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Gary Peebles

Jul 8, 2022

How to Make Onboarding a Smooth and Easy Process

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In 2020, employee turnover in America reached a peak of 57.3%. This high level of turnover creates issues such as costly errors and lower productivity from new employees. As a result, HR managers are under pressure to reduce attrition while getting new employees up to speed as fast as possible.

Employee onboarding is one of the best strategies employers can use to achieve both of these goals. A strong onboarding program can help you keep up to 91% of your first-year workers while improving productivity by up to 70%. But despite its effectiveness, only 12% of employees feel that their company has a fantastic onboarding program.

Keep reading to learn how to create an easy and effective onboarding process for employees.

Onboarding Definition

So what exactly is employee onboarding? It's the process of providing new hires with the information, tools, and training they need to succeed in their roles. Onboarding is different from induction, although many managers confuse the two. 

Induction or orientation comprises the activities new hires take part in during their first day or week at work. But onboarding is a lengthy process that takes at least three months and sometimes up to a year. 

For many companies, onboarding involves filling in regulatory paperwork and showing the employee where their workstation is. This is highly ineffective. Instead, onboarding should be a journey that molds new employees into high-performing team members. 

Manage Expectations during the Interview Process

To have a successful onboarding process, you must manage employee expectations even before you hire them. Approximately 33% of new hires quit their new job within their first 90 days at work.

Many employees quit because the job did not meet their expectations. What was promised during the interview process was different from the actual job conditions. 

Early resignations can be very costly for your company. This is due to the time and resources invested in hiring and training the quitting employee as well as their replacement. So hiring teams need to be candid about the job on offer and manage the expectations of interviewees. 

Take Advantage of the Pre-Boarding Period

You can start onboarding an employee as soon as they sign their offer letter. This period before an employee's first day is important in assuring the new employee that they made the right decision to join you. Pre-boarding can also reduce the time needed for induction activities.

For instance, you can send the employee any regulatory paperwork they need to fill in. This way they can spend their first day meeting their colleagues instead of filling out paperwork. 

During the pre-boarding process, you can also send your new hire basic information about your company. For example, you could send them your company's mission, vision, and values. You could also send them the employee handbook so that they can start reading it. 

Also, you can take this time to ask for feedback on your hiring process and the candidate's recruitment journey. A recent study found that asking new hires for such feedback increases their goodwill towards your company by up to 91%. 

Have a Killer Induction Program

The induction process is arguably the most important aspect of an effective onboarding program. It's the process of welcoming new employees to your company and introducing them to key people. Induction allows you to formalize the relationship between your company and the new hire. 

Start by issuing the recruits with a welcome kit full of company swag. Welcome gifts help employees feel valued and can help improve your employer's brand. New employees like showing off their swag on social media channels like LinkedIn. 

Use an induction checklist to ensure that you collect all the administrative information you need from the employee. The checklist will also guide you in providing all the information the employee needs. 

Increase Their Social Capital

Beneficial work relationships are the most important asset new hires can have as they settle into their new role. They will need a work buddy that they can rely on to answer any questions that they have. A work mentor or sponsor may also help them with their career growth.

Your onboarding process should set employees up for success by introducing them to the people they need to know. Connect new employees with high performers that embody your company culture. This will help them assimilate successful work habits that advance your company. Shadowing colleagues will also help your new hires to learn their job faster. 

Involve Line Managers

You cannot have an effective onboarding program without the active involvement of your line managers. Employees place a lot of importance on the involvement and opinions of managers. So managers must be the ones to welcome new employees to the team.

They should have an initial meeting to explain job expectations and key performance indicators. It's surprising how many employees go to work not knowing what their employers expect from them. 

Managers should also introduce the new hire to team members and help them form beneficial relationships. New employees are often anxious about making friends at work or finding supportive colleagues. Managers can ease this anxiety by helping to break the ice between new and existing employees. 

The employee will also look to the managers to set an example of expected behaviors and cultural norms. So make sure your managers know that it is their responsibility to understand and embody your corporate values. Their subordinates will be watching and emulating them. 

Use an Onboarding Checklist

For many companies, the onboarding process tends to be reactive, informal, and inconsistent. This creates loopholes where essential steps get missed. Onboarding results also become haphazard. Some employees report having better onboarding experiences than others. 

An onboarding checklist can add structure to your onboarding process. Employees enjoy an organized onboarding program that makes expectations clear. They want to know what they should be doing the next day, week, and month. With a checklist, they can see each step they need to follow. From induction to on-the-job training and even to their monthly check-ins. 

A checklist is also necessary for HR compliance to protect both your employees and the employer from legal liabilities. It serves as proof that an employee completed different onboarding activities. Additionally, it ensures that all regulatory training and documentation are completed. 

A checklist will help your onboarding process to be strategic rather than reactive. You can decide beforehand what aspects you want to include in your program. Each time you onboard new employees, you can also update the checklists based on how effective each process was. 

Provide Comprehensive On-the-Job Training

Training is another very important aspect of onboarding. New employees will not be productive without proper on-the-job training. Create a comprehensive training schedule that covers the actual tasks that the employee will be performing.

Your training should incorporate technical training as well as shadowing experienced colleagues. You should also have training for the soft skills aspects of the job so that the new employee is fully equipped for success. 

Invest in Onboarding Software

Smaller companies can get away with manual onboarding systems. But as you grow bigger, onboarding automation becomes a must. Onboarding software provides a structured and streamlined onboarding process. At the same time, it helps to reduce your HR team’s workload. 

Many companies have skipped onboarding a new employee because everyone was too busy. The employee ends up slipping through the cracks, feeling undervalued and dissatisfied. Having an automated onboarding system prevents such mistakes from happening.

Onboarding software also collects and stores your onboarding records and documentation. It makes it easier for employees to fill in regulatory paperwork with fewer errors. 

Give and Get Feedback

Your onboarding checklist should include an appraisal for your new employee. This can happen at the two-month or three-month mark. New employees often have a probation period, so this appraisal can help you decide whether to confirm the employee. 

You should also ask for feedback after an employee has been onboarded. This will help you to improve and streamline your onboarding process. 

Celebrate Small and Big Wins

Employees thrive on recognition, so heap it on your new employees. During the onboarding process, your new hires will have several small and big wins.

Do your best to recognize and reward the employees for these wins. Something as simple as a message congratulating them on a small win will help them feel seen and valued. 

Have Routine Check-Ins

During employee inductions, it's important to encourage them to contact you in case of any issues. But at the same time, you must schedule regular meetings with your new hires to check on them.

You could have a meeting once a month to find out how they are doing. This is an opportunity for them to raise any concerns as well as give feedback about their new role. 

Create a Smooth and Easy Employee Onboarding Process

New employees can be a joy to behold due to their bright-eyed enthusiasm and positivity toward their new roles. Companies should match their energy by proving a welcoming and supportive environment. Employee onboarding is an effective tool to retain new hires while maximizing their productivity. 

Unfortunately, most companies have ineffective onboarding programs. This leads to costly employee turnover as well as reduced productivity. You can avoid the common mistakes HR managers make during the onboarding process by signing up for our free course.

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