Best practice for onboarding new employees in your organisation

Rachel Hill
Rachel Hill

You work so hard on perfecting your recruitment process that you sometimes fall short on the employee onboarding process. 

Be aware that onboarding is an essential part of the new hire experience and its importance is on par with your recruitment strategy. While the terms ‘onboarding’ and ‘orientation’ are often used interchangeably, they actually have two different meanings. Orientation is a one or two day process that involves introducing the new hire to your organisation, while onboarding is a process designed to integrate an employee fully within an organisation over a long-term period.

So why is onboarding so important? Well, research shows that a steady onboarding process improves retention rates and turnover costs. This is because employees are given the necessary information and tools to succeed in their job, making them more content. Great onboarding also allows a company to develop a lasting impression with a new hire.

By the time a new hire arrives, chances are they are already impressed with your company culture. So why not take these enthusiastic hires and show them why they wanted the job in the first place? This process can make employees even more engaged with your company, leading to the holy grail of long-term commitment.

Onboarding experts recommend that the initial onboarding process should last at least a year. With this in mind, check out our following solutions for onboarding a new employee within a one-year timeframe:

Before Day 1 at the office

Many people think that onboarding begins on the new hire’s first day of work..wrong! Onboarding actually begins when a candidate looks at your career page. So ensure that your careers page is current and contains information on your mission and culture. This way, candidates have a strong knowledge of your company at interview and are already part of the engagement funnel.

Once this invested candidate is hired, there is often a mound of paperwork to fill out. Why not send this paperwork electronically and ask the new hire to send on the paperwork via email? This saves time and ensures the new hire spends their first day on more productive tasks.

New hires also have a lot of questions before arriving at their new job. These include: Where is the bathroom? When is lunch? Who do I ask for on arrival? Is there a dress code? Think of all these possible questions and answer them in a word doc. Sending these to a hire before their first day makes them feel more at ease. 

While it is important for you to prepare the new hire, you must also prepare your workplace. First of all, send out an email reminder to all staff notifying them of new hires – it is important for seasoned employees to make new hires feel welcome. Also ensure that desks, work phones & passwords are set up with corresponding instructions alongside. Again, this saves time and shows you are serious about the onboarding process.

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Ensure office is ready for new hire.

Day 1 at the office

A new hire’s first day at the office is always the most important, so make sure you’re prepared. Also, ensure that you are available to meet them at the prearranged time and inform reception of their arrival. There is nothing worse than arriving on the first day without a formal greeting.

After the initial introduction, show new hires the workplace, as well as their desk. It is a nice touch to have some kind of a welcome gift awaiting the new hires at their desk. Again, it shows you care about their onboarding and integration into the company culture.

Before introducing them to teammates, have a private discussion about their roles and responsibilities. You should also discuss setting monthly goals and objectives to keep them motivated. Any training that needs to be undertaken for the role should also be planned within this meeting.

It is recommended that new hires meet seasoned employees, especially those who will be involved in their training. Use this meeting as an opportunity to discuss the new hire’s roles openly, so as to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding responsibilities. To make the new hire feel fully part of the team, take them out for a celebratory lunch.

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It is good practice to have a team meeting with the new hire.

The first 6 months

After the first month, it is important to check in with the new hires to make sure they are comfortable in their role, happy and engaged in their work. You should also review their progress and the milestones set in the first month. If they have failed to reach the goals, analyse the reasons why and how they can improve for the following months.

There is no need to check in with new hires every month, but every 3 months is beneficial. Using surveys along the way are a good way to track employee progress. At the beginning, the surveys can focus on the specifics of the job, but as time goes on these surveys can ask more general questions about their work.

When an employee is in the first few months of their role, assigning them a buddy or a mentor is a good idea. Mentors are often seasoned employees who help new hires with any issues they may have. These mentors can also flag to senior management if there are any serious issues surrounding productivity, for example.

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Having a buddy or a mentor makes a new hire feel more at ease. 

First year

While it may be easier to forget about onboarding after the first 6 months, it is critical to continue initial onboarding to the first official year of employment. After 1 year, you should meet the new hires again to evaluate their progress and happiness in the company. If they are content, you can then plan their future development within the company. 

This meeting can also be used as the basis for discussing further compensation and other benefits. If these meetings have been successful, you know that you have a steady and reliable onboarding practice in place that you can replicate again and again.

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It is important to have a meeting with a new hire after their first year.

If you would like more help with your recruiting and onboarding process, why not sign up for a free trial of HireHive today. 

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