Redesign Your Employee Onboarding Program: Actionable Tips + Checklists
Are you a hiring manager looking to refine your employee onboarding program? Read this article, where we teach you the ins and outs of the entire process!
Human resource managers face plenty of challenges in their work, with employee onboarding being among the toughest ones. The demand for talented individuals is high, but the supply of qualified candidates is steadily decreasing.
To add to the problem, after investing countless hours in searching for, identifying, interviewing, and recruiting the perfect candidate, they sometimes end up leaving for better opportunities within the first 90 days. All the hard work put into the hiring process goes to waste, and you're back to square one.
This leads us to the question: how can implementing a more structured employee onboarding process prevent these issues? Read this article til the end to find out!
What Is the Employee Onboarding Process?
Employee onboarding consists of a carefully planned series of steps designed to seamlessly integrate new hires into an organization and help them become acquainted with the company's structure, values, and objectives.
The precise definition of employee onboarding may vary among different organizations. While the overall process is generally similar, the specific duration and tasks involved make each onboarding program distinctive.
Some HR managers may view employee onboarding as merely completing new hire paperwork, but more knowledgeable and dedicated ones have a broader understanding of its meaning.
Onboarding encompasses the timeframe from extending the job offer to the point when the employee begins successfully performing their role. Each step within this timeframe, including the orientation program, the training plan, the establishment of performance metrics, and the creation of a feedback loop, falls under the umbrella of onboarding.
Onboarding vs. Orientation
When you have fresh faces joining your workforce, employee orientation acts as a warm introduction to your company. It provides an overview of what your organization is all about.
On the other hand, employee onboarding goes beyond this single event and is a comprehensive process with various activities (including orientation) aimed at helping new hires grow into accomplished and proficient members of your team.
Benefits of Having a Great Employee Onboarding Process
Let's start by determining the key benefits an organization can experience when having a good employee onboarding program in place!
A. Acclimatize New Hires Quickly
When a new employee joins the team, you can’t only give them their badge and show them to their parking spot. You have to provide them with an in-depth understanding of what is expected of them.
Showing them where to seek help and guidance from their colleagues and managers, and what they can anticipate from the company, helps new hires to grasp their responsibilities right from the start.
B. Shorten Time-to-Productivity
Having an effective onboarding process makes a big difference in how soon your new employee can start contributing effectively to the team's projects and goals.
If your program is disorganized or unclear, it's only going to slow things down. Your employees will end up spending valuable time in those initial weeks just trying to figure out what they need to know instead of hitting the ground running.
Providing comprehensive onboarding materials that cover all the important aspects of their role and your company sets them up for success.
C. Create Impactful Relationships
Ideally, employee onboarding should be an opportunity to develop both professional and personal connections.
From a professional standpoint, connecting new hires with team members who can guide them exposes them to a skill exchange that will ultimately enhance their performance.
On a personal level, onboarding programs create an appropriate environment for new hires to align with the company culture, and ensure a good "fit" within the organization.
D. Provide Early Career Support and Guidance
A good onboarding process paves the way for a successful career for new employees and equips them to shape their future within your company. It provides clarity on the expected level of effort and performance, while also allowing them to establish and prioritize their own goals for professional development.
E. Reduce Workload for Other Teams
When new employees have all the necessary resources and tools readily available to them, it puts less strain on the HR department, as you won't have to handle individual inquiries as often. It also reduces the workload for colleagues who would otherwise have to give impromptu clarifications and on-the-job training.
Reducing the additional workload for other team members is all about streamlining knowledge-sharing processes. An optimal way to do this is to record relevant conversations with other team members and share them with new employees.
MeetGeek is an intuitive AI virtual meeting assistant that automatically records, transcribes, summarizes, and analyzes your meetings, so you can share your company’s collective knowledge in only a few clicks!
F. Improve New Employee Retention Rates
When organizations do not properly support and guide their new employees, instead adopting a "you're on your own" mentality, this can lead to a significant turnover rate.
The expenses involved in replacing an employee can be as high as 50%-60% of the employee's yearly salary, with overall costs ranging anywhere from 90%-200%.
These costs do not include more hidden factors like decreased overall productivity, loss of specialized knowledge, and lowered morale among the remaining staff.
G. Promote a Transparent Company Culture
In a perfect world, job descriptions should perfectly align with their respective roles. However, in reality, there are certain areas where roles can be a bit blurry.
This is where a thoughtfully planned onboarding process comes into play, allowing you to address any uncertainties or unclear responsibilities openly and effectively.
H. Reduce the Cost of the Hiring Process
Onboarding new employees can be quite expensive due to the various training programs, resources, and administrative tasks involved. On average, companies typically spend around $3,000 to bring each new employee to full productivity.
Strategic onboarding goes beyond cost reduction: it allows you to pinpoint where to distribute company resources to maximize the productivity and performance of new hires. It also plays an important role in enhancing hiring strategies by attracting and retaining top talent.
12 Tips to Refine Your Onboarding Process
We prepared 12 actionable tips to help your entire HR team refine their employee onboarding process!
1. Create a Blueprint for Your Onboarding Program
To establish a consistent and efficient plan for how to onboard new employees, begin by addressing various aspects of onboarding such as administration, training, and cultural and organizational alignment:
- For administrative tasks, consider what information needs to be collected from new employees, how they will complete and submit forms, and who will receive the forms.
- In terms of training, define what knowledge and skills the employee needs to possess, what tools and resources they will require, and how their performance will be evaluated.
- Regarding cultural alignment, plan structured events to introduce new hires to the team, consider how to facilitate both structured and informal engagement, and determine who should be involved in these experiences.
- For organizational alignment, decide how to instill your organization's values in new hires, think of ways to immerse them in the organization, and identify who should be involved throughout the process.
Once you have gathered all this information, you can create a cohesive onboarding journey for your new hires. You can easily do this by creating employee onboarding checklists, which can either refer to major tasks and requirements for the entire onboarding experience or focus on smaller step-by-step processes.
2. Tailor the Onboarding Experience to the New Hire
Every department will require a different onboarding and training experience, in addition to the necessary paperwork, so you must personalize the onboarding process according to each employee's needs.
To ensure flexibility, analyze their unique strengths and weaknesses, as this will allow you to support them further down the line and adjust your onboarding practices in real time.
Additionally, consider prompting new employees to customize their own onboarding experience through self-assessments, checklists, and surveys to help them identify specific areas they want to focus on during their journey.
3. Make Short, Medium and Long-Term Goals Clear
Every new hire should be aware of short, medium, and long-term goals. This helps set clear expectations, improve performance, and ensure alignment with the organization's objectives. Here are some ways to achieve this:
A. Short-Term Goals (Daily/Weekly)
- When welcoming new hires, emphasize their priorities. Clearly communicate the specific projects, responsibilities, or tasks they will be working on during their initial days or weeks on the job.
- Break down these goals into steps, providing clear instructions on how to execute them.
- To further assist their progress, assign a mentor who can offer guidance and support.
- Conduct regular check-ins, through daily or weekly feedback sessions to discuss progress, address concerns, and provide constructive feedback.
B. Medium-Term Goals (Monthly/Quarterly)
- Identify significant milestones or projects that new hires should achieve within their first few months.
- Align these goals with team or departmental objectives.
- Define clear metrics, deadlines, and expectations to help new hires understand what success looks like and how their contributions will be quantified.
- Prompt new hires to regularly self-assess their progress toward medium-term goals. Providing tools or templates for self-reflection can aid in this process.
- Schedule monthly or quarterly performance discussions to review progress, provide feedback, and make any necessary adjustments to goals.
C. Long-Term Goals (Annual/Career Progression)
- Discuss with new hires about their career aspirations early on in the onboarding process to tailor their development and growth plans in a way that will boost employee engagement.
- Provide information on the various career paths available within the organization and the steps needed for advancement, and collaborate with new hires to create a development plan that aligns with their long-term goals.
- Schedule regular conversations to evaluate progress towards long-term goals, offer guidance on development opportunities, and make any necessary adjustments to the development plan.
4. Provide Access to Your Organizational Knowledge Base
Providing your new hires with unrestricted access to your organization's collective knowledge allows them to handle increasingly complex tasks, find solutions to recurring issues, and learn about best practices and efficient workflows for specific processes. Knowledge sharing can also be an effective way to improve workplace safety. Ensuring staff have access to actionable guides, safety protocols and advice supported by digital and physical security audit data will help new hires to avoid making dangerous mistakes.
Additionally, they can explore these resources at their own pace, even when there is no immediate need. This empowers them to take ownership of their own learning and development and encourages them to add to the organizational knowledge themselves.
Here are some general tips for effective knowledge sharing:
- Structure your knowledge content in a logical and intuitive manner to ensure easy navigation and accessibility.
- Ensure that your knowledge content is comprehensive, leaving no information gaps or unanswered questions on the topic at hand.
- Repurpose knowledge content into different formats to enhance its effectiveness and provide convenience for employees.
MeetGeek’s conversation repository allows you to share organizational knowledge with new hires in only a few clicks. This way, they will have access to the full context of your already established framework and processes.
5. Set Up the Workspace
Provide new employees with a tidy desk, comfortable chair, and any other necessary items for their workstations. Consider including some company-branded goodies, office supplies, or even a simple gift like a mug or small plant to create a welcoming environment. In the case of remote work, you may want to send them a package of these items to their address.
Request all devices and equipment well in advance so that everything is ready to go on their first day. Ensure that their computer, phone, keyboard, and mouse are connected and ready for immediate use upon arrival.
NOTE: Double-check that their work email is properly configured, and gather their login credentials for the various tools and platforms they will need to perform their job. Contact the appropriate individuals within your organization, such as the IT team, facilities manager, and accounting department, so they can properly set up the new employee in all relevant systems and provide necessary access.
6. Provide Learning and Development Opportunities
To help employees reach their fullest potential, provide tailored learning and development sessions that address individual strengths and weaknesses. Experiment with various formats like instructional materials, engaging resources, and interactive sessions.
Additionally, encourage new hires to learn from their peers and colleagues through group projects, team-building activities, and cross-functional collaborations. These experiences can take on a more formal structure, such as scheduled and guided sessions, or they can be more flexible and spontaneous, based on individual needs.
Regardless of the approach, consider rewarding the employees who support your efforts to create a culture of continuous learning. This can include incentives for completing additional certifications, attending workshops, or participating in relevant industry events.
7. Monitor Their Progress Over Time
To enhance the process of tracking and the progress of new hires, consider employing the following methods:
- Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that outline the expected milestones and progress for new hires. This will provide a solid framework for measuring their performance objectively.
- Develop a comprehensive checklist or milestone tracker specifically designed for the onboarding process. Regularly update and document their progress to identify any areas of improvement or gaps in their understanding and skills.
- Schedule regular meetings with new hires to discuss their progress. Begin by hosting them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, gradually decreasing their frequency as the new hires become more independent and self-sufficient.
- Conduct formal performance evaluations at specific intervals, such as after the initial 30/60/90 days.
- Seek input from new hires' managers and colleagues to evaluate their integration into the team and their ability to meet job requirements.
This multifaceted approach will provide a comprehensive and well-rounded assessment of their performance.
8. Encourage Socialization with Mentors and Other Team Members
Even for self-driven individuals, it is essential that they have access to assistance as needed. To facilitate this, create opportunities for new hires to socialize and engage with their colleagues in both structured and unstructured ways.
This could involve working with a teammate on a specific task, connecting with a different department for a larger project, or having regular check-ins with a supervisor. Help new hires understand that collaboration is not an optional extra, but an essential part of their job.
Additionally, you can create mentorships for new hires during onboarding. Identify experienced teammates who have previously held the same position, managers, team leaders, or individuals responsible for specific initiatives. Additionally, providing IT and tech support for training purposes can also contribute to a successful onboarding experience.
Set up dedicated communication spaces, such as a Slack channel specifically for onboarding assistance, to promote focused guidance and support for new hires at all times.
9. Integrate Employee Onboarding Automation Tools
Automation is mandatory for a modern employee onboarding process. By automating mundane tasks, new hires can allocate more time and energy to important responsibilities.
Nevertheless, automation shouldn’t replace the human touch in the onboarding experience. Its purpose is to make the journey easier by enabling new employees to focus on what truly matters while the machines handle routine tasks.
Investing in a good tool stack to optimize your onboarding automation processes should be non-negotiable. Not only should your tools work great on their own but they should also successfully integrate with one another.
Luckily, MeetGeek has integrations with all your favorite tools and workspaces. From work boards to CRMs, you can forget about having to manually update them with the information obtained from your online meetings!
10. Provide Focused and Timely Feedback
To ensure that your feedback is valuable and helpful, keep it focused and timely.
When it comes to focus, the feedback should be personalized to the individual's performance expectations, further enhancing the onboarding experience. It should also consider the relevant context and provide in-depth suggestions. Design your feedback comprehensively, providing enough information to ensure clarity.
In terms of timeliness, there are two ways to deliver feedback. In some cases, it's important to provide immediate feedback after the new hire has taken a specific action. This can involve acknowledging their progress or offering assistance if they fall short of expectations.
In other cases, feedback should be delivered after a certain period of time has passed. These instances are more formal and typically summarize the employee's overall performance, experience, and growth, revisit goals and objectives that were set earlier on, and create a plan for the employee's future progression.
11. Request Feedback from New Hires
It’s also your duty to gather feedback from your newly onboarded employees, as well as others involved in the onboarding process.
To effectively gather feedback, it is recommended to ask new employees for their input at relevant stages of their onboarding journey. Waiting until they have fully completed a task ensures a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of their experience.
The context of the feedback desired also determines the method and depth of the request. For simpler experiences, pulse surveys can provide quick and effective feedback. However, for more complex and in-depth experiences, more formal survey sessions or interactions may be necessary.
12. Continuously Improve Your Onboarding Efforts
Your employee onboarding processes should constantly evolve and improve to enhance both individual employee experiences and the overall approach to onboarding.
To make targeted improvements to your onboarding processes, check collective performance data, qualitative employee assessments, and employee feedback.
Assess metrics like employee happiness, voluntary turnover, new employee satisfaction, and performance to gauge the impact of your onboarding practices on the company as a whole.
Take note of which employees are staying onboard, and consider addressing any unintentional loss of high-potential employees through improvements to your onboarding processes.
Whether you make minor adjustments or significant changes to your onboarding approach, ensure that these modifications are documented in your internal knowledge base. This will enable continuous improvement and ensure that your team consistently follows best practices.
Remote Onboarding Tips
Even in large companies, HR leaders often have an overwhelming amount of work to handle. They spend a significant amount of time searching for the right resources, especially in the context of remote or hybrid work, and by the time the employee onboarding process begins, they are exhausted.
Instead of adding to their exhaustion by making them do things the traditional way, automating the process can significantly reduce their workload.
A simple workflow tool like MeetGeek can automate the entire employee onboarding process from beginning to end. How? Our AI virtual meeting assistant allows your HR department to focus on the actual onboarding process, instead of spending countless hours scanning through stacks of interview notes, meeting minutes, and conversation records.
Here is how you can leverage MeetGeek for your virtual onboarding program:
- Efficient Knowledge Transfer: The assistant can automatically record all onboarding meetings and generate accurate transcriptions, so new hires can review the discussions and instructions to ensure they have a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and tasks.
- Easy Reference and Study Material: The recorded meetings and transcriptions serve as a valuable repository of information that can be referenced for clarifications, refreshers, or if any missed details from the onboarding process.
- Flexibility in Onboarding: Remote or hybrid onboarding often requires coordinating meetings across different time zones or accommodating individual schedules. With our AI virtual meeting assistant, new hires can access recordings and transcriptions at their convenience, ensuring they don't miss out on important information even if they can't attend a live meeting.
- Easy Review and Feedback: Supervisors and mentors can review the meeting recordings and transcriptions to provide detailed feedback and guidance to new employees. This ensures that the onboarding process is tailored to individual needs and allows for specific areas of improvement to be addressed.
- Continuous Learning: As new hires progress in their roles, they can revisit recorded meetings and transcriptions to refresh their knowledge or reinforce their understanding.
- Analytics and Insights: AI-powered meeting assistants can provide analytics and insights on meeting effectiveness, participation levels, and frequently discussed topics. This information can be used to identify potential knowledge gaps in the onboarding process and make improvements for future hires.
Employee Onboarding Process Checklist
Here are the most important things to keep in mind with each step of the onboarding process!
Pre-Onboarding: First Impressions
- Complete the necessary paperwork for the new hire
- Establish online accounts for the new employee
- Schedule introductory meetings with key colleagues during the first few weeks of the new employee's start
- Schedule an HR onboarding meeting for the new hire's first day
- Plan the first assignment for the new employee
- Send a welcome email that includes details about what to expect, including meeting information, and their arrival time on the first day
- Ask if they have any further questions
- Prepare and set up the new employee's desk, equipment, and welcome kit
- Ensure that the company email account is set up for the new hire and forward regular team meeting invitations to them
- Remind the department of the new hire's start date through a message
- Add the new employee's email to relevant distribution lists, and include their new phone number in relevant phone lists
- If not already done, add the new employee's details to the HRIS system
Onboarding on the First Day
- Ensure that there is a designated person ready to greet and welcome the new employee upon their arrival at the office
- Provide the new employee with a comprehensive tour of the office and provide them with the necessary information regarding their schedule for the initial days
- Schedule a meeting between the new employee and their supervisor to introduce them to the team and explain their role
- Set aside time specifically for the new employee to complete the necessary paperwork
- Arrange a lunch outing for the new employee to allow them to socialize with key members of their team
- Allocate some time for the new employee to set up their new equipment, create new passwords, and access their new accounts
- Conduct a formal onboarding session with the HR department, which covers topics such as benefits enrollment, company holidays and policies, the company's organizational structure, team culture, and a review of the company's vision, mission, and values
Onboarding on the First Week
- Arrange regular management meetings with your new hire
- Clearly define goals and performance objectives for the first 3/6 months and year.
- Discuss the key projects they will be involved in over the next 3 months
- Assign meaningful work tasks to help them get started and engaged
- Provide prompt feedback on their initial tasks and set performance expectations
- Schedule introductory meetings with all departments in the company, not just the ones they will be working closely with
- Regularly check in with them and address any questions they may have
Onboarding for 30-60-90 Days
- To ensure effective communication, schedule regular individual meetings
- Conduct a casual follow-up after 30 days to tackle any immediate issues, and another at 90 days to assess overall progress
- Arrange any internal or external training required for the job
- Seek input on the onboarding procedure to enhance it for future employees.
Upgrade Your Employee Onboarding Process Today!
New employee onboarding doesn’t have to be a struggle anymore. But to streamline the entire process, you must change your optics on the matter and approach it from a more structured and strategic perspective.
If you found our tips useful, try MeetGeek for free to see how it can help you optimize your onboarding practices and maximize your employee retention rates!
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