-off on ahead of time.
Prepare the workstation: Have your new recruit hit the ground running from day one. Clean and tidy up the workstation to make sure it is neat, presentable, and functional. If you have to order in special tools, equipment, or software for the new employee, do this a few weeks in advance in case of long delivery times.
Appoint a mentor: Mentors can offer invaluable advice and guidance. When appointing a mentor, choose someone who has been with the company for a while, is trustworthy, and most importantly, is up to the task itself.
On the First Day
Remind staff: On the day of onboarding, let the receptionist know the new employee will be arriving. Leave instructions for where the new employee has to go and who they need to talk to upon arrival.
Arrange a coffee, morning, tea, breakfast or lunch: By doing this, both the current team and new recruit will have a chance to become acquainted in a casual setting. However, if your organisation is quite large, it may be more suitable to limit this meeting to just members of the relevant department
Guided tour: Either you or the mentor should take the new employee on a guided tour. If possible, give them a map they can reference at any time. After the tour, they should know where to find their main workstation, exits, emergency exits, toilets and places to grab food, to name a few.
Training: Provide internal training to help the new employee learn more about their role. The program should provide an overview of basic duties, tasks, and responsibilities, including health and safety policies, company-specific procedures, and info about the company culture.
After the first day
Maintain rapport: Check in frequently with your new employee over the next few weeks and months. You can do this by having a blend of casual check-ups, follow-up meetings, and performance appraisals. During these periods, give the employee a chance to express any concerns they may wish to resolve.
Maintain records: Keep a track record of each interaction with your new employee. You can keep a record either physically or electronically. By doing so, you can gradually monitor their progress and adjust the program until it starts to achieve the desired results.
Employee Onboarding Software
One of the best ways to streamline and personalise the recruitment process is by using onboarding software. These programs enable you to take care of the formalities much faster than you can through traditional methods. This way, you can focus on making new employees’ first few days far more constructive and meaningful.
From the comfort of a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device, both you and the new employee can go through the recruitment process together via an app or web-based platform.
Some of the many tasks you can perform include:
Collect employee details
Automatically generate contracts and policy documents for new employees to sign
Automatically sync data with payroll department
Let employees choose their preferred superannuation fund
Offer exclusive company benefits
Welcome new employees with personalised greetings
Other Onboarding Materials
Every industry is unique, and yours is no different. So when you create an onboarding strategy, you will need to keep in mind any extra considerations that fall outside the scope of this guide.
Regardless, here are a few other materials to give your new recruit on their first day and onwards:
Welcome note: Make your new recruits feel welcome by writing a caring, personalised welcome note just for them.
Company handbook: This is a requirement of any recruitment process. Your handbook should contain everything the new recruit needs to know to settle into the workplace, such as policies, procedures, health and safety guidelines, uniform, performance expectations, and more.
Tools, equipment, and software: Your new recruit will most likely need certain tools, equipment, and software to effectively perform their job. This may include a laptop, company smartphone, notepad, office stationery, protective clothing, or a vehicle. Be sure to prepare these kinds of materials at least a few weeks in advance, especially if you need to order in special supplies or equipment.