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23rd Apr, 2024

Craig Lewis
Craig Lewis
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

Employee onboarding is the process of integrating people into a new role and company. It often includes an initial induction/orientation process and activities that give greater insight into how the company works, its culture, people, mission and values, and structure. 

From setting up workstations, carrying out initial training and introducing processes and colleagues to providing necessary resources, onboarding new employees is vital to ensure peak performance

In this article, we examine the best practice and procedures needed to create and measure a successful onboarding plan.  

What makes an effective onboarding process? 

A strong onboarding process will help new recruits acclimatise to their role and better understand the expectations of the job. Effective staff onboarding will result in improved performance, increased efficiency and higher employee satisfaction, leading to better employee retention and staff morale. 

Your onboarding process should begin from the moment you start hiring and not end until a new employee is fully embedded in their role. This way, you can ensure recruits hit the ground running and become essential cogs in your company wheel.  

Steps to improve your employee onboarding procedure 

In order to maximise your employee onboarding procedure, hiring managers and human resources professionals should plan the path a new recruit will take from the very start of the hiring process and throughout a new recruits’ first year. 

The timeline below lists the stages which should be followed and what processes need to take place in each case.  

Before the hiring process 

Staff onboarding should begin from the moment an organisation realises it needs to take on a new recruit(s). 

Applicants will get their first impressions of your company as the hiring process unfolds, meaning you should ensure every potential employee enjoys the best and most seamless experience possible. 

Writing a clear job description, which accurately portrays the role in question and the skills and experience a candidate will need, will make sure new recruits are fully aware of the role they are taking on, while outlining each stage of the recruitment process clearly will keep people engaged. 

It is also important to communicate regularly and give all candidates your full attention during interviews and throughout the hiring process.  

At the offer stage 

When onboarding new employees, getting the offer stage right will allow your company to make sure the top talent you have attracted is successfully brought into the organisation.

If possible, it is best to make an offer in person or via a phone call rather than by email. This is a more personal approach and gives you an opportunity to communicate your enthusiasm to the candidate. Follow-up with an official offer letter, listing all the relevant benefits of working for your organisation and the necessary contact details, allowing any remaining questions to be swiftly answered. 

As part of your onboarding plan, you should be prepared to tackle the potentially thorny issue of salary negotiations. By remaining courteous and clear throughout such conversations, you can build a strong relationship with potential employees. 

When it comes to setting a start date, offer some flexibility and respect your new employee’s need to give appropriate notice at their current work. Once a date has been set that can be shared with the new recruit’s team so they can prepare to welcome them and have any equipment and resources available immediately.  

Before the first day 

Prior to a new employee starting, you should take time to prepare all the paperwork they will need and to make sure the equipment and resources they require are available. 

This will include giving them access to items such as your employee handbook, and ensuring any relevant forms, such as an employment agreement, are filled out and signed. 

The employee onboarding process prior to the first day will also include the setting up of online accounts, such as an email account and any password management content. New technology, including items such as a laptop, monitor, mobile phone, mouse, keyboard and headset, should also be put in place. 

As part of the onboarding plan, you could consider inviting your new hire to have a tour of your office or meet the team they will be working with prior to their start date, either in person or over a video call if remote. 

This is the time to arrange everything from parking access and a welcome email to introductory meetings and even a first assignment, meaning your new hire will not spend their first days and weeks waiting for IT or human resources to put things in place before they can start doing their job.  

The first day 

Employee onboarding should include having a staff member ready to welcome any new hire to the office, with arrangements having been made for a tour of the office and to meet relevant team members as well as colleagues in the wider organisation. 

Welcome meetings should be set up, and an overview of the new employee's team, their role and responsibilities, and how success will be measured should be provided. 

It is important to make time for any outstanding paperwork to be completed, as well as to make sure all equipment and items such as passwords and email systems are available. 

Staff onboarding should also include either a formal HR onboarding meeting or access to relevant documents covering procedures such as benefits enrolment, pension, company holidays, your organisation’s values and missions, and the team culture. 

The first couple of months 

Employers can sometimes think someone’s first week in a new role is the definitive end point of the onboarding process, but this is a big mistake. 

The first two or three months in a role are vital to helping a recruit become embedded in your company’s culture. 

Regular one-to-one meetings and ongoing learning and training can help new hires settle into their job, while informal 30-, 60- and 90-day check-in's can be used to address any concerns.

Companies should also ask for feedback on their onboarding process, so they refine and improve it in the future.  

The first year 

The end of the employee's first year is traditionally when onboarding transitions into retention and employee satisfaction. By that stage, your organisation should have been able to assess an employee’s performance and productivity, and will be ready to make the move from on-the-job training to continuous development.

 Following a robust onboarding plan will not only set people on the path to success but improve retention and boost employee morale.  

Recruitment and onboarding flow 

The above step-by-step procedure can be simplified further into a basic onboarding plan, which can be easily followed and used as a checklist. Such an onboarding plan might look something like: 

  • As part of the pre-onboarding process, create a job description and provide clear communication throughout the hiring process. 

  • Make an official job offer and carry out any pre-employment checks and screening. 

  • Establish the schedule and job duties your new starter will follow. 

  • Prepare any equipment, resources and documentation required. 

  • Create an induction plan and outline how day one will look for your new hire. 

  • Put any relevant training plans and follow-up meetings in place. 

  • Provide continual support as required and gather feedback about your onboarding process. 

Onboarding management: how to measure success 

The best ways to measure onboarding success are through a new hire’s job satisfaction levels, the amount of time it takes them to become productive, overall morale, and employee turnover. 

By surveying the employee satisfaction of recruits, you can make judgements on important factors in the workplace such as someone’s satisfaction with their daily tasks, the benefits they get, their pay, and how they interact with their manager and team. 

Asking new hire’s questions about their workplace expectations, how it compares to their ideal workplace, or whether the work they are doing matches up to the job description will allow your company to refine its onboarding processes and discover any elements that need adjusting. 

Keeping an eye on employee morale means that if you find problems that are making people unhappy, you can react quickly before they have any impact on employee retention levels. Employees who have strong relationships with co-workers are more likely to feel happy at work, with activities such as away days or team lunches providing good ways of boosting morale.

As part of the onboarding process, it is also possible to measure the time it takes a new employee to become productive and fully integrated as part of the team.

Effective onboarding will help new hires contribute to an organisation’s overall goals in a timely way. This can be measured by setting up objective benchmarks for a recruit to hit, as well as via ongoing, subjective assessment.

Perhaps the most critical metric to monitor when analysing the performance of your onboarding process is the turnover rate within your company. A robust onboarding process will increase employee morale and loyalty, meaning your organisation will have a higher retention rate. 

Ultimately, by following an onboarding plan and carefully integrating people into your organisation, you will benefit from having new employees who match and enhance your company’s values, believe in your goals, are loyal and hard-working, and who will hit the ground running. This will lead to higher employee satisfaction levels, increased productivity and strong retention. 

To learn more about how to create an effective and reliable onboarding service, visit our dedicated page. 

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