Employee onboarding is a crucial process that helps new hires get familiar with their roles, responsibilities, and the company culture. However, the onboarding process can be time-consuming and costly, affecting the company’s productivity and bottom line.
In this article, we will explore five effective ways to speed up the employee onboarding process. These strategies will help you reduce the time and resources required to onboard new employees. They also ensure rookies receive the necessary training and support to succeed in their roles.
Why would you want to improve your onboarding process?
There are several reasons why improving your onboarding process is essential:
- Increase employee retention. A good onboarding process can help new employees feel welcome, valued, and supported. This, in turn, can lead to higher job satisfaction and engagement.
- Decrease hiring costs. By reducing turnover through effective onboarding, you can save money and resources that would otherwise be spent on hiring and training newcomers.
- Improve employee productivity. Onboarding can improve employees’ engagement levels within the organization, and lead to a stronger commitment to the company’s goals and values.
Market research results suggest that it is still a job seekers’ market in 2023: the majority of job seekers (52%) say that they — and not employers — have the upper hand in today’s job market.
1. Plan out a clear onboarding timeline and complete digital onboarding before the employee comes for their first day
Engage new hires before their start date (but after they’ve signed the contract and all necessary NDAs) by sending them information and resources about the company, its mission, and other things relevant at the start.
Plan out and communicate their onboarding timeline and KPIs to them — i.e., a 90-day plan — where you clearly define expectations for the first three months. The plan should outline the milestones that the company expects a rookie to meet, and quality guidelines if there are any. If there are mandatory training programs or courses, make sure to include them as well.
To save time and show you are excited to have them, complete digital onboarding on your side before the person shows up for the first day:
- Set up employee accounts and remote access (if it’s an option at your place) to the tools they will use.
- Set up access to the company’s knowledge base page, and messaging channels for employees.
- Arrange their workplace and equipment — a table, laptop, and other things.
Automate this new recruit workflow with employee onboarding templates and checklists. This will simplify the process for your company’s HR specialists, eliminate human errors, and makes sure onboarding is consistent and meets the standards every time.
2. Prepare colleagues for their arrival
When your team is ready and excited to welcome a new member, it sets a positive tone for the hire’s first day.
It’s important to introduce your novice to the team and explain their role as well as responsibilities. This will help the team understand how the new employee fits in and how they will contribute to the team’s goals.
You could send an email introducing the recruit and sharing their background and experience. Alternatively, add a few minutes to your usual meeting time to get this done.
Encourage the team to reach out and send a welcome message or set up a virtual coffee chat with the newcomer. This will help them feel valued and supported from the start.
3. Outline clear role expectations with a structured orientation program
One of the most important aspects of employee onboarding is setting clear role expectations from the beginning. This can be achieved through a structured orientation program that outlines the milestones that the company set up for new hires to meet:
- Discuss how onboarding works — what should be done and within what timeframes.
- Set a schedule for the first week.
- Explain what educational materials and training are available beyond the initial onboarding process.
By seeing clear and manageable steps, new employees would feel more comfortable and confident in their roles. This could mean a face-to-face introduction to team members, training on company policies and procedures, or an overview of the company’s products and services.
Include the toolkit the company expects them to use. I.e.: messaging apps like Slack or Twilio, task management tools like Zoho, team collaboration tools like Kanban Zone and time-tracking apps like Monday.com or alternatives.
Beyond the initial onboarding, it is important to provide ongoing training and educational materials to help novices develop their skills and knowledge: workshops, mentorship programs, or opportunities for continuing education.
4. Offer access to training materials
Relevant training materials are absolutely crucial for the success of your new hire — and it is true for everyone, juniors fresh from college and seasoned employees alike.
The fact is, your employee might not have experience working in the exact same role before. Even if they did work in this role, the experience was earned at a place different from yours — meaning that they are not familiar with workflows, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and the culture of your company.
A knowledge base with a section specifically for new employees, as well as training materials for the role in general, would cover this without taking the time of other coworkers.
Another way to solve this is through a “buddy” or mentoring system. Appoint an experienced employee whose job will be to “teach them the ropes” and guide them during their initial working period. This will make it easier to adjust to the team’s culture and get to know people, in addition to the role.
5. Measure success and continuously improve
Good onboarding affects everything from employee satisfaction to productivity to their retention.
To make sense of what is happening and find out if the onboarding was successful, you’ll need a way to measure and analyze the results. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics can help you track progress and evaluate the impact of your onboarding program.
Some of the most often tracked KPIs include:
- New hires’ job satisfaction.
- Time to productivity.
- New hire’s overall morale.
- Employee turnover.
- Hiring managers’ performance.
Aside from measuring and tracking formal KPIs, set time aside for feedback sessions. Feedback is an essential step because:
- It gives newcomers a chance to learn what they did great and what needs more effort, builds confidence, and clarifies expectations.
- It gives the company a chance to identify gaps in the onboarding process, find issues that current team members take for granted, and solve minor problems early on.
Split up feedback sessions across the entire onboarding period, and make sure there are at least three such meetings. I.e.: one feedback session at the end of the first week, a second at the end of the first month, and a third at the end of a three-month period. Optionally, arrange for a few more in between.
Improving your onboarding can have a significant impact on the success of your organization. By investing in this critical process, you can help new employees feel welcome, engaged, and productive from day one.