The modern approach to onboarding has evolved in such a way that employees have all the knowledge they need to be successful and support them during their development from job candidate to productive employee. A big chance that new employees had to wait until their first working day before they could meet new colleagues, handle paperwork and start learning. Successful organizations start much earlier in the crucial process of onboarding.

1. When do you start onboarding?

If the induction doesn’t begin until the first few days of employment, then your new hire will lose valuable time in acclimatizing and becoming productive. Start it during the interview phase. One of your interviewees will become a new employee (maybe more if your hiring needs a change in the near future) so start making them welcome as soon as possible. Once an offer is made and accepted then keep the dialogue and information flow going all the way until the start date. New hires are at their most receptive when focused on making a strong first impression.

2. What information do you make available?

Does your new hire know everything about the role they’ve been hired for? Who they report to and all the colleagues that will have input to what they do and how they achieve their results? It’s a key part of their settling in phase that the role is exactly as they expect. And there is now more to learn than just the specific duties of a role. New hires want more information about their employers, such as traditions, legacy, mission, values, and purpose. How these are lived and maintained throughout the business. Product information is important too. Employees are also ambassadors for the companies they join, and the goods and services that those companies produce, so make sure that each new hire knows everything they need to be effective as an advocate and champion of what the business does and how they do it.

3. When do you complete the formalities?

Do your new hires have to wait until the first day to get their paperwork completed? Salary documentation, official papers and clearances too? There’s no need. They want to spend the first day getting started in the new job. So, make use of technology to get the paperwork done early and have documents shared and digitally signed ahead of start date. Also, complete all clearances, security checks and references straight away. The first day in a new job should be an experience that signals the start of a successful relationship for both a new hire and their team, so don’t risk making it administrative and process driven.

4. How are you using technology?

The way that you use technology shapes the candidate experience and can signal the type of working environment you offer new employees. They will all be using technology in their personal lives and will expect the same kind of seamless, responsive and immersive experience at work. Research indicates that for over 90% of employees, technology affects their satisfaction at work. How do you communicate the information a new starter needs? Can they access it through an app, website for portal? They will expect to be able to find out everything they can about their new employer and team – from the history and legacy of the business to the social profiles of their colleagues and a virtual tour of the office space. Make sure that all those first day questions can be answered ahead of time, and remove the anxiety from starting a new job by sharing as much information as you can before the first day.

5. Who has responsibility for onboarding?

For many years, it has been the HR team that looks after onboarding. This may have worked well when it was primarily an administrative process but as the modern approach embraces more of the social, cultural and business contexts of the new role and company it requires input from a wider range of people. How much involvement do your managers have? Theirs is often the key relationship a new hire has, so they should be encouraged to take responsibility for ensuring that each of their new team members has the information and instruction necessary to make a successful start. Also, remember the senior leadership. Many organizations arrange for new employees to spend time with senior management – maybe through a lunch or breakfast over the first few days – to help them understand more about the business purpose and values, and how these are lived within the organization.

6. What is your first day experience?

With employees arriving for their first day in a new job knowing a lot more about the company and its culture, and the specifics around their role, many organizations now seek to make that first day more of an experience. There are many ways to make someone feel special on their first day. Some will give a fun gift or organise a social occasion, such as a team lunch or welcome meal for all new starters to meet senior employees. Others create a first day session for a group of new starters that can mix games and socialising with early learning, or a quiz to see how many facts – fun and educational – they have found out about their new company and colleagues. An experience that feels personalised will always make a good impression. Does your company create a personalised schedule that helps to introduce a new hire to all the people in the company that they will interact and collaborate with, such as other teams and divisions? If your organization doesn’t offer something special, then consider how you would personalise the first day experience and make someone feel welcome?

7. What support do new employees have? Do they know what success looks like?

Many new employees start in a role without fully knowing what success will look like. Often the probation period will be set out like a test to be passed, with little help available to support those who may take time to settle. To get the best out of your new hires you need to be crystal clear about objectives, timelines, roles and responsibilities. They should know what is expected of them, at what time, and understand what they should be achieving during the first 30, 60 and 90 days. What does the first 3 months look like for a new starter in your business? Do they know what you expect after each week or month? Can you map out a timeline of the first 3 months with milestones and achievements? If not, then the early career path may not seem clear and a new hire can end up feeling confused about what is expected of them. One of the most supportive things a new employer can do is to offer real time feedback. A new employee will want to know how they are doing in real time rather than an assessment after, say, three months. Then they can correct their performance and gain a better understanding of what their manager expects from them. Do you offer the opportunity for feedback? And is it two-way feedback? After all, the best way to measure the success of your onboarding process, and judge the level of support it offers, is by listening to those experiencing it. 

Do you want to know more about the ROI of a good onboarding program? Earlier we wrote this blog about it!

Conclusion successful onboarding

Go for a future-proof onboarding process! Start onboarding before the first working day. Make information available such as about traditions, legacy, mission, values and purpose. The first day in a new job should be an experience that signals the start of a successful relationship for both a new hire and their team, so don’t risk making it administrative and process driven. Research indicates that for over 90% of employees, technology affects their satisfaction at work. So, use technology to make sure that all those first day questions can be answered ahead of time, and remove the anxiety from starting a new job by sharing as much information as you can before the first day. For many years, it has been the HR team that looks after onboarding. But do also involve senior leadership in this. How much involvement do your managers have?

With employees arriving for their first day in a new job knowing a lot more about the company and its culture, and the specifics around their role, many organizations now seek to make that first day more of an experience. One of the most supportive things a new employer can do is to offer real-time feedback. A new employee will want to know how they are doing in real time rather than an assessment after, say, three months.

Are you curious about shaping your onboarding process and what the possibilities are on our platform? Request a demo.