6 tips for employee onboarding and checklist

14 July, 2022
Do you want to improve the onboarding process in your organization? In this article, we have collected common problems and tips for solving them, as well as prepared a checklist for improving the employee onboarding process.

Great onboarding reduces staff turnover

Recruiting new employees is becoming increasingly expensive for businesses, and in an evolving job market, it is becoming more difficult to retain and find qualified staff. The high demand for specialists and many job opportunities make it common for an employee to leave for another company. This is especially true for new employees who have only recently joined the team. Therefore, one of the most important tasks of HR professionals is employee retention. One of the most powerful levers for managing retention is having the proper employee onboarding.

Onboarding is the process of familiarizing an employee with the workflow in a new team. Onboarding starts from the moment of introductory interviews and hiring and lasts for several first months of work. During onboarding, an employee gets acquainted with regulatory documents, job descriptions and other formalities. But the most important part is the integration into a new team. An employee must get to know colleagues and managers, learn about corporate culture, understand tasks and goals for the near future, and understand the specifics of working in the company (for example, the daily routine and internal rules).

You shouldn't load new employees with a lot of work tasks for the first time, it is better to give them the opportunity to acclimate into a team, make friends and explore the work process from the inside. This is especially important for young professionals who are just starting their careers. According to statistics, 86% of new employees decide to stay or leave the company within the first six months. Consequently, employees who are satisfied with onboarding are more likely to stay with the company for a long time and become engaged employees.

How to measure the effectiveness of onboarding

If you have opened this article, you are interested in improving the onboarding processes in your organization. And regardless of the tasks that you face, it is important to approach the matter systematically. First of all, it is worth setting the baseline and highlighting the key metrics that you will track to evaluate the effectiveness of the work done. We offer the following metrics: satisfaction with the onboarding process, employee retention in the first six months, and staff turnover.

Satisfaction with the onboarding process

While this metric can be subjective, it is critical to get the onboarding process up and running. Collect feedback from recent hirees and existing employees through surveys and face-to-face meetings. The main thing is to make the right list of questions that will help you understand the attitude of the staff to the design, training and familiarity with the organization.

It is also important to allow employees to honestly and directly share their experiences, talk about positive and negative points and make suggestions. Let employees know that they can be sincere and that no sanctions will follow, moreover, they will help the company with their feedback. Use the feedback you receive to further improve onboarding.

Employee retention in the first six months

The first 6 months in a company are critical to employee retention. It is believed that in the first six months the probability that an employee will leave for another company is the highest because they have not yet had time to acquire a large number of friends at work, their own projects and clients. Therefore, it is important that during this time the new employee has time to prove themself and understand their importance to the organization, and also feel the company's concern for themselves.

Some organizations limit bonuses received by employees, such as medical insurance or corporate discounts, to become active a few months after employment. This is motivated by the uncertainty that the employee will stay with the company after using these bonuses. But such distrust may not please the employee, who will feel less valuable. And the company will lose the leverage to retain the employee at the most important moment.

Staff turnover

Two key points link overall employee turnover and onboarding quality. Firstly, because of a failed onboarding, an employee is more likely to decide to leave the company and actively look for other options for employment. In more specialized industries or for higher positions, this process can take a long time and take more than 6 months. The reasons for such a decision by an employee may be poor relations with the team, mismatch of corporate culture or work tasks with expectations, and lack of help and support from management and colleagues. All these problems can and should be foreseen. During the onboarding process, create an atmosphere of mutual respect and assistance, and describe the company culture not leaving the important details out.

Secondly, if the adaptation of new employees is poorly established in the company, the team will be regularly replenished with "problematic" employees. This can cause conflicts and misunderstandings, require the attention and time of experienced staff, and harm overall work efficiency. And therefore, it will cause a turnover not only of new staff but also of old employees, who will be increasingly disappointed in the working atmosphere of the company.

Thus, a well-established onboarding process should positively influence not only the turnover of new employees but also the retention of already working specialists, that is, the overall staff turnover.

6 tips for improving staff onboarding

1. Be honest and open when selecting and hiring staff

An employee must understand their future tasks and features of the corporate culture even during the recruiting phase. When hiring an employee, it is counterproductive to hush up important features that can scare away the employee once they face them. Remember that if an employee's expectations don't match reality, they'll leave without reaching their peak performance. And the whole process will have to start all over again.

2. Prepare for a new employee in advance

When applying to a new company, an employee wants to feel that they are important and expected. Before the first working day, it is worth preparing not only documents for signing but also a workplace, logins and passwords for corporate accounts, a document with an organizational structure, and information about the workflow and corporate culture. It is also important that the manager and colleagues of the new employee know about the first working day and are ready to get to know each other and take a short tour of the office. So the employee will have positive emotions from the first day, and relations with colleagues and with the company will be better.

3. Do not overload them with information and tasks in the early days

Onboarding should be gradual. After employment, you should not expect that the employee will be effective immediately. This may take from several weeks to several months (for senior positions). At this time, they must get acquainted with the team and working tools, as well as integrate into the processes. It will be wise to involve the employee in projects gradually and not put pressure on them at first.

4. Be in touch and offer help

Depending on the experience and characteristics of the position, the new employee will have difficulties and questions. This is especially important for young professionals who first got a job or got into a new field of activity. Being in touch and proactively offering help is the job of a manager. But HR should help set up the process and control its execution. An employee who feels supported by the team will be more involved and less likely to want to change jobs.

5. Give and take feedback after onboarding

New employees need to receive feedback for further adaptation in the organization. During the first period, usually two to three weeks, managers must monitor the work of newcomers and be sure to note achievements (even the smallest ones) and shortcomings. During the first month, it is necessary to hold a meeting with the employee, at which the manager will give feedback and discuss the expectations and further development of the employee in the company. This meeting should be announced during the first day so that the employee can also prepare and give feedback on the adaptation process and his feelings in the new place. This will allow you to make the necessary changes as quickly as possible and increase the likelihood of retaining an employee in the company. Further meetings should be held regularly, ideally once every few months during the first year of operation.

6. Use effective tools to improve the onboarding process

Do not rely only on personal communication with employees. On the contrary, to save the time of existing staff and the convenience of newcomers, it is worth automating the onboarding process as much as possible. A modern and effective approach is to use video formats and interactive learning. Ask employees who introduce newcomers to different processes and departments of the organization to record a video with a standard onboarding, add charts and illustrations, as well as tests to increase interactivity. This will take some time, but it will quickly pay off and will significantly save the resources spent on the onboarding of each new employee in the future. Automated onboarding can contain general information about the company or be more specific to each department. In any case, this approach will certainly appeal to new employees (especially younger ones), who can adapt at their own pace.
Checklist "Creating a modern onboarding process"
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Workstories is an effective tool for automating onboarding

Workstories is a great tool for automating onboarding. In a short time Stories format allows to show employees videos and information about the company and department, talk about corporate culture, introduce colleagues from different departments (even from remote teams), and add interactivity using tests and surveys. You can create onboarding Stories once and assign them to new employees in seconds. This modern and user-friendly approach will impress the employee and will be an effective substitute for time-consuming face-to-face meetings with many colleagues.

In addition to onboarding, Workstories allow you to use many other scenarios for corporate communications - company news, management messages, holiday greetings, and others. You can learn more about all the ways to use Stories in our marketplace.
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