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How to Improve the Employee Onboarding Process

Author: Dave Rietsema - Matchr CEO

Onboarding is critical for turning candidates into productive employees. Many companies speed through the onboarding process, however, viewing it as an annoying step that must be taken before new talent can start earning for the company. When done right, onboarding can add value to a new employee’s experience, strengthening loyalty and engagement.

Signs Your Onboarding Process Needs to Be Improved

So many companies get onboarding wrong, whether by a lack of attention to detail or a lack of awareness of how to do onboarding right. The following are a few signs that your onboarding process leaves something to be desired  – and how to change that.

You’re Using Orientation Videos from the 1980s

Orientation videos aren’t completely worthless but should speak to new employees in a modern voice. Times have changed and no one is going to take a video seriously when the speakers are dressed in clothing that is obviously from another decade. Orientation videos should be short, informational, and up to date with the way your company operates now in order to be effective.

Hours Are Being Spent Filling Out Paperwork

Some paperwork is necessary to cover legal bases and make sure your employees have the proper qualifications in place. However, hours shouldn’t be wasted filling out paperwork by hand, rewriting the same basics over and over again. HR software can make it easy for you to import some information from the application stage so that your new employees only have to fill out a few electronic pages to get started.

Employees Complain About It – Or Quit

If you hear employees complaining about boring orientation videos or any other aspect of your onboarding process, listen up. Every complaint is an opportunity for you to improve your onboarding and thus the candidate and employee experience overall. Instead of complaining about a crappy onboarding process, many new employees simply quit, which is much worse in the grand scheme.

In addition to listening for gripes about onboarding, you can actively work to gauge employees’ perspectives on your onboarding. Issuing surveys and scheduling interviews with new employees to talk about their onboarding experience can help you figure out how to make onboarding even better.

There’s No Engagement Effort

The onboarding phase is your first opportunity to engage employees and help them acclimate to your company culture and expectations. If your onboarding process doesn’t include some kind of engagement effort, it’s a clear indication that your processes should be revamped. A social media board specifically for employees can be found as a feature in some HR software, which could be introduced during orientation to help with engagement.

Training Comes After Orientation

Orientation and onboarding should be the start of training, not a phase before training that is devoid of learning opportunities. It’s during orientation and onboarding that employees should learn what will be expected on a daily basis and how they can further their development and career. Teaching employees meaningful information right from the start will help you keep their attention and get them into actionable positions faster.

Viewing onboarding as a valuable tool for introducing new employees to your company can help you to maximize the effectiveness of your program.

Guide to Improving the Onboarding Process

Knowing that your onboarding process needs to be improved is only the first step. Awareness of areas that can be updated can help guide the next steps in actually improving your onboarding. Some of your existing onboarding processes may still be valid, but it’s a good idea to look over every part of your onboarding procedure.

Make a List of Everything Your New Hire Needs

Make a list of everything your new hires will need. What paperwork will they need to fill out? Any paperwork that can be emailed should be sent to the new hire ahead of time so they aren’t spending their first day filling out paperwork for HR. In most cases, paperwork can be handled ahead of time so new employees can get started learning the ropes.

What supplies will the new hire need to begin doing their job on the first day? Set up the employee’s workstation before they arrive for a good first impression. It’s also a good idea to enable access to any software or databases that the employee will need to use.

Make a list of everything that you will either need to provide for your new hire or that will need to be done for your new hire. The more that can be done before the new hire even arrives, the smoother the onboarding process will go. A list can help ensure that the onboarding process is smooth and no steps are missed. 

Begin Onboarding Right Away

As soon as you’ve made the decision to hire, your onboarding process should begin. Even if the employee doesn’t start work for two weeks, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to the employee right away. After the employee has accepted the job offer, the hiring manager or the employee’s new manager should contact the employee to welcome them to the team. This early communication can give employees the opportunity to ask any questions they may have. They’ll also have a better understanding of what to expect when they arrive on the first day.

Plan the Onboarding Schedule

Create an onboarding schedule. You should have a plan for what onboarding steps need to be done before the employee’s first day, what needs to happen on the first day, and what needs to happen going forward. The schedule can also be provided to the employee as part of their welcome kit, along with the paperwork they’ll need to complete for the first day. The schedule should be personally tailored to the employee’s needs and new position. 

Implement Company Culture

Company culture is an important part of every job. It’s important to make sure that employees know from the beginning what the company expects. An employee handbook can tell employees what the rules are for things like dress code, personal conduct, PTO, sick days, and more. However, company culture is more than rules. You’ll want to make sure that the onboarding lets new employees know about how things work.

Help New Hires Build Relationships

Relationships between employees can turn an otherwise bad job into a good one. Of course, your company won’t have bad jobs, but that doesn’t mean the interpersonal relationships between employees aren’t still important. New hires won’t have the opportunity to know any of their coworkers yet, so it’s essential for the onboarding process to include those opportunities.

Assign a mentor to your new employee. This person can show the new hire the ropes and help them get to know their new coworkers. It’s also a good idea to have a staff lunch to introduce your new hire to the rest of the team. Your existing employees may already be a close-knit group, so planning events that involve everyone, including the new hire, can help integrate the new employee into the group.

It’s also important for the manager to engage with the new hire regularly. The new hire is still learning the ropes and that doesn’t just include the tasks for their job. They’re still learning about the company culture and what the expectations are in addition to what they’re learning in training. The manager checking in on a regular basis shows the new hire that the company cares to make sure they’re fitting in. It also gives the new hire a chance to ask questions that may not be important enough to interrupt the manager’s work.

If you’re looking for a HRIS to manage the onboarding process, MatcHR can help you find the software that will best meet your needs. Visit our vendor match page to start your search.

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