A new hire is quick to make up their mind about your organisation in their first few months of joining, and first impressions make a big impact on employees' experience. Therefore, a solid onboarding strategy is a must. Employee onboarding is aimed at the effective integration and acclimation of new hires or current employees after being transferred or promoted to a new role. It is imperative that your organisation has the right onboarding process to ensure a smooth and effective experience for both the employee and the company.
Employee onboarding involves defining, assessing and aligning the needs of the new hires with the company values and reinforcing the organisation's strategic priorities. Onboarding processes help new hires create a more meaningful impact than they would have if left to figure it out for themselves. It helps them integrate with the team and workplace culture more effectively. A good onboarding process also decreases employee turnover rates and increases retention.
Here are five tips to help you create smooth and effective onboarding experiences:
1. Start early and plan ahead
Start preparing your onboarding process as soon as you have a vacancy to fill. The new hire should not feel burdened with information on their first day. Therefore, practical information and important documentation can be shared with them before the day of joining. Give your new hires access to an online portal with this information, and they will be more engaged on their first day.
2. Think within and outside of your department
It is easy to conceptualise a new joinee’s immediate needs within the department. But you must also consider how their new position may be relevant outside their department. Introduce newbies to people from other departments and give peers the responsibility to mentor them. Assigning a buddy always helps!
3. Practice experience mapping
A best practice for creating comprehensive onboarding plans is to learn from your past mistakes and take them into consideration. Ask your recent hires about their onboarding experience. Ask them what the process was lacking and how it could be improved from their perspective. This will help you identify gaps in your existing onboarding plan.
4. Plan the first day and the first week
Do not overwhelm a new employee on their first day; instead, plan their first day and first week. You do not have to pack everything into the first eight hours of their job. Identify what is absolutely necessary for them to know on their first day and the first week, like administrative processes, passwords, communication platforms, etc. After designing the first day, fill in the gaps as the next few days play out. Seek assistance and feedback from the experience mapping. Build some downtime into the first day. Give them space to explore on their own, while also offering some form of handholding.
5. Measure and improvise
Set up clear objectives for your onboarding process to check for any gaps. Measure these results by asking for immediate feedback after the first week. What is obvious to you might be unclear to a newcomer; hence document their experience as elaborately as possible.