What is the first impression your employees get upon joining your business? Are they encouraged, motivated, and made welcome? Or are they left questioning whether they made the right career move? Believe it or not, the onboarding process can play a significant role in determining whether or not your employees stick around for the long haul.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a quality onboarding experience can improve your chances of retention by almost 60%. So, it’s important that you create a smooth and efficient process that will help your new employees feel welcome and integrated into your company culture as quickly as possible.
In this article, we’ll give you six tips for creating a smooth employee onboarding process, covering everything from preparing for the employee’s arrival to providing onboarding training.
1. First impressions are everything — so make the first day memorable
Imagine you are a new employee starting a job, and it is your very first day. How much of that first day would form the basis of your feelings toward the company? How much would be based on the interactions you had with other employees? Chances are, the first impressions you formed on your first day are going to stick with you for a while.
That’s why it’s important to think carefully about how the onboarding process is handled. Everything from how you greet new employees when they first arrive at how you introduce them to their new co-workers can affect the overall onboarding experience.
To make the first day as positive and memorable as possible, you can integrate fun activities and valuable introductions into your employee’s first day:
- Set up a lunch with their new team. This is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and start working collaboratively.
- Have them shadow someone on their first day. This will help them learn the ropes quickly and see what their job duties will be.
- Introduce them to the company culture. Share the company values, mission, and goals with your new employee. This will help them understand what is expected of them and set the tone for their time at the company.
- Give them a tour of the office. Let them know where everything is in case they need to find something during their time at the company.
How this helps the employee onboarding process
As aforementioned, the first day of an employee’s working experience with your company can make or break their attitude toward working for you. This is why it’s imperative that the process is as smooth and welcoming as possible.
In doing so, you are helping your employee retention by:
- Making them feel comfortable and appreciated in their new role.
- Building trust and showing that you’re invested in their success.
- Giving them a positive experience that they’ll want to repeat.
Moving on to the next tip!
2. Remove stress and anonymity
While the first day is a highly important part of the onboarding process, one can argue that onboarding should begin well in advance of day one. This is because nervousness, stress, and apprehension are all emotions that can turn your employees off of their new role before they even have a chance to settle in.
One way to help reduce these negative emotions is by removing the stress and anonymity of the first day. This can be done in a few ways:
- Host an informal meet-and-greet with refreshments before the official start date so employees can meet their new colleagues in a less formal setting.
- Encourage your employees to ask questions and voice any concerns they may have before the first day. This can help reduce any anxiety they may feel about the unknown.
- Include a welcome packet or email with information about the company, their new team, and their responsibilities. This can help them feel more prepared and less anxious about their first day.
- Have a few of your current employees send welcome emails and introduce themselves online.
By removing some of the stress and unknowns associated with the first day, you can help make the onboarding process smoother for your employees and improve your odds of retention in the future.
3. Assign an introductory partner
There’s no point putting your best efforts into an excellent first day if the support is going to drop off after day one. New employees can easily get lost in the current if you neglect to provide ongoing support as they integrate into their new role.
To provide the role model your new hire needs, assign them an introductory partner — someone who will be their guide and mentor as they settle in. This assigned support should continue for the first few weeks, or until the new employee feels comfortable with their surroundings.
How it helps
An introductory partner can provide valuable insight into company culture, answer any questions that may arise, and generally help to make the newcomer feel comfortable and appreciated.
Your assigned partner can also keep an eye out for early warning signs of problems, such as boredom or frustration, so that you can address them quickly.
4. Provide resources that will ensure their success
As well as a solid mentor, your new hire will need plenty of introductory resources to give them a kick-start in their new role. This might include an employee handbook, an overview of your company’s history and values, a list of key contacts within the organization, or a guide to the company’s IT systems.
For example, one efficient way to introduce a new hire to your systems and processes is to create Loom videos. These are short, easy-to-follow videos that show employees how to complete specific tasks, such as logging into the company email account or submitting a leave request.
How it helps
As well as giving new hires the tools they need to succeed, providing these resources can also help you reduce the amount of time and support your new employees will need from their manager in the early stages of their employment.
5. Tailor the employee onboarding process to your new hire
Every new employee has a different work style and personality, and as such, they will also learn and assimilate information differently. Some new employees may be more hands-on and need a lot of direction, while others may be more independent and prefer to explore on their own.
The onboarding process should be tailored to the individual employee so that they can learn in the way that best suits them. This will help to ensure that the new hire is comfortable and confident in their new role, and that they feel supported by their team.
To tailor your program for an individual’s specific needs, consider the following:
- The new hire’s work background and experience
- Their skills and strengths
- The company culture and how the new employee will fit in
- The team they will be working with
- The goals of the onboarding program
When creating a tailored onboarding process, it is important to also be flexible. If something isn’t working for the new hire, or if they are struggling with a particular task, be prepared to adapt the program accordingly.
6. Test the waters to see who is committed
This final tip is a strategy for the bold and passionate companies who want only the most dedicated employees, as it entails offering your new hires incentives to leave their roles.
Now, while this may seem counterproductive, the incentive method allows employees to weigh up how much they want to be at your company and truly assess their level of commitment.
For example, if you offer an incentive of $5000 to leave the company within the first 6 months of employment, you may weed out a few new hires who would rather move onto a new role and take the money. It may help them to decide whether they truly value the role they are filling, or whether other opportunities might be a good fit for them.
Note: it is important to note that this incentive should be in addition to the employee’s regular salary, and not in place of it!
How this helps the employee onboarding process
The benefits of this strategy are that you can bring in only the most dedicated employees who are truly excited about your company and what it has to offer. It also saves you time and money on training new hires who may not be a good fit for your company culture or values.
There is always a risk that employees will take the money and run, but if you have a good screening process in place then this shouldn’t be a problem.
Employee Onboarding: Bottom Line
The employee onboarding process is one of the most important aspects of any company, as it can set the tone for the employee’s entire tenure. By following the six tips outlined in this article, you can create a smooth and successful onboarding process for your employees.
Remember that the onboarding process should be tailored to your specific company and its employees — there’s no one size fits all when it comes to onboarding. By taking the time to create a process that works for you, you’ll be sure to set your employees up for success.