The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding New Employees Efficiently

Zuletzt aktualisiert:
7.9.2021
Lesezeit:
12 minutes
Last updated:
September 7, 2021
Time to read:
12 minutes
This article is about best practices on employee onboarding. It will help you master the process and create engaging experiences for your (remote) employees from day 1.

We all love the motivation and positivity a new employee brings to the company. And it’s so important to match that enthusiasm in every way — from creating valuable human connections to setting professional expectations. Because, it is during this time, your employee will decide whether to stay or start looking for another job. 

It is common for companies to fail at delivering these fruitful experiences. They either forget essential onboarding steps, or completely neglect it. 

Employee onboarding is one of the most crucial steps during the recruiting process, and in making the first contact with the Learning & Development. So one needs to make this an invaluable experience, and giving out your company’s handbook isn’t enough. 

To find out why that is and how to create a great onboarding program, follow this article.

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What is employee onboarding?

An effective onboarding is the first impression a new employee will have of your organisation. And to make it a lasting one, it’s important to give them all the necessary tools and information that will deeply involve them in their new role, and your company. 

Help them familiarise with topics like the company’s vision, policies, and skill development necessities like functional training tools.

The length of the onboarding varies on a lot of factors, such as your industry and the seniority of the position. However, most HR professionals state that the average onboarding period spans over 3 months. The more complex the role, the longer the onboarding.

Ineffective employee onboarding can harm your business. These graphs show you how.

It goes without saying that effective onboarding lays the foundation of success amongst new hires. Here are some statistics to prove its importance.

Having a great onboarding process can improve your employee retention by 82% and their productivity by 70%

33% of new hires start looking for a new job 6 months after they get hired and 23% of them don't last an entire year in a new company. The main reasons for that: Insufficient onboarding and unmet expectations.

58% of all companies limit their onboarding to sending people checklists. This is not only time-consuming but also not very appealing for your new hires.

Benefits of efficient employee onboarding. It can increase employee retention rate, productivity, and commitment

Employees that have a successful onboarding process are 18x more likely to feel committed to a company. A small investment in the start can have a massive return on investment for years to come.

Seeing all these benefits, you should do everything you can to drive an effective onboarding process. Not only will you save money, but also lead your employees to success.

So what does a great onboarding process look like? 

Employee onboarding phases

Welcoming a new employee is more than introducing them to your team and walking them through your set of preferred tools. Every good onboarding process contains at least two stages: pre-boarding and onboarding.

Pre-boarding

This is your chance to create memorable experiences for new hires even before their joining date. Sending welcome packages with your company merchandise, or delivering useful items are great ways to get them excited about their new job. And when you create such unique pre-boarding experiences, it will motivate them to share it on digital platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor. And, this is sure to elevate your company’s reputation within your industry. 

Another way to welcome them would be through (virtual) meetups that eases the first contact anxiety. This would be the perfect time to connect all new hires, making them feel accompanied and welcomed. Meanwhile, make sure to set up their devices, share information about account accessibility, and important security topics.

Last but not the least: prioritise. Avoid burdening your new hires with work before they join your company. Be mindful and don't overdo it.

Onboarding

The onboarding process can last for months, and keeping track of everyone's progress takes time. So one needs to be patient, and consistently check-in throughout the process. Make the most of Zavvy’s tools, templates, and checklists that will speed up your onboarding processes. 

Most HR teams have onboarding plans for the first 90 days. Here's a breakdown of a typical employee onboarding process:

The first day - Greet your employees with warmth and openness, giving them a reason to engage with your employees. Assign onboarding buddies who will take them on an office tour, leave a welcome message on their desk, and guide them through the company benefits. Make sure the new hires have a structured set of tasks on their first day. Otherwise, they'll twiddle their thumbs, waiting for someone to assign them something. 

The first week - Your employee had a great first day at work, what’s next? Start with introducing them to your company culture, assign basic tasks, and regularly check-up on them. Be sure to connect them with their manager who will deeply familiarise them with their role. At the end of the first week, have a recap meeting and resolve their questions.

Tip: Be mindful of sharing easy to understand information. This way, they’ll be able to connect at a human level with their peers during meetings instead of being bogged down in details.

The first 30 days - The first month passes in a blink of an eye. By now, your employee should have met everyone in the company they need to know. It’s important for them to be proficient with the company's tools and systems, product/service sold, and be more aware of your audience. An employee handbook would be of great help at this point. Continue to have regular one-on-one meetings with them.

The First 60 days - Two months in already! The new hire should be collaborating with other departments and team members. It should be easier for them to find issues in your processes and suggest ways to solve them. Offering consistent feedback is the key to their long term success at your organisation.

The first 90 days - After three months, it’s all about working independently. From working through issues to finding solutions and implementing them, have them do it all by themselves!

Step-by-step guide: how to deliver a great onboarding experience

Now that you know the major phases, here are some practical tips to make a great onboarding experience for your new hires.

  • Now that you know the major phases, we’ve got some practical tips for you to create a great onboarding experience.
  • Don't skip pre-boarding. A good experience starts with the right preparation. Excite your new hires, make them feel prepared and ease their anxiety from day one.
  • Easy onboarding structures ensures a smooth workflow. Make the most of our checklist tool for a productivity boost. 
  • Encourage regular check-ins amongst your managers at every phase of the onboarding process.
  • Be consistent in checking up on your new employees. Resolve their doubts and questions quickly.
  • Effectively communicating KPIs and goals are a stepping stone to success. Acquaint them with all the elements that enhance their performance. 

Onboarding examples from other companies

There’s always room for improvement, sometimes it’s by taking inspiration from other companies who have a great onboarding process. Let’s take a look at some!

Google

Google is one of the best-known companies in the world and one of the most desirable employers. Well-known for their fun activities in the office, as well as a great benefits package, they are an inspiration to many employers.

Their onboarding is no different.

  • Before their employees even start working, they’re guided through a two week training process that dive into the inner workings of all the necessary tools. 
  • This is followed by a series of lessons on company culture where they get a deeper understanding on being a part of the Google family. 
  • As they get to work, they are given access to checklists, CodeLabs tutorials (in case they get stuck), and a variety of other materials to learn from. 
  • Their first project is called a “starter project”, lasting for two weeks. The aim is for the new hire to learn the ropes and have constant guidance from their mentor. At Google, mentoring and learning is a continuous process.

Quora

You’ve probably heard of Quora, but are you acquainted with their onboarding process? Here, each new hire is assigned a personal mentor that guides them through their first few weeks at work. The company admits that mentors lose about 25% of their work time during the onboarding, but the investment seems totally worth it. 

Note: Preparing talking points, auto-scheduling meetings, and more could help their mentors save time from unnecessary manual work.

Buffer

Famous for being a 100% remote SaaS company, Buffer boasts over a hundred employees and needless to say, they do things a bit differently. Their onboarding program entails a system of “Three Buddies” that follows through a new hire’s journey for six weeks. Each buddy helps the new hire with a different onboarding aspect.

Flink

It’s safe to say their onboarding process is as fast as their delivery service. They do this by taking the cultural aspect of its induction plan very seriously. On their first days, every new employee delivers groceries by bike themselves - and thus experiences the daily tasks and challenges first-hand. There could hardly be a better way to familiarize yourself with your own service.

At Flink, every new employee gets to deliver groceries by bike.

Tips for remote and hybrid onboarding

The Coronavirus pandemic has redefined the way we work and interact. With most of us working remotely, creating and maintaining human connections can be quite of a challenge. Surely, we’ve got ways to overcome this effectively.

  • Champion your pre-boarding process and set expectations for your new hires. 
  • Be proactive. Solving their doubts and introducing them to your people will foster unified teamwork.
  • Schedule online calls, send welcome messages, and introduce them to your team on the very first day. 
  • Adapt all training materials so they can be used online. Sharing prerecorded instructions is a great way to make them memorable, saving you time along the way. 
  • Assign a buddy for every new employee. It’s a convenient way to guide them through your company workflow, and culture. Having someone they can easily approach will make them feel welcomed and at comfort.
  • The lack of opportunity for informal conversations leads to increased questions. Giving out your company handbook is a great way to quickly resolve their doubts.
  • Oversee your employee’s growth through regular video call check-ins.
  • Design routines based on peer-matching. This opens up new opportunities for employees to connect with one another, share their experiences, and learn at a deeper level.

If you want to dive deeper into the topic, make sure to also check out our remote employee onboarding checklist.

Mistakes to avoid in your onboarding process

Whether you're a two-person startup or an enterprise of 500 employees, setting up the right onboarding program is a trial and error process. To make it easier for you, we’ve jotted down some common mistakes to avoid. 

  • Lacking structure and not having a documented onboarding process
  • Focusing only on short term (days, weeks) and neglecting the long term (3 months) process
  • Skipping the pre-boarding phase entirely
  • Providing too much information at once
  • Delaying onboarding for days/weeks and letting the new hire figure things out on their own
  • Having no programs to introduce the company culture
  • Not setting specific goals for an employee to achieve within the set time frame 
  • Not offering valuable feedback, and checking in with new hires

The core purpose of onboarding is to make your new employee’s journey as smooth as possible. Make every step count through Zavvy’s onboarding tools. Don't just wing it - make sure to use templates and checklists proven to work in different industries and for every role.

Conclusion

Onboarding is the beginning of an employee’s relationship with your company, while easing the stress and workload for the HRs. 

Zavvy's employee onboarding experience tool gives you the templates and tools your new hires need to succeed. This will help them see value in their role, and give them feelings of engagement and purpose. You will not only save you time and money, but also lead a team of happier workforce. This doesn’t mean that you're taking away the human component off your onboarding. In fact, it's the opposite: You will spend less time manually reminding people and introducing them to static processes - and commit more time in understanding their needs. 

We’d love to hear from you! Connect with us to learn more about creating the right onboarding experience for your people.

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