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How to improve employee onboarding

1. Preparation, preparation, preparation

I’ve experienced it myself first-hand, the laptop/mobile not set up properly, finding all sorts of things in my desk pedestal from the previous incumbent, my manager booking the day off and writing my own onboarding plan!

Getting it right means empowering everyone who can make the new employee’s arrival a success, the manager, team members, buddy, IT, Internal Comms etc.

Have a checklist to sign off, put calendar invites in diaries and check in with IT before the all important start date!

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2. The clock has starting ticking

I can remember attending a group induction event over 6 months after I joined the business, and it hasn’t been on one occasion!

The onboarding experience should start from the moment of the job offer being made, and should last for at least 90 days afterwards.

Planning out a 90-day onboarding schedule in advance makes sure you have thought carefully about how the new person will integrate into the team, and how best use can be made of their skills and experience.

Makes sure you include key tasks that need to be completed, like health & safety training. Be sure to schedule pre-first day introductions – maybe it could be a team dinner, and definitely include key reviews with their manager at 30, 60 and 90 day intervals.

It helps relieve stress for the new starter, who knows what’s happening when, and what objectives they’ll be working towards. So send the plan to them before they join, and why not enclose a short welcome video from the team!

3. Personalise all the way!

Don’t forget that one size doesn’t fit all when you’re onboarding new starters. Make sure you have a good mix of overarching and personalised content. It’s great if there is a company-wide induction event but don’t expect it to fill the gap on where they fit into team.

Company-wide inductions are great for providing history about the company, the mission and company values and the regions operated in. Before they join though why not send them a short office tour video and maybe include a welcome from the department head.

4. You can’t beat human interaction

One of my bug bears when out shopping is when a retail assistant doesn’t say a single word through throughout the sales transaction. Apply this to starting a new job. It might be great that you have some automated processes, but even at the job offer stage make sure there is human interaction. The hiring manager should be quick to touch base, so the candidate knows they are wanted. There’s nothing worse than an impersonal experience, driven by automated online job offer acceptance and emailed documents. Start building that connection from the offset!

People like people.  Employer branding research continually shows that employees cite the people that they work with as a key reason why they stay. That can be because they learn from them, or they enjoy socialising with them, or they feel part of a team where there input counts. So don’t forget that human interaction is a powerful one.  Hopefully we’ve all experienced strong work relationships which drive both performance and retention. That’s why helping new starters build connections should be at the heart of any onboarding plan.

5. Measure success

So they’ve started with you, but as the manager you’ve made not effort to show interest or help them integrate within the team. Don’t just leave your new starter to get on with it!

Make sure you check in to see what’s working and what isn’t, and importantly where can you make improvements.  You need to get these insights, not only about the onboarding process itself, but also the performance of the manager and the team. Make your managers accountable, why not include the success of onboarding as one of their KPIs. Assessing a new starters onboarding experience at the end of the first week, and then the end of the first month can help ensure the process is not derailed and what quick interventions can be put in place to keep it on track.

 If you need a helping hand with your employee experience journey then please feel free to send a message or add a comment and I’ll be in touch to help.

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