The onboarding process is potentially the most important element of recruitment. Identifying and attracting the best candidates is undeniably a challenge in itself, but the real hurdle that HR must overcome is to assimilate new employees into already established teams and the organization as a whole.
How you bring new professionals into the business can have a massive impact on their productivity, morale and tenure at the organization.
Here are 21 tips to make your onboarding process as rewarding for individuals as it is for the business:
- Start as soon as possible
Don't wait until the employee's first day to begin the onboarding process but instead as soon as they accept the job offer. You can give them a timetable of what their first week will look like, as well as who their line manager and team will be, as well as a company handbook if you have one.
- Include a welcome document
A welcome document is a great way to express your company culture before an employee even starts working for you. You could also include a voucher for a local place for lunch on their first day.
- Provide a personal welcome
Having someone there to welcome a new hire on their first day will make a massive difference to how they feel. This should either be their manager or someone else equally keyed into what their role will be.
- Be organized
There are undoubtedly a number of documents that need signing at the start of new employment. Make sure all of these are ready and waiting for the new hire. Scrambling around for papers not only makes the company look unprofessional but also makes the individual feel like an afterthought.
- Don't assume someone else has done it
Things can slip through the cracks when it comes to onboarding an employee but new candidates would rather hear something ten times than not at all. So ensure you personally tell them anything you think they'd need to know, such as where the toilets are and where to make a hot drink.
- Give them the chance to ask questions
Often onboarding can feel like you're talking at employees at lot, instead of having a conversation with them. Ensure there are opportunities before their start date, on their first day and throughout their first month for them to ask any questions they may have.
- Make an organization map
Organizations can be complicated to make employees feel at home from day one, create a map that shows the different department, as well as key people within these, and how they work together.
- Include home and part-time workers
Remote workers and those that work outside of the normal structure are often forgotten when it comes to introducing new members to the team. Ensure everyone is included wherever possible to help candidates get a clear picture of the entire company.
- Schedule a team lunch
Ideally on their first day, or at least during their first week, you should schedule a lunch with their team. Not only is this the perfect opportunity to meet the people they will be working closely with but showcases your company culture.
- Segment training
People can only take on so much information at once, so make sure to spread out the training over an appropriate period of time. This should also include the opportunity to speak with their manager and ask any questions to clarify issues they may not understand fully.
- Don't neglect security
Whether it's how to handle sensitive client information or shutting the door when they leave at night, there's security practices at every company. Ensure your new hire understands these from day one.
- Apply context
When teaching new employees about processes or systems that they're unlikely to have used before, make sure that you're putting it into context. This will help them remember everything better and understand why they are being taught about it.
- Make your intranet actually useful
Many companies neglect their intranet, meaning information is outdated or just plain irrelevant. Make sure yours is up to date before a new hire starts and has practical information on who's who, how to call in sick, and the process for annual leave requests.
- Showcase your perks
Company benefits are a lot more engaging and motivating if employees know about them from the start. Do you do charity events, or allow everyone a lay-in on their birthday? Make sure you are shouting about the perks of working for your organization.
- Organize a welcome social event
Organize a social event, such as a welcome party or even just a drink in the local bar, to officially welcome the new hire. This can have a much bigger impact if top-level professionals are able to make it, as it shows employees they are a valued member of a team.
- Schedule an appraisal
New hires can often feel like they're treading water, so make sure you schedule an 'appraisal' meeting after their first month. This is the opportunity for their Manager to explain the areas where they're excelling and where they may need further support. This can also be used to set professional goals.
- Set goals
Companies usually wait until an employee has been with them a year or so before talking to them about goals and progression but why not start straight away? Setting goals for a new hire ensures they are working towards the same objective as everyone else, and gives you a benchmark to measure their progress.
- Offer feedback
It's never too early to give feedback to employees. Whether they are excelling or struggling, make sure you have an open line of communication with new hires to guide them to success.
- Be patient
Even the best employees may find it difficult to begin with. Look at their struggles as a problem-solving opportunity for HR and management. Some people take longer to learn than others so be patient and constructive.
- Send quick surveys
Send surveys throughout their first quarter to measure their happiness and general feelings about the process at the end of every week. This gives you the data to improve your onboarding in future and identify areas where you may be falling short.
- Build a career plan
The goals of a new hire should be fed into a more long-term career plan after their first year. This allows them to see themselves with the company for the long haul, instead of thinking they need to move on to have progression opportunities.