Do’s And Don’ts When Designing An Employee Onboarding Program

[This article was written by Kharkiv, Ukraine Alexey.]

Having reviewed dozens of candidates and finally found a perfect hire, the better half of organizations fail to onboard a new teammate and it results in an early turnover. Study what you should do and what you shouldn’t do to design a successful onboarding program.

Small, medium and large enterprises have onboarding processes. Yet, it takes about a year before the new hire becomes effective at work. In this article, we’ll elaborate on the practices that can help to hasten the process that you’d mind when planning the program for the company.

What’s the Employee Onboarding Program?

It’s a process of welcoming a new employee, helping him/her to acclimate and succeed. However, you need to get ready that it’s not a one-day event that requires several months. Within this period, you should teach the newcomer the company culture, visions, and provide him/her with knowledge, skills, tools, etc. needed to be proficient at a new workplace.

Providing the needed support to the newcomers, you help them to succeed at work faster. You’d consider the fact that the employee onboarding process can last all the year, including regular check-ins, sequential feedback and involving the entire team.

What You Should Do for Successful Employee Onboarding

It’s an individual process that depends on several factors like the newcomer’s position and duties in your company. For instance, the process of onboarding a new developer differs from a new Human Resources (HR) onboarding. Yet, there are general points that should be included in each onboarding program. Let’s check the main DO’s you’d account when designing your successful onboarding program.

Set Onboarding Goals

Each company wants the new hires to begin adding value as fast as possible. You can meet the objective faster by setting onboarding goals as well as expectations. Such an approach is beneficial for both new workers and supervisors.

Creating a systematic design, the newcomers get motivation and, what’s important, direction. Therefore, they know what is expected from them and, at the same time, hold a clue what they need to do now, and what’s next, etc. The managers, in their turn, can monitor the progress, know what stage is accomplished and what is to be accomplished.

Breaking large and difficult processes down into manageable tasks, you train your new hires comprehensively and in a more efficient manner. So, the plan with well-defined tasks and goals is the first thing to do on the way to successful onboarding.

Plan Pre-boarding Activities

Starting the process much earlier than the first working day, you’ll minimize the pressure and stress that the new employees feel on the first day at the company.

Thus, planning pre-boarding activities, you’ll space out the time for more important issues and provide them with an opportunity to get ready for the first working day. In such a way, the organizations can retain up to 81% of the new hires in their first year. Here are a few common activities related to pre-boarding:

  • newcomers can read and/or fill some part of the paperwork You can send the documentation via email. As a result, you save the time of both the worker and your HR;
  • tell about the company’s mission, culture, vision, rules, policies by sending the employee handbook with enough lead time. Thus, the new workers will prepare what is waiting for them at the workplace;
  • send the checklist beforehand to let newcomers study up on the employee onboarding program, get aware of what to bargain for at the new workplace.

Get the Team Involved

Human Resources Specialist (HR) is the first person, whom the newcomers contact. It’s HR to introduce the newcomers to the colleagues, instruct them, help them, etc. Anyway, it’s a team to collaborate with the new employees. That’s why the whole team should be involved in the process.

You can assign different members in various tasks related to onboarding. Thus, ask one coworker to make an office tour, another one to tell more about the organization’s mission, workflow, etc.

Meet-and-greet, lunchtime, after-work welcoming party and other suchlike activities can also help the newcomer to feel like a member of the team. Plan social integration for improving the work-life, enhancing employee satisfaction, increasing engagement and productivity.

Use Appropriate Onboarding Software

Paper forms, manuals, training materials are already a relic. Yet, there are lots of traditional methods still widely used by organizations. And all the stuff is an essential part of the process. Anyway, there are many efficient options to choose from.

Presently, there is a range of employee onboarding software solutions on offer. Onboarding software automates workflows and simplifies the process, making it more accurate and effective, convenient for everyone, plus eliminates the need for paper forms.

Thanks to the properly chosen onboarding software, you can track the progress of each new hire, get advanced reports, carry out assessments, etc. You’re free to select the software by features, reports and other options. Choose the solution that suits the needs and missions of your company most of all to meet the goals faster.

Plan Often Check-Ins

Check-ins are the way to support the newcomers. Checking-in with a manager, new employees will have time to ask some questions, give and/or get feedback. Making coffee breaks and discussing the work of new hires, their progress, feelings, you can find out:

  • if the hires are on track;
  • if they are meeting the expectations;
  • where they need help;
  • if there are any gaps and/or improvements to be done, etc.

Check-ins help you to create a friendly atmosphere, learn more about the workers and make them feel more comfortable. It’s better to provide such meetings not only in the first weeks but within the first year at the company.

What to Avoid to Achieve Employee Onboarding Success

Below we offer you to look through the most common DON’Ts. If you find any match with the employee onboarding program of your organization in the checklist, then ALARM! You’d assume measures in the nearest future. Especially if you have high volumes of new hires in your company.

Don’t Focus Solely on Paperwork

The statistics are poor, about 58% of organizations mentioned that the main focus of the program is on documenting, rules, policies, and other paperwork. Certainly, the tax information along with the HR paperwork is a crucial component of onboarding. Anyway, it’s only one out of the program aspects.

Besides, the better half of the documentation can be emailed to the newcomers, thus they read and fill it in advance. That will free time for training, socialization, and other more crucial activities. If you want to take your employee onboarding program on the next level, then don’t make it administrative, but strategic and structured. You should focus on your employees, not paperwork.

Don’t Forget to Ask for Feedback

Getting feedback from every new employee, you get insights to improve the process of onboarding and make it better for the newcomers. That’s why you’d ask to answer open-ended and specific questions before and after the onboarding.

Discover what was good and bad, what can be better, what suggestions they have, etc. You can make it through Google form or something like that, survey, or during the face-to-face conversation.

However, it’s better to get in-between feedback as well. In such a way you will keep communication and reveal the gaps in the early stage to fix the situation, and keep hard-hitting onboarding on the right track.

Don’t Forget to Measure the Onboarding Process

Having set the objectives and written the training plan, you should also cater to the key success measures. It’s crucial for gauging the training progress. In such a way you will be on to what stage of the program is successfully completed, which one is on target, and where the background study is required.

Plan how you’ll exam the newcomers and grading system. Test, interview or use any other way to accomplish it. However, it’s vital to keep on track and measure the progress of the process and start to act in case anything goes wrong.

Don’t Overwhelm New Hires

Onboarding is one of the six stages of the employee lifecycle. And it’s one of the most stressful periods for both the team and new hires. Besides that, newbies are to read and remember tons of information like the employee handbook, contracts, project documentation, learn the rules, culture, policies of the company, etc. It can be overwhelming.

The way is to break all the information down into pieces. You can send a piece of information to learn before the first working day, then provide the most crucial documentation and give a follow-up to read for their own.

In such a way the newcomer will absorb information more effectively without any suffering and achieve proficiency faster. Spreading out the administrative tasks during onboarding, you’ll ease the process as well.

Bottom Line

Currently, there are lots of opportunities for professionals. Thus, it’s a challenge to find and attract the hire. Keep in mind the fact that any onboarding program has a long-lasting effect. Due to the recent research, 69% of new employees are as likely as not to stay with an organization for at least three years in case they have a positive experience on their first day at the company.

Yet, you’d mind that the process is longer than one day. That’s why designing the onboarding program for a year is a wise business decision. Keeping about 70% of your staff onboard for the long term, your company can save a budget by reducing the costs of acquiring new employees.

Thus, when your employee receives a new suggestion, the decision to stay or leave will depend on how good or bad your onboarding program was. Great onboarding can improve retention by 82%. That’s why it’s imperative to use this checklist for designing a successful onboarding program. Moreover, these tips will help you to turn your new hires into proficient employees at the new workplace faster by creating an effective experience of engagement and retention.

Author Bio:

Head of Digital Marketing at DDI Development Company. Kharkiv, Ukraine Alexey Involved in the development of marketing and employer branding strategy for various startups and enterprises.

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