Employee onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into their role and workplace. This stage of the HR life cycle is important because it gives hiring managers the chance to clearly demonstrate their company’s mission, values, and unique characteristics. Creating a strong employee onboarding experience will reduce attrition and increase employee engagement, contributing to a positive workplace culture and increasing your company’s bottom line.
Unfortunately, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organisation does a great job of onboarding new employees. This leaves great room for improvement!
Giving your new employee an excellent onboarding experience from Day 1 will set the tone for what’s to come – leaving a positive lasting impression on your new team member.
Below is a guide on how to create a seamless induction plan that will give your new starter a 5-star onboarding experience.
The importance of employee onboarding
Onboarding provides a new hire with the tools and information needed to become a productive team member. It also engages employees, creates workers that are committed to the company’s success, and helps retain new hires by making them feel like welcomed members of the team.
Having a well-defined, consistent, and efficient onboarding process can:
- Reduce that ‘new job anxiety’ an employee may be feeling
- Give a new employee clear expectations
- Increase productivity
- Decrease employee turnover
HR managers face numerous challenges when it comes to the onboarding stage. After devoting countless hours searching for, identifying, screening and recruiting new talent, the last thing you want is for them to quit or job hop within months of hiring simply because you failed in providing a clear and positive onboarding process. So, streamlining your employee onboarding will not only impress new hires and leave them with a positive impression of your organisation, but it will also reduce the workload of the HR team and make your job a lot easier.
Also, keep in mind that the workforce has changed. Nowadays, more companies are embracing Hybrid and Remote work models in conjunction with traditional Onsite roles that require slightly different onboarding strategies. For example, when onboarding remote employees, you may need to utilise HR tools such as a digital employee handbook or a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) to ramp up new remote hires more efficiently no matter where in the world they are.
Why onboarding is particularly important in today’s workforce
Australia has job vacancies and a lot of them.
Labour Market Insights latest report states, “In seasonally adjusted terms, job advertisements increased 3.7% (or 10,200 job advertisements) in March 2022 to stand at 282,400. The strong increase in recruitment activity growth saw job advertisements reach their highest level since July 2008. Advertisements have rebounded strongly since hitting record lows in April 2020 with the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Why might this be happening? Well, we’ve heard of The Great Resignation and current Skill Shortages; but it may also be that your organisation prospered in the pandemic and continues to do so, meaning the need for an increase in headcount.
Ultimately if you are seeing an increase in the number of job vacancies within your organisation, this will in turn correlate with the number of employees that will need to be onboarded – following a successful recruitment process of course.
ELMO’s HR Industry Benchmark Survey 2021: Your 2022 Report, found that 70% of HR & Payroll professionals believed onboarding to be a high – medium priority for FY21/22, following other key HR areas, such as employee wellness, compliance, recruitment, etc.
With more employers on the hunt for top talent, only emphasises the importance that once you have successfully attracted and recruited your new hire, the next goal should then be to retain. If you fall at the first hurdle (onboarding), then you are not positively contributing to that overall retainment goal and risk unnecessarily losing that prospect early on. Which can in turn negatively impact existing employee engagement and overall company culture.
Recruitment, retention, engagement and return on investment are all areas that can be measured using Employment Innovations: Guide to HR Metrics.
Who is involved in employee onboarding?
The responsibility of the employee onboarding process is generally shared by:
- Hiring Manager (employees’ direct manager) – Maintains high touch communications with new employees, setting clear expectations and connecting them with the people, resources, and systems they require to perform their role.
- People & Culture / another stakeholder that Manages HR priorities e.g., EA – Oversees or facilitates the completion of required documentation or related processes, such as Employment Contract, Work eligibility, Policies, etc.
- Senior Managers – Ensure and support (where required) the hiring manager (their direct report) are conducting the onboarding process successfully and efficiently. The senior manager should make themselves approachable so that they can act as a resource to the new hire should their direct manager not be available.
- Executive Management – Communicates the company’s values and goals.
Usually, managers are the first point of contact for an employee’s life at a company. However, the degree to which one of the above stakeholders is involved will of course vary depending on the size of the organisation and the resources available. As such, employee onboarding efforts should be shared by different key stakeholders across the organisation, as the success of onboarding remains tied to interpersonal relationships between the employee and their first point of contact. As a HR leader, you will have the responsibility of getting managers/stakeholders more invested and involved in onboarding new talent; instilling in them the knowledge that employee onboarding is as vital to the business as making sales, product development and profit margins.
7 steps for a 5-star employee onboarding experience
When done right, employee onboarding will set your new hires up for long-term success. Below, we outline 7 simple steps to creating an effective employee onboarding experience so you can create the best induction experience for you and your employees:
Step 1 – Develop the training plan
Before Day 1, liaise with their manager to organise a structured training plan. Decide how the training will be delivered and who will be assigned to each training activity. Give your new starter a call a few days before, telling them how excited you are to have them join the team and what you have planned for them in the first few weeks. Let them know you’ll be sending them a training plan (so they know what to expect), job description and any other resources that will help them prepare for the first day.
Step 2 – Set up their workspace
The day before your new employee starts, get all of their equipment ready and include any company-branded merchandise and goodies you may have that will really make them feel part of the business. This could be a t-shirt, cap, pens, branded notepads etc. Test all of the system’s logins to make sure they all work. There is nothing worse than a new starter twiddling their thumbs on their first morning because they can’t even log in. For a personal touch, leave them an inspiring letter to help them understand that they are there to do something special. Apple does a great job of this and you can use this as a source of inspiration to create something unique.
Step 3 – Make sure the manager is prepared
Confirm with their manager that they have the training plan locked into everyone’s schedule and that the new employee will be busy learning and building relationships with the team. Decide on who will be the best onboarding buddy to give them 1:1 support (see further below). Don’t leave your new starter on their own reading training material or watching videos for days on end as this does not constitute a great onboarding. Interaction with others through shadowing is much more effective.
Step 4 – The role and intro to what’s expected
On Day 1, go through the job description and the training plan in more detail. Break down the role and make it very clear what’s expected of them – by month 1, month 3 and month 6. The most common problem new starters have about their onboarding is the lack of clarity about what they are supposed to be doing. If they haven’t been trained properly and aren’t 100% clear on what you expect, how are they to know if they’re not performing? Introduce them personally to the team and the wider business. Then take them on a tour of the office or building, showing them the important things like the bathrooms, kitchen area, first aid, fire escapes, key personnel and where to find their buddy.
Step 5 – Give them an onboarding buddy
Onboarding buddies provide relevant context on how things are done within the business and can help new starters navigate their new team. They can also shed light on the business’s cultural norms and any of the unspoken rules that exist, which could lead to a much smoother transition into the organisation. Having that ‘safe person’’ to ask all those niggling silly questions we all have when we first start can also be a real stress reliever. Giving someone an onboarding buddy for support will also boost productivity and employee happiness.
Step 6 – Check-ins
Starting a new role can be a nerve-wracking experience for some people and they may not have the confidence to speak up if they need some help (especially if they can’t remember people’s names). Gentle encouragement is sometimes all they need to feel comfortable enough to open up. Some people will just fit it and adjust straight away. Just remember that every employee will be different and that’s OK.
Step 7 – Survey
Survey your new starters. By the end of their first 2-4 weeks, every new starter should be able to say, “I feel welcomed here, I know what’s expected of me and I’m feeling productive”. If they don’t, you need to change what you’re doing because it’s not working, and you risk having these new people leave.
How the right HR software can improve the onboarding experience
At the heart of every great onboarding program are tools and processes to streamline the admin and make the process easier. Onboarding software is one of those tools that can make the entire process seamless for the new hire and the HR team, hiring manager or employer.
Many aspects of the onboarding process can be automated via a HR Information System such as Employment Hero. These types of HRIS systems walk you through the entire onboarding process including how to add induction content, build onboarding/off-boarding checklists, add custom data fields, set up admin email alerts, and review your new post-onboarding reporting capabilities. They are also incredibly useful for organisations with a hybrid or remote work model.
Onboarding software for HR managers can eliminate piles of paperwork and effectively streamline onboarding tasks for in-office and remote employees. It can also:
- Help you collect all necessary payroll, HR and personal information for your new hire.
- Provide you with an onboarding checklist so that you can be confident that every part of the process is ticked.
- Deliver digital contracts that can be read, signed and submitted online.
- Provide new hires with a digital induction workbook they can work through at their own pace.
Utilising HR onboarding software will help your HR team establish a more organised workflow and improve the employee experience. It provides big pay-offs for all who are involved in the onboarding process and should be considered if you want to build a more positive and transparent work culture.
A positive onboarding experience can lead to increased workforce productivity
The purpose of employee onboarding is a lot more than just providing new hires with the correct paperwork and a run-down of company values. It’s about future-proofing your organisation with an experience-driven, human-centric approach and a custom onboarding solution to increase productivity and make onboarding fun and effective for all involved. With the help of employee onboarding software and results-driven training, you can reinforce your company culture and provide new hires with the confidence they need to succeed in your company.
Get expert HR advice on your existing onboarding process
If you’re ready to break the mould of traditional onboarding and create an amazing onboarding experience for your team and employees, get in touch. A great onboarding process will improve employee engagement and produce a happy and productive employee much sooner – something every business should want. Speak with one of the Workplace Advice team members at Employment Innovations to see how the right onboarding plan for your business can help set new team members up for success.