Successful employee onboarding

Published by
On 23-Jun-22

Successful employee onboarding Successfully onboarding a new starter is essential to make sure they not only feel welcomed as part of the team, but that they have the right tools, information and knowledge they need to get started in their new role.
 
Research shows that almost a third of new employees hand their notice in within the first 6 months of joining a business – so those first days and weeks play a pivotal role for a new member of staff. A good onboarding experience sets a new starter up for success and means they’re more likely to feel like an integral part of the company in the long run.
 
What is onboarding?
An onboarding process is usually a standardised structure that a business uses to integrate a new member of staff into the company – it’s about giving someone the support they need so they can start making an impact in the business, as well as feel part of the company’s culture.
 
An onboarding process typically follows a set of stages that cover three key components: the business, the people and the role. In a nutshell, the onboarding process covers:
 
The business: the new starter needs to understand how the business functions, strategic goals and the products/services sold by the company.
The people: a new hire needs the opportunity to get to know their manager, team and other stakeholders across the business, and the best ways to communicate and work alongside them.
The role: the new team member must have awareness of the expectations of their role, what they’ll need to deliver, and be given access to relevant resources, plus support from their manager and other colleagues so they can achieve these objectives.
Best practice for induction and onboarding
Clear roles and responsibilities
Onboarding and inducting a new starter is usually a team effort across internal recruiters, HR and line managers in larger businesses.
 
For smaller companies, a hiring manager might wear multiple hats across the recruitment and onboarding process.
 
The stages of an in-depth onboarding process are outlined below – as part of this, HR and hiring managers should agree on which actions sit with each team, to make sure nothing is unintentionally missed out.
 
Onboarding process checklist
When inducting a new employee, at the top of the priority list should be giving them the resources they need so they feel comfortable in their new role and empowered to get stuck in. For this reason, preparation begins before an employee’s first day of work.
 
Onboarding – before a new starter begins work

Documentation
Does your new starter have the relevant documentation they need before officially starting work? Package up essential HR resources and share them with your new employee, whether in the post or via email – this will include their contract details, company perks and benefits (including how to apply for them where relevant), company policies, plus contact information for essential teams like HR and Finance if applicable.
 
Company software and tools
Get your new starter’s desk ready for when they arrive on their first day with the necessary tech. This might be a case of reaching out to your IT team, who can make sure relevant log ins are set up and your new starter’s laptop is ready to go.
 
Arrange team introductions
Schedule in some introductory meetings into your new hire’s diary, so they can start to learn more about others in the team during their first days in the business. Include an overview of what each person does in the meeting invite, so your new hire has some context when they arrive for their first meet up.
 
Keep in touch
Communicate with your new hire and give them an idea of what to expect on their first day. Will you meet them outside the building, or at reception? Do they need to sign into the building, or have a proof of ID on their first day to gain access? Be clear about any practicalities they should think about. This is also the time to give them an idea of who they might meet on their first day, as well as let them know you’re looking forward to them joining your team.
 
First day of onboarding a new employee
Office tour
Think about the little things that your new hire won’t have any knowledge of yet – maybe your office has locker spaces, or a certain area of the kitchen your new hire can call their own, or maybe the bathrooms don’t have clear signage. Offer a quick tour of the office and flag these practical elements, as well as where different teams sit around the office. If your office is large, or has a lot of meeting rooms, you can even consider mocking up a floorplan.
 
Team introductions
Outline what you’d like each team member to cover in their meetings with their new colleague. Avoid overly long sessions – you don’t want to overwhelm a new starter, and there’s only so much information they’ll be able to take in on their first day. A good structure to follow when your team members meet with your new hire is: an outline of their role, how they work with others in the team, current projects, and how they will work alongside the new hire.
 
Expectations of the role

Running through the job description again and contextualising it against wider business goals can help a new starter to understand the bigger picture and how they can contribute to it. this also gives your new hire the chance to ask any questions about specific areas of their role.
 
Team lunch
While your new starter will get to know their new colleagues in terms of their roles and responsibilities in scheduled meetings, giving them the opportunity to socialise with the team in a more informal environment is also essential. Organise a team lunch to welcome your employee, or even a few after work drinks can make a newbie feel part of the team.
 
First week of onboarding a new employee
Use this checklist when structuring your new hire’s first week:
 
Brief in first project
Once they’ve settled in a little, the best way for a new starter to learn is to get working on something. Give them clear direction and your recommended approach for the task, but otherwise let them use their initiative.
 
Outline upcoming projects or tasks
Take the time to talk your new hire through your team’s upcoming focuses, or larger projects that they’ll be getting involved with down the line. Even if they don’t start working on this straight away, you can ask them to get clued up on the task by doing any relevant reading, before they start thinking about how they can contribute.
 
Outline probation requirements
You might choose to place your new hire on probation so you can review their progress – the most common length of time for this is between three and six months, depending on the role. The first week is an opportunity to explain the probation process, and outline any particular objectives your new hire will need to hit to be successful in the first few months of their new role.
 
Gather feedback
Finding out how your new employee feels about their first week and, by extension, the business, means that you can apply any learnings to future hires. Be clear that the purpose of asking for their feedback is to help smooth out the onboarding process, to make sure new starters have the information and opportunities they need to feel at ease in a new role.

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