Employee Onboarding Best Practices for Every Organization

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No matter how big or small your company, and no matter what industry you are in, you need a good employee onboarding process to ensure that your new hires are best prepared for their new jobs and will acclimate well to the company culture. And no matter what type or size of company you have, there are employee onboarding best practices that work for every organization. Knowing what they are can help you improve your own process so that you get more out of it. Here are a few of the best practices you can adopt to get the most out of your employee onboarding:

Start the Onboarding Process before the Employee’s First Day

You don’t have to wait until your new employees start work to begin the onboarding process. In fact, employee onboarding best practices have shown that starting before that first day can actually be more effective. Reaching out to your employees before they start helps them to know that you are committed to their success in your company and that you are excited about welcoming them. It makes them feel like a valued new member of the company. This action can be as simple as the manager calling to confirm the start date and reiterating how excited everyone is to welcome them. Or it can be an HR rep calling to prep them for the first day’s activities. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or overly effusive – even small gestures can have a big impact. Reaching out before the first day can also help the employee know what to expect from the onboarding process and to be prepared with the right paperwork and information. Your own work should begin before the first day, as well, ensuring that all the elements are in place for onboarding to begin, such as the employee’s new ID, key card access, and so on. Having these items ready ahead of time can ensure that everything goes smoothly on the first day so that you make a good impression on the new employee and you put the employee at ease.

Make a Good First Impression by Making the First Day Memorable

Just because you’ve sealed the deal by hiring the employee doesn’t mean that the courtship is over. A long relationship is in your best interest, and you can increase the odds that you’ll have a long and successful relationship by making a good first impression (and continuing to build on that). Employee onboarding best practices include making the employee’s first day special. This can be as simple as setting up their office space with everything they will need, such as supplies and ID card, as well as a few nice extras, like some company swag or a card welcoming them from the team. You can also make their first day memorable by setting up a lunch with the team or even hosting a welcome reception in the late afternoon or evening. From little extras to the big gestures, you can make a big impression on your new employees and make them feel like they are a welcome and valued new member of the team. They’ll feel happier about their new job, and that impression will resonate with them for a long time to come.

Create a Tight Schedule for the First Few Days on the Job

New employees don’t know what they are doing for quite some time, even if they have extensive training and experience in that type of role. It’s going to take them a while to acclimate to the company culture, to learn how to use the company systems, and to get comfortable with the responsibilities in their new roles. Employee onboarding best practices include creating a tight schedule for the first days and weeks of an employee’s tenure. Depending on the role and how those first weeks go, you may even want to consider taking an active role in scheduling for the first few months. Of course, the first days will be controlled by training, meetings, and logistical operations. But you should also give employees their first assignments, and break those into milestones that have deadlines. Your employees should know what they must do every hour of every day. If they have free time, they may take initiative to reach out to others in the department or to figure out ways that they can be helpful. But they are much more likely to spend that time socializing, taking care of personal business, or otherwise dawdling. Help your new employees be successful by giving them a strong schedule in the early days that they can model later and that will help them learn their role inside and out.

Don’t Bury Your Employees in Paperwork

There is a lot of paperwork to do when you welcome a new hire. A lot. It is tiring not only to your HR reps and department heads, but to your new employees, as well. Filling out all that paperwork will tire out your new employees and undermine the excitement they feel for the new job. It will also make them lose sight of the important work that they are meant to do. Don’t bury your new employees in paperwork and make their first days a drudgery. Employee onboarding best practices spread out that paperwork over several days or even several weeks. Prioritize the paperwork to what must be done for the employee to start, such as tax documents. Then spread out other things to each day by their priority. Not all of that paperwork has to get done right away.

Get Plenty of Feedback from Employees

How can you know how effective your employee onboarding process is if you aren’t asking your employees for their feedback? You may think that you’re doing a great job, but if you were to ask them, they might tell you a lot of ways that you are not meeting their needs. Your employee onboarding best practices must include asking your employees for feedback often. You should ask them in person during one-on-one meetings, in formal reviews, and in anonymous surveys or comments. Give your employees plenty of opportunities to share their feedback about their onboarding and their early days on the job. You’ll learn how to improve the process for future employees, and you’ll learn what’s working especially well. Asking for that feedback will also show your employees that you value their opinions and creating a satisfying work experience for them.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.