A Guide for Onboarding New Employees
The onboarding process is an exciting and important time. This is where new employees will learn the tools and skills they’ll rely on for the rest of their time in this position. Whether you’re working in an office or remotely, it’s important to have a defined plan for each new hire as they move through onboarding. It’s been seen that new employees who had a structured onboarding process were 58% more likely to stay with a company after three years.
The onboarding process can last up to the first six months of employment and should be focused on different things at each stage. This guide will help you create a structured onboarding process for new hires set to time-based milestones.
The First Day
The first day is where you should start covering the basics. Things like using time clocking software, processes for employee scheduling, particularly if you use a flexible schedule, and other basics. Then, you can move onto training and orientation. This should include how to use any work-specific software. This could include information management and storage, workflow software like Asana or Zendesk, and any other specific software a new hire will need to know how to use to get started.
It’s important not to overwhelm a new hire on the first day. Allow plenty of time for questions, and for letting co-workers meet and socialize. This is a great way to start building trust between new and more seasoned employees. You should also take this time to manage your expectations as a manager or business owner. Everyone starts at square one, and sometimes a great employee just needs a little more time to get into the swing of things.
Another great onboarding tool you can employ on the first day is a review sheet. Before the workday ends, send over a sheet with everything you’ve gone over so far. This sheet may include names of software, login info, clocking in processes, etc. You can even store this sheet digitally and reuse it for future onboarding.
The First Month
After the first month of onboarding, you should check in on how your new employee is doing, both with their job skills and their employee experience. As a business owner or manager, you can work closely with HR to set up a meeting with the new hire where any concerns can be addressed. Addressing any concerns early can prevent bigger problems down the line.
Assigning a mentor is also an important part of this stage. In a study done by BambooHR, it was found that 58% of employees valued having an employee mentor during their first few weeks. Mentorship can be a great way for new hires to get more comfortable with their co-workers and learn tricks for everyday processes. Employee mentors can also be a big part of on-the-job training. They have the most recent experience, whereas managers may be slightly more removed from that position.
The First Six Months
This is typically when new employees come to the end of their formal training or probationary period. At this point, they should be fairly familiar with the everyday demands of their new role. You can discuss other aspects of the job that are more relevant to long-term employees, such as paid time off. You can also start assigning new hires more independent work at this stage if you believe they’re ready for it.
You should also schedule a review period at the end of six months. During this review, you can discuss the future of the new hire’s role. If you’re unsure of whether or not to release a new hire from probation, you can ask yourself these questions:
- Do they respond well to feedback?
- Do they show critical thinking skills?
- Do they have a positive attitude concerning training?
- Do they work well with others?
When deciding to keep an employee on for the long term, you’ll want to take into account not only their performance but their teamwork. Working well with others can influence several other aspects of the job, including performance, efficiency, and deliverables.
Onboarding Remote Employees
Onboarding remote employees should follow a similar pattern as the one above, however, there can be a few differences. Remote companies can better leverage online onboarding software. This allows employees who may have different schedules or work in different time zones 24-hour access to onboarding materials. Despite working in separate locations, it’s still important to make an effort to connect with your new hires on a human-to-human level. Remote companies still rely on teamwork and communication, even if it is digital.
Stick to a Structure
Despite remote offices offering more flexibility, it is extremely beneficial to stick to a more rigid schedule for new hires. By doing this, you can help improve retention, answer questions promptly, and more easily induct your new employee into their work routine. You can start to loosen this schedule when you feel your new hire is ready for it, or around the end of their probationary period.
Talk Face to Face
Making a human connection when onboarding is still important for remote offices. Not only does this help new employees build trust with management, but it helps them recognize and get more familiar with their coworkers. This can facilitate better teamwork. Scheduling video calls, or even scheduling a meeting at a coffee shop during the first week if you’re able can go a long way towards making your new employee feel comfortable and competent.
The process of onboarding any new hire can be intensive, but with any luck, you’ll have a confident and skilled employee by the end of it. Remember, these milestones are only suggestions. The demands of the position, as well as the abilities your new hire is coming in with, will vary your onboarding timeline.