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9 New Employee Onboarding Best Practices You Can't Ignore

9 New Employee Onboarding Best Practices You Can't Ignore

employee onboarding

When it comes to onboarding new team members, putting your best foot forward is an essential part of the hiring process. While you might have a deep connection and understanding of your company values, the new employee probably needs to learn more about the team, culture, and various nuances of your work.

When onboarding new employees, it is essential to be aware of all this and have a clear and actionable onboarding program and set of procedures to help them hit the ground running. Having employee training software in your business will help you streamline the new hire onboarding process as well.

Here are nine best practices for onboarding new employees – a Raven360-designed onboarding checklist that a hiring manager can apply and actively use with the Human Resources (HR) department – methods that we’ve seen improve retention for new hires and other team members.

1.   Have An Onboarding Plan

Can you recall becoming a new employee and, on day one, having to read and sign all the new hire paperwork, a three-inch-thick folder of documents filled with company policies? For many businesses, this and a welcome email or social media post are the whole of their onboarding experience.

Mapping out further steps beyond their start date will not only make the onboarding process more time-efficient, but it’ll also make it a lot more effective and memorable for new employees – giving them a better understanding of how things work at their new job and integrating as quickly as possible into your company. Onboarding activities can happen for the first month or as much as the first year.

While many businesses have different employee onboarding processes in place, most are simple and built to meet the needs of the company rather than the needs of the new team members. 

A successful plan will be well-structured, diverse, and most importantly, relevant from the new hire’s first day – giving them a clear insight into where their role lies within the business; an overview of who, what, and where; and information of someone they can turn to for guidance.

2.   Give Insight Into Your Company Culture

An effective onboarding process also means giving new employees a crystal clear insight into your company culture. This means helping them understand its goals, objectives, and mission statements – which developed over time as the company grew. New hire orientation should cover everything from payroll forms to how the business aims to provide the best for its customers and how it wants to be seen worldwide.

For instance, your company has a preferred or nominated charity for which you’ve raised money. Communicating these efforts in the organization’s culture and establishing relationships with new employees is essential.

But why?

It’s not only to show that the company has a moral compass but also to show a broader sense of culture and camaraderie. They would also be able to involve them positively in the business culture. Another idea would be to ask new employees about their interests outside of work and allow them to pursue them –sports, hobbies, or volunteering – alongside other employees.

I talked with Tom Morrill on our Training-Led Growth Podcast about growing your company culture when working from home. To have more ideas on how to do it when working remotely, you can listen here.

employee training

3.   Let Your Teams Know About the New Starter

An effective onboarding process is not just about preparing the welcome package for the newbie – it’s all about integrating them into a team as quickly as possible to make them feel comfortable, settled, and efficient and leaves a positive first impression.

This is why it makes sense to prepare the team they’re joining beforehand. As a new hire, it is nice to meet people who already know your name and are keen to welcome you. This shows they already have value, enough that the business has prepared a warm welcome.

There’s nothing worse than turning up on your first day to meet people who don’t even know why you are there. It can be disheartening, which will likely sour a new employee’s first day and dampen their enthusiasm for the new role.

4.   Build Team Bonds 

It’s natural for someone who joins a team to feel like an outsider simply because they’re new to the team. It is crucial to balance this with integrating into the new company culture. It potentially changes in job role, making a new employee comfortable with the other employees they will work with. Some companies employ an “onboarding buddy” from the team to help with this and get more insight into how the new employee feels.

It is also an excellent way to treat the new starter and their team to welcome lunch. In a more relaxed atmosphere, everyone introduces themselves informally, making bonding and chatting more openly easier.

Additional team building is a great way to ease someone into a new group of people; plus, it also offers a break from the work environment for the team– which levels the playing field for everyone concerned.

Onboarding Best Practices

5.   Offer Remote Onboarding

Whether in response to a global pandemic or a dynamic shift in workplace culture – remote work and virtual learning will only become more popular.

And while your current onboarding process can work well one-on-one or in person, is the much-needed bond lost when new hires and their teams can’t meet face-to-face? It’s something that companies struggled with in 2020 – but it doesn’t have to be the case.

It is vital to ensure that you can offer good quality video conferencing – via a platform like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype – to connect the new hires and their teams. 

And while it’s not a proper substitute for face-to-face interaction, it offers the best solution and is far better than a phone call. It’s also a great way of ensuring constant, on-demand communication - as most platforms have a chat function. This also helps HR professionals give clear lines of communication for the new employee’s first week – and enables them always to feel supported.

6.   Equipment Setup

Whether your new hire will be office-based or you’re primarily working with remote employees, providing them with a workspace environment that’s conducive to productivity should be a priority. 

A desk and chair are often overlooked parts of an employee’s equipment, but their workstation will be where they generate the most value for your company. Even if you can’t afford to buy the latest gear, ensuring it is up to the task and helps promote healthy conditions for posture and position is essential.

Remote work comes with its challenges, especially when staff feels connected. In that environment, successful planning is essential, so make sure that any new employee is provided with their logins for email and user accounts as soon as they start.

This is especially important for platforms like Slack and Teams, where they will need to communicate with other employees as soon as possible so that they can hit the ground running.

7.   Digitize Your Documentation 

This may be a minor point, but it’s an important one when it comes to empowering new hires. Someone onboarded will also sit through an induction process and training sessions, perhaps read a company or employee handbook, and confirm that they understand what/s required of them – in terms of conduct and their rights as a member of your organization.

There is much knowledge, but for the first viewing, likely, it won’t all be taken in. That’s another benefit of an online onboarding portal (like a learning management system ). Making all the introductory material accessible to the new team member on-demand would ensure that all the hard work you have put into developing consistent instructions and training programs is not wasted and that you’re following employee onboarding best practices.

It’ll also allow new employees to access everything they need remotely, so they can refer back to the fine print when required.

onboarding and training

8.   Make Professional Development Clear From the Outset

You’ve gone through the expense of creating an effective employee onboarding process and committed to the cost of training a new employee. Don’t let that go to waste. 

Don’t underestimate the need for new employees to up-skill and enhance their job and soft skills regularly. Knowing where to access professional training programs and materials to improve their relevant skills and job satisfaction leads to a positive experience and increases social and performance aspects.

Encouraging them to learn and providing a dedicated LMS platform will help keep new employees focused and engaged – and as new positions come up in your company – as well as skilled and reliable.  

It’s also an excellent way for direct managers to gauge new hires’ progress internally, ensuring they feel valued and letting them know that the business is dedicated to employee satisfaction.

9.   Touch Base Regularly

Finally, don’t let your first chat with a new employee be your last. This is more likely to happen in larger organizations where staff roles are defined and narrower, but all businesses can suffer. A simple ‘How are you getting on?’ can go a long way to making someone feel noticed and recognized as a team member, especially during the first few weeks.

Whether check-ins are formal or informal will depend on the type of employee onboarding process you operate – but making your HR team available to new hires from the outset and offering guidance or assistance from the moment the new employee arrives will help them feel looked after. And even if they are getting on brilliantly, it’s nice to receive feedback to confirm this.

Everything They Need in One Place

At Raven360, we want to help you follow employee onboarding best practices and offer the best onboarding and training experience possible. And in our experience, it’s clear that success relies on looking at the onboarding process through the eyes of the new employee. 

Whether the onboarding program happens in person or remotely, access to onboarding software and a corporate learning management system is an excellent way of ensuring everything is available in one place and available any time of day or night. And moving forward, an LMS can be used to deploy a range of additional learning materials to individual teams, departments, or the entire organization. Senior leaders can see metrics for how the onboarding is going- what lessons people are getting stuck on and where improved learning opportunities can happen.

In all cases, flexibility and accessibility are crucial to getting onboarding programs right. And while it’s great to have a process in place, it is also necessary to meet the needs of each employee and ensure that they have an employee experience you can be proud of to attain excellent employee retention for top talent.

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