Employee onboarding: Everything you need to know

Written by Alex Cohen

Companies with a structured employee onboarding process have found that their new hires are 54 percent more productive than those who don’t.

It’s vital that your organisation has an established onboarding process that covers all the bases to ensure that employees feel well-informed and confident to perform their job. Considering that approximately 37 billion dollars is spent annually on managing unproductive employees in the USA and UK, it’s important that your company gets its onboarding process right on the first try.

So, how do you ensure that new hires are successfully integrated? 

Establish communication early

Setting up new employees on your organisation’s communication channels is often as easy as a few clicks, and it should be done as soon as possible. Access to an email system is the obvious first step, and if you use a messaging app like Slack, you should set this up quickly so that new hires can get to grips with how your company talks to one another.

Slack is a great way for new hires to start chatting with other employees and feel like part of the team. Feeling connected and having good friends in the workplace has been shown to massively increase employee engagement and performance, so it’s worth facilitating easy communication as early as you can.

Explain the ‘how’ of how you work

Avoid confusion early on and explain the ‘how’ of how your company operates. Every company will have its own ways of working, and understanding these during the onboarding process is essential for building transparency and trust.

Most new hires won’t be familiar with the conventions of your workplace and the set of programs you’re using, so it’s vital that there’s a framework for explaining them to avoid unnecessary questions and confusion. It shouldn’t be an afterthought for your HR department to deal with, it should be front-and-centre.

Make it easier by adopting intuitive, easy-to-explain HR automation where you can. Keeping holiday requests, timesheets, expenses and policies as accessible and transparent as possible eliminates confusion and saves time down the line.

Create an efficient and effective HR framework that you can explain well during onboarding and you’ll make it obvious that employees matter to your organisation. It’ll benefit your bottom line, too. Employees who feel cared for perform better than those that don’t. 

Provide adequate onboarding training

Whether you think you need to train new hires or not, ensuring that they all have the same fundamental knowledge and capability is worth doing. It guarantees that everyone has the same level of understanding and the essential tools to get their jobs done to the best of their ability.

Training is another way to show new hires that you care about their individual success. LinkedIn’s Lynda lets users create custom groups of lessons and course pathways, making it easy to tailor training to specific positions. Set up some pathways or establish trusted courses once, and you can re-use them for future onboarding training.

Buddy up

Setting up a buddy system is a great way to make new hires feel welcomed. Pairing a new arrival with an established staff member not only forges social connections, but it also gives new hires an educated point of contact should they have any questions or concerns in their first few months. It’s a fantastic way to cover any bases that your onboarding process may have missed.

Use checklists

Implementing a checklist is an incredibly simple but effective way to make sure you’ve done everything you need to during the onboarding process. Share a ‘to-do’ list with new hires in a project-management app like Basecamp so that they can follow their progress and ask questions about upcoming steps or things they think you might have missed.

Turn today’s new hires into tomorrow’s staff trainers

Think long-term. Onboarding new hires in the right way with an established process means that once they’ve assimilated, they’ll have the necessary knowledge to train new hires themselves down the line. 

You don’t want liabilities, you want to make the transition from new arrival to productive, efficient colleague as fast as possible to spread the workload at your growing business. 

Lauren Moon at Trello puts it well:

Some day, these employees will be responsible for a huge project that affects your company, they’ll be the people sharing laughs with you in the break room, and eventually, training and onboarding new hires themselves. 

Get onboarding right today, and you’ll have invaluable assets – and possibly new friends – that’ll become tomorrow’s staff trainers.

Employees , hiring , HR strategy