01 Mar 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Establishing a Stellar Onboarding Process

two women talking
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." - Will Rogers

The first opinion about a person, event, or organization impacts the overall experience. Recruitment is no exception, and neither is onboarding experience. It is an employee’s first official contact with their new employer and a welcome to the workplace.

What is the onboarding process?

Onboarding represents the process of introducing a worker to the team, their job role, and responsibilities. As such, it should carry the organizational values and manifest its culture, mission, and goals. There is no final definition concerning which activities fall into the onboarding process, but it typically includes hiring paperwork, training, and team welcoming. It lasts between few months and a year, although most organizations focus on the first week only.

Many employers and HR professionals tend to overlook the paramount importance of the company's onboarding process. But besides introducing an employee to the technical side of its new work, it should also make them feel comfortable, accepted, and welcome. An effective onboarding process leaves little to no questions, ensuring employee preparedness for their daily operations and communication with co-workers within the work environment. Ultimately, it should ensure that a hire feels a sense of belonging to their new workspace.

Even though great onboarding encourages up to 69 percent of employees to stay with a company for three years, 88 percent of organizations don’t onboard well. That can lead to new hires being twice as likely to look for other opportunities. The onboarding process is undoubtedly critical for preventing employee turnover and ensuring long and happy employee engagement. That is why it’s essential to pay attention to every step from the employee's first day.

Steps of Onboarding Process

Every employee onboarding process requires well-thought-out and intentional steps, including onboarding. These are the steps you can follow to establish a stable and consistent onboarding workflow. Combine them with additional steps tailored to your company culture, values, and objectives.

Pre-Onboarding Phase

The onboarding workflow and hiring process start with a clear job description, recruitment, candidate attraction, and workplace presentation. The goal is to be transparent and convey the right message throughout the onboarding program. 

Recommended practices:

  • Re-evaluate your website, social media handles, and job ads to ensure each candidate understands the job role, responsibilities, company policies, and company culture from their start date. The communication from human resources should be consistent, and prospective employees should determine whether they could be the right fit. Most of the time companies use employee handbooks to convey this information to the new hire. 
  • Consider using case studies, personality tests, or job-related tasks to identify how candidates perform during a regular workday. That also helps them understand company expectations and results in effective employee satisfaction once the candidates are hired. 
  • Emphasize significant employee perks, initiatives, and procedures, such as vacation time, remote work, and well-being programs for successful onboarding and long-term employee retention. 
  • Assess your hiring procedures to ensure everything aligns with employee needs and job role expectations.
  • Show the potential new co-workers the workplace and what appliances they will use for their tasks.
  • Introduce them to the hr team, their team members and encourage them to ask questions and get to know the company better. An additional step would include incorporating mentoring programs within the employees throughout the first month of employment.

New Job Offer Letter

The effort shouldn’t fade after the ideal candidate confirms their interest in working at your company. Sending a new job offer letter isn’t enough to convince the future employee you appreciate that they’re joining the team.

Recommended practices:

  • Consider sending a message of appreciation to the new role, and express how happy you are they became a part of the company.
  • Remember to send them a PDF file that outlines employee daily operations, responsibilities, and expectations for satisfactory employee orientation. That also helps to prevent potential surprises after a new hire starts working.

Onboarding Excitement Build-Up

After the candidate signs the contract, the onboarding process officially starts. However, the time between accepting the offer and starting to work is critical for cementing their positive impression. In the case of onboarding remote employees, it would be beneficial to have reliable onboarding software. 

Recommended practices:

  • Hiring managers should embrace candidate experience by establishing onboarding excitement.
  • Managers should share all the relevant data with the new employee, such as assignment details, itineraries for the first few weeks, and communication credentials.
  • Consider sending the new hire a welcome kit with branded items they can use for their work tasks to increase employee retention and the overall onboarding experience.
  • Organize a team welcome video or meeting to make the employee comfortable during their first impression.

Onboarding Process: First Day

At this stage of onboarding workflow, it’s essential to deliver a stellar onboarding experience and ensure the employee feels welcome and at ease.

Recommended practices:

  • Organize check-in meetings to remind the employee they have your support and assistance throughout their orientation day.
  • It is advisable to schedule a 30-minute meeting in the morning and in the evening to welcome the new hire and debrief.
  • Organize a team (virtual) lunchtime with those coworkers that work closely with the new employee. Keep it light and casual, ensuring they get to know their colleagues better.
  • If you didn’t do it in the pre-boarding stage, give the new hire an onboarding goodie bag, and make their day with items such as company-branded mugs, notebooks, or t-shirts.
  • Provide the employee with video presentations that will outline company history, objectives, mission, and testimonials.

Onboarding Process: First Week

Ensure your new hire understands what the company expects from them in the first few weeks (or months) and get them excited about the future opportunities.

Recommended practices:

  • Introduce the new employee to the company by sending out a new hire announcement. Consider a newsletter, email, or video, and make the worker feel appreciated.
  • Organize greeting meetings with the most significant stakeholders and help the new hire meet other departments.
  • Introduce new workers to the top performers and company leaders to boost motivation.
  • Create a list of daily activities, objectives for the first six months, and stretch goals. For instance, the Flair platform is ideal for setting goals based on reviewed performance.
  • Inform the employee about the growth opportunities for their position, and encourage seasoned hires to share their experience.
  • Organize regular team buildings and check-ins to increase the sense of belonging and efficiency.
  • Pair the new hire with a mentor who can help them navigate the workplace and provide regular feedback.

Onboarding Feedback

It is crucial to track and measure the onboarding process. That will help you rectify potential issues timely and ensure a flawless employee experience.

Recommended practices:

  • Implement regular surveys for employee insights. Thanks to that, you will find out how satisfied they are with the onboarding workflow and how you can improve for the next time. We recommend using Flair’s customizable questionnaires to create a feedback cycle tailored to your team.

Digital Onboarding

After remote work became the norm after the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital onboarding took over recruitment. Even though introducing new employees to the workplace virtually may feel detached, it is possible to compensate for the missing human element.

Recommended practices:

  • Ensure the onboarding process reflects the company culture by implementing a virtual help desk to answer all employee questions.
  • Use regular well-being surveys to get insights into how the new employee feels and how they would improve the onboarding workflow.
  • Check whether your new hire has the necessary equipment for virtual work. Provide relevant training, account access, and information. The employee should feel at ease during the digital onboarding and daily tasks.
  • Organize regular online team buildings, meetings, and coffee breaks. Implement all the events and activities you would during the face-to-face onboarding process, and ensure the new hire feels they belong in the team.

All of those practices can be automated with flair's recruiting feature, for a more pleasant employee and HR experience!

Onboarding Process Summarised

No matter if it’s digital or in-person, the onboarding process may appear challenging. By following our onboarding steps, you can rest assured that your new employee will receive an all-encompassing experience to prepare them for their daily activities.

Combine the list with additional procedures tailored to your company to get the best results and enjoy welcoming the new team member.

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