3 Ways to Improve the Onboarding Process So You Retain Your New Hires
Onboarding Process: Here are three ways you can create a positive and easy onboarding experience for everyone involved.
After months of searching, you’ve finally found the perfect candidate for an open position. HR sent out the offer letter and confirmed you’ll have a new hire on your hands in a few weeks. It’s an exciting time for your company and future employee. But after your chosen candidate agrees to come on board, there are several steps your company needs to take.
During their first few weeks and months on the job, you want your new employee to feel welcome and supported. It should be easy for them to acclimate to the company’s culture and team. You certainly don’t want to give the impression that your organization is disorganized or unprepared.
Putting together a seamless onboarding process can be a challenge, especially for smaller companies. But there are some effective methods you can use to help this process run more efficiently. Here are three ways you can create a positive and easy onboarding experience for everyone involved.
1. Automate the Paperwork
No one wants to spend their first day filling out form after form. Nor does your team want to sound bored or like a broken record as they explain standard paperwork. Automating common forms that deal with tax withholdings and insurance benefits can streamline the process. Comprehensive platforms like small business payroll solutions make completing all the paperwork a breeze.
These platforms allow your HR team and hiring managers to start the process before your new employee’s first day. Custom offer letters can go out as soon as your team makes a hiring decision. The new hire’s direct manager can add a note to the letter so it doesn’t come off as too impersonal. Once the offer’s been accepted, the software can help trigger other critical onboarding tasks, such as providing keycard access.
Your team can also track tasks such as creating logins for web-based platforms and setting up laptops and workstations. Events like a welcome lunch and delivery of company swag can be scheduled and ready to execute. Some of the standard forms can also be sent electronically to the new hire before they start. They can get a head start and be added to the payroll, ensuring they get their first check on time.
Platforms that automate paperwork and crucial onboarding tasks also facilitate the process with remote employees. If your new hire has a work-from-home arrangement, automation can save your team from performing logistical gymnastics. There won’t be any mail delays, lost paperwork, or issues with finding a notary for document signatures.
2. Create a Support Network
New employees tend to have lots of questions, as well as anxieties about how they’ll fit in and perform. Without a clear sense of direction and support, they can easily become frustrated and unsure of how to meet expectations. On average, companies lose one in six new employees each month during those employees’ first 90 days. Some of the top reasons include an absence of clear guidelines, ineffective training, and a lack of support from co-workers.
Too often, new hires arrive for their first day, sign some forms, and watch a few orientation videos. Then they go directly to their desks and experience some brief introductions with key team members. However, new employees have to hunt down someone in IT to ask about the software or login they need. They also have to figure out “how things work around here” and schedule time with their manager to set expectations.
Having an onboarding partner or mentor can ease some of those anxieties and create a means of support. Onboarding partners can work with new hires during their first six months, serving as their go-to information source. The mentor can field questions, show new employees the ropes, and provide insights on navigating the company’s culture. Onboarding partners can also introduce new hires to crucial contacts in each department in case they need help.
Some companies might expand this approach to a smaller team that helps new hires during their first year. This team could include the employee’s direct manager, a predecessor that’s made a lateral move, and someone from HR. Periodic check-ins that create space to express concerns, questions, and objectives can also help. With a designated support network, new employees will have a better roadmap for solving problems.
3. Outline Performance and Career Goals
Few people join a company because they want to remain stagnant. Even if your new hire isn’t sure about moving up the corporate ladder, they probably want to accomplish something. And you hired them because you need their skills and perspectives to make a difference and meet performance targets. If the manager and the employee don’t communicate what those goals and expectations are, though, both sides will become disillusioned.
Although you don’t want to bombard a new employee with a detailed list of expectations, you can provide an overview. If there are key performance indicators for the department or position, you can show them the overall structure. Go over what determines the KPIs and some strategies and tactics the department or other employees have used to meet them. Review what targets you expect the new hire to reach in the first few months.
This is also a good time to ask about the employee’s goals and explain different career paths in the company. Give your new hire a few weeks to think about their objectives and ask them to submit two or three. You can also discuss how departmental or company-wide decisions get made and whom to contact in that regard. Thoroughly outline any decision-making authority the employee has and the scenarios where they’ll need to reach out for approval.
Another important aspect you’ll want to review is how the employee’s role fits into the organization. Research indicates staff becomes disengaged when they don’t understand how they help the company succeed. Motivate new hires by showing how they can make an impact and why the organization needs them. For this, a strategy map can be used in order to present the overall strategy and let the employee know where they fit in, and how their role is related to the company’s performance.
Having a structured onboarding process in place makes things easier for your existing team and helps retain new employees. If someone who joins your company has a poor experience from day one, why would they hang around for more? Instead, give them what they need to succeed and feel as though they’re an important part of the team.
You can do this by making required paperwork easy to complete and automating critical first-day items so they’re not forgotten. Also, have a built-in support network ready and review performance goals and expectations. By incorporating these steps into your onboarding process, you won’t leave new hires hanging. And existing team members won’t be left wondering if they could’ve done more.