An effective onboarding process creates successful employees and contributes to a better overall employee experience. It's a critical first step to engagement and adjusts your new hire to both their job role and your business.
Here are fourteen do's and don'ts to make your onboarding process as efficient and welcoming as possible.
Prior to arrival
1. DO create and share a written plan
It’s important that everyone involved in the onboarding process is on the same page. This not only ensures that everyone has the same goals, but that they agree upon the process that will lead them to success.
Having everyone contribute and collaborate on this written plan will distribute the work evenly and ensure that nothing is left out.
2. DON’T confuse onboarding with orientation
Orientation is meant for covering the essentials: parking information, bathroom locations, when everyone gets lunch, and other office basics. This is a one-time (usually one-day) event.
Onboarding goes deeper and helps coach and mentor a new employee with no set end date. This process takes as long as an employee needs to become comfortable and successful.
First few weeks on the job
3. DO have a schedule prepared
Your new hire won’t know what to do right away without guidance. Providing a list of goals with a timeline will help them understand what needs to get done and when it needs to be completed by. Once they fall into a routine and know what to expect, they may not need the schedule or can alter it to their working habits or the business’s needs.
4. DON’T treat onboarding as a one-day event
Rushing a new employee through an orientation won't help them feel welcomed and ready to work. Onboarding takes time and patience on both ends. When an employee walks into the office on day two, five, and ten, they should still feel supported in figuring things out until they are comfortable and confident to be more independent.
5. DO make sure new hires understand the culture
Take time to explain office culture policies. Cover items like the time people usually leave the office, the expectations of answering phone calls or emails after working hours, mention any social events coming up, and explain the open- or closed-door policies with executive staff.
6. DON’T drown employees in new information
One of the reasons onboarding is considered a process and not a day-long event is because there is a lot of information to digest. Providing written copies of information that employees can read on their own is a great supplement.
Share the most important information on the first day and provide follow-up information over the following days. For example: on Day 1, the employee will need to know who to go to about getting onto the payroll, but they won’t need all the details about the upcoming office retreat just yet.
7. DO familiarize new employees with products and services
Make sure all hires are trained and knowledgeable about the products and services your business offers even if they aren’t working directly with all of them. All employees should be able to talk about everything a business is working on in some detail. Provide this in both verbal and written form for them to reference later.
8. DON’T consider onboarding an HR-only event
Human Resources should not be the only team driving the onboarding process. The employee should feel welcomed by all members of the team, even those they won’t be working with directly. This will help the hire understand how each person fits into the whole team to accomplish the business’s mission.
An office tour or lunchtime meet-and-greet is a great time to do this. If everyone's over 21, plan an after-work welcome happy hour.
9. DO offer a mentor or buddy for the first week
Set an employee up for success by pairing them with someone they can go to for help or with questions. This should be someone that understands their job role and has been with the business long enough to offer guidance.
Make sure to ask the mentor if they'd like to be in this position before assigning them to this role. Something as simple as asking them to have lunch with the new hire for their first few days can ease the employee into the team.
10. DON’T forget to set immediate goals and expectations
Your new hire should understand the things that are necessary for them to do immediately, like checking and responding to emails, attending daily meetings, and/or whatever else they need to complete. Make sure this is one of the first things they are aware of so as to avoid any confusion and wasted time on both ends.
First Six Months
11. DO set up regular check-ins
Remember to check in with employees. Schedule a time each week for the first month or so of employment so that your new hire can express concerns and ask questions. You can meet less often as they acclimate to their new job.
12. DON’T forget to ask for feedback
During and after an employee’s onboarding process, ask for their opinion on how things are going and how you could improve their process. This will help you improve both their experience and other future employees' experiences.
13. DO extend short-term goals to yearly milestones
A few weeks after an employee starts, it’s a good idea to sit down and talk about how to set goals for their first year. At this point, it’s a good idea to create a roadmap for future check-ins. Let them settle into their job before jumping into long term goals.
14. DON’T treat onboarding as a finite process
Don’t think of onboarding as a week or month-long process; instead, incorporate the attention to success into your business’s culture and involve all employees in the process.
Not only does successful employee onboarding introduce how and why your business operates the way that it does, but will help employees feel supported, comfortable, and engaged from the start. These tips will help create the framework for your business’s process to create well-acclimated employees who are successful and ready to work.