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Onboarding - 6 best practices

Adrian Sita
9 Jul, 2019
3 m read

What is onboarding?

Employee onboarding means integrating a new employee into an organisation and with the goal of minimizing turnover. To increase retention, productivity and cost savings, each company has to have an established onboarding process.


What are some of the best practices in onboarding?

Communication before the first day

Now that the interview is over and the candidate got the job, it is important that they keep some communication between human resources and the new employee. We can provide information regarding what they can expect and the schedule for the first week.

In this way they will reassure the new employee, prepared for work and not left in the dark. This is a best practice for employee onboarding and part of onboarding definition. Many companies are not paying attention to this period and in this way the employee experience is not at the level that will bring wellbeing to them.

For most of the companies the employee onboarding starts when the recent hire arrives - even so the experience should be at the highest level as possible.

Plan the first day

The first day is the most nervous one, with everything being unknown and can seem unfamiliar. This day should include a tour of the office, an introduction to the other employees. Should exist a welcome to the team package with laptop, agenda, etc depending on the company culture.

Some companies also offer welcoming gifts such as a shirt, bag, coffee mug or anything that will make him/her welcome and appreciated from the start - this is still part of employee onboarding strategy!

Provide a buddy

A ‘buddy’ is a team member who could show the recent hire how things work and answer some questions he/she might have.

This way, the perception of a safe environment is in their mind and they will feel more comfortable asking questions rather than asking for management.

Meeting with the manager in the first week

Setting up a meeting with the manager within the first week is an important step. This will allow the manager to know the recent team member better, share the management style, offer information about the current and future projects and explain what they expect from him/her.

They also reported the usefulness of this meeting was also in the Harvard Business Review.

The results include a 12% larger internal network in the first 90 days, participation in higher-quality meetings and three times as much time collaborating with their team as opposed to those who did not have the one-on-one meeting.

Provide a mentor

The reason behind the necessity of a mentor is to help the recent hire become more knowledgeable and invested in the values of the organization. It will become easier to accommodate the work culture and their role.

Training and job shadowing

Initially, the productivity of an unfamiliar worker will be at highest level, and so this is the perfect opportunity to train them. Job shadowing can be one way of doing it. As he/she shadows other workers, your new employee will discover the ins and outs of the company.

You can do this not only in the department they are a part of but in others.

Ask for his/her feedback

After 90 days of the onboarding process, try to find out what they think about the way the company and its people are using employee onboarding to create an enjoyable employee experience. As I like to call it “make the recent hire a hero” - in this way the company can collect a valuable feedback and to create an exceptional employee onboarding process.

My advice is for a face-to-face discussion in a safe environment for the new employee to give feedback with barriers. There are other methods, as online surveys or another interview in which they can express their opinions and how the process can we can improve the employee onboarding process.

We can then compare the data about job satisfaction with the retention data to see if we have made any improvements and progress.

The employee onboarding process should not be static but continually improved over time from the feedback received and the data gathered.

We should make the process for over three months as to maximise retention as much as possible.

Some (final) thoughts

We can share the feedback forms and additional documents with the employees by using a learning experience platform like we use from our partners at Knolyx.

This article is part of a bigger topic called: 

Onboarding process

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