When it comes to onboarding new team members, putting your best foot forward is essential. While you might have a deep connection and understanding of your company values, the new employee probably knows very little about the team, culture, and various nuances of the way you work.
When onboarding new employees, it is important 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 employee onboarding process as well.
Here are nine best practices for onboarding new employees – a Raven360-designed checklist that you can apply and actively use in your business’ HR department – methods that we’ve seen improve for new hires as well as other team members.
1. Have A Plan
Can you recall becoming a new employee and having to read and sign all the new hire paperwork, a three-inch-thick folder of documents? For many businesses, this is still the scope of their onboarding programs.
Mapping out further steps beyond will not only make the onboarding process more time-efficient; it’ll 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.
While many businesses have different employee onboarding processes in place, most of them 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 – 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
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 in the past. Communicating these efforts in the organization’s culture and establishing relationships with new employees is important.
It’s not only to show that the company has a moral compass but also to show that it has 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 – whether it’s 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.
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, in a way that makes them feel comfortable, settled, efficient, and leaves a positive first impression.
This is why it makes sense to prepare the team they’re joining ahead of time. As a new hire, it is nice to meet people who already know your name and are keen to welcome you into the fold. 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 is likely to 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 up before joining. It is important to balance this with integrating into the new company culture and potentially changes in job role, making a new employee comfortable with the other employees they will work with.
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, where everybody can find it easier to bond and chat more openly.
It’s also a great way to ease someone into a new group of people, plus, it also offers a break from the workplace setting for the team– which levels the playing field for everyone concerned.
5. Offer Remote Onboarding
Whether it’s in response to a global pandemic or an active shift in workplace culture – remote work and virtual learning are only going to become more popular.
And while your current onboarding process can work well 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 of these platforms have a chat function. This also helps HRs give clear lines of communication for the new employee’s first week – and enables them to feel supported at all times.
6. Equipment Setup
Whether your new hire will be office-based or you’re primarily working with remote employees, providing them with an 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 is going to be the place where they generate the most value for your company. Even if you can’t afford to buy the latest equipment, making sure it is up to the task and helps promote healthy conditions for posture and position is essential.
Remote work comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to staff feeling connected to one another. 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 being 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 a lot of knowledge, but for the first viewing, it is quite likely that 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 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 they need to.
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 regularly up-skill and enhance their job skills and soft skills. Knowing where they can access professional training programs and materials to enhance the 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 dedicated.
It’s also a great way of gauging 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 more defined and narrower, but it is something all businesses can suffer from. 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 that you operate – but making your HR and learning teams 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 entire onboarding process through the eyes of the new employee.
Whether the onboarding program happens in person or remotely, access to a corporate learning management system is an excellent way of ensuring everything is available in one place and that it’s 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.
In all cases, flexibility and accessibility are key 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 are taken care of.