Your Best Practice Onboarding Guide

August 1, 2023

Your Best Practice Onboarding Guide

The first days and early weeks of a new employee's journey with your company will set the stage for their entire experience. A well-structured and efficient onboarding experience is the foundation for successful, long-term employee satisfaction.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.” Conversely, 80% of new hires who feel undertrained from a poor onboarding experience are more eager to quit.

An effective onboarding process encompasses all of the activities you use to integrate new employees into your organization, both in terms of understanding their role and becoming familiar with the company culture. Investing time and effort into creating a comprehensive onboarding checklist will help you stay organized and establish a solid and lasting connection with your new hire.

Pre-Onboarding Best Practices

A first impression is lasting. Make a good one by creating pre-boarding practices that provide a frictionless experience for new hires.

Communication & Documentation:

Clear and consistent communication helps you to establish a strong connection with new hires before their first week in the office. Include the following tasks in your new hire onboarding checklist:

          • Send a welcome email introducing the new hire to the team and providing essential information about the company, their role, and the onboarding process. Setting these up as automated templates will reduce the load on your human resources department.

          • Give new employees details about their first day, including their start date, where to report, and what time to arrive. Also, take this opportunity to send company swag, such as a coffee mug, to make your employee feel appreciated.

          • Send out an onboarding packet with all required forms so it can be completed before the new hire's first day. With distributed teams, this would be best done via email leveraging DocuSign (or a similar eSignature brand) as opposed to physical mail.

          • Provide an employee handbook with company policies, including dress code, security best practices, social media use, and more.

          • Leverage digital platforms for new hire paperwork and signing to streamline the process and reduce paper waste.

Technology & Access:

Nothing is more frustrating than technical difficulties when learning a new job. Make it easy for all new employees to get started by taking care of these tasks ahead of time:

          • Coordinate with your IT department to prepare workstations, laptops, user accounts, email addresses, and other vital tools in advance, so new employees can hit the ground running. Ensuring that laptops and other necessary work from home equipment are delivered to the new hire before their first day is essential—you don’t want them to have a productivity bottleneck already!

          • Provide clear instructions on using their workspace and essential hardware and software, and offer support for any technical difficulties.

          • Provide online training resources or introductory sessions on critical systems and applications, so new employees can quickly become proficient in using them.

Day One Best Practices

An employee's first day can be overwhelming if you simultaneously throw too much at them. Make your new hires feel welcomed, informed, and supported from the very beginning. Employee onboarding best practices will simplify new hire orientation and training.

Orientation & Training

Providing comprehensive orientation and training sessions allows new hires to become familiar with your company's values, goals, and expectations.

Take the following steps to introduce new hires to the company culture:

          • Begin with a welcome session, sharing the company's history, mission, core values, and any unique traditions or customs your company has.

          • Share stories of current employees who embody the company culture, emphasizing how their contributions have significantly impacted the organization's success.

          • Offer an overview of the employee's new role, responsibilities, and key performance indicators, setting clear expectations.

          • Arrange for department-specific orientation sessions with their direct manager to help new hires understand how their role fits within the larger organizational structure.

          • Schedule training sessions for any essential skills, tools, or software required for the new employee's position.

Welcoming & Support

Creating a welcoming atmosphere and offering ongoing support is crucial for building rapport and ensuring new employees feel valued and included—particularly when employees are scattered across the country or globe and work remotely. Some ways you can do this are:

          • Pair new hires with experienced team members who can serve as mentors, guiding them through onboarding activities and providing valuable insights.

          • Organize group activities to help new employees forge connections with their colleagues, fostering a sense of camaraderie.

          • Encourage open communication and feedback, assuring new employees that their thoughts and concerns are valued and taken seriously.

First Month Best Practices

Onboarding continues once the paperwork is filled out. Implementing a strategic plan throughout the first months will help increase employee retention.

Goal-Setting & Feedback

Set clear goals and expectations and provide frequent feedback:

          • Collaborate with new employees to set goals at 30, 60, and 90 days into their jobs that align with the team's and organization's overall objectives.

          • Provide a clear roadmap for achieving these goals, including any necessary resources, training, development opportunities, or support required.

          • Schedule regular one-on-one check-ins with new hires to discuss their progress, address any challenges, offer help, and celebrate achievements.

Socialization & Integration:

Encourage socialization and team-building to help new hires integrate into your company culture and feel like they're an essential part of the team. HR professionals can do the following to promote socialization:

          • Encourage collaboration and cross-functional projects, allowing new employees to work with different teams and learn from their peers.

          • Create spaces for informal conversation, such as chat rooms or virtual coffee breaks, allowing new hires to connect with colleagues more personally.

          • Foster a diversified and inclusive work environment that values different backgrounds and experiences by allowing new employees to share their ideas and perspectives.

Best Practices Onboarding Remote Workers?

As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, organizations must adapt their onboarding processes to accommodate employees who may not physically be in the office.

It can be challenging to build connections when your employees are dispersed. Remote onboarding can also make it more difficult to ensure your new employees have the necessary resources, tools, and support for an efficient workflow.

You can leverage onboarding software such as video conferencing platforms and other digital tools for training, collaboration, and engagement to overcome these challenges. Regular check-ins with remote employees will help you proactively address any issues and help your employees feel like valued team members.

Final Thoughts

A great start goes a long way toward ensuring a successful employee experience. You can be sure your employees enjoy the best possible start by implementing a comprehensive onboarding process.

Your employee onboarding process should begin with the hiring process and job offer, continue throughout an employee's first year, and gradually transition to an employee engagement program. Hiring managers should track metrics, such as new employee retention rates, to measure the effectiveness of your onboarding program.

Successfully attracting and retaining top talent is a never-ending process. Notably, ensuring that all your employees are equipped with the right tools they need to get the job done (e.g., software updates, broken laptop fixes, monitor replacements, peripheral requests, etc.) doesn’t end with delivering them a laptop before day one. See how Firstbase can help improve the employee IT journey here.