When drafting our recommendations, we used the data and insights revealed by our Pre & Onboarding Survey 2021. With answers from 2044 employees, we view it as a competitive advantage to know what employees want and what they struggle with. If you would like to get all the insights from the survey, we highly recommend reading our eBook Your Pre & Onboarding Buddy.
What is a Strategic and Structured Employee Onboarding Process?
Onboarding starts on the first day on the job. Whether new hires walk into the workplace, onboarding starts with their first lived experience as a new employee.
An employee onboarding process refers to all the activities and steps that target a key objective. These can be to guide the growth of new hires from mere promising candidates to fully integrated. When they start a new job, there is always a period of learning and a steep learning curve.
Onboarding has multiple facets: social, administrative, training etc. We will not go into further detail here on what does onboarding mean for a job. We recommend you consult the linked article.
10 Steps to a Successful HR Onboarding Process
We have formulated a list of 10 steps that are guaranteed to form the blueprints for a rewarding and successful onboarding process for new employees. This is a general overview. You can always improve the employee onboarding program by developing in every step.
Step 1: Set the Goals of Your Employee Onboarding Process
Before getting into drafting an onboarding plan, it is essential to establish clear onboarding goals. The generic goal of an employee onboarding process is employee integration and performance. But, how do you define employee integration? What steps do they have to go through until achieving integration? Additionally, what does performance mean? Completing a specific task or completing a project from beginning to end? Any onboarding planning has to build on clear goals.
When defining employee onboarding goals, it is important to consider the 4 C’s of Onboarding: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.
Step 2: Define the Measures for Success
This step is intimately linked to the previous one. It is crucial to have a mechanism to review and measure their accomplishment. There are multiple onboarding metrics that can provide valued insight into the evolution of the process. As onboarding is a journey, so you can expect progressive objectives. As new employees gain confidence and they progress towards full productivity, your success metrics will reflect this experience.
Step 3: Build Your Onboarding Team
Onboarding is a cross-functional process with multiple sub-processes. There might be multiple actors involved in efforts targeting the employee integration. This will depend on the size of your new employer.
Who will be supporting new hires in achieving their onboarding goals? Who will oversee and support this journey? When there are multiple actors involved, who is responsible for what? You can expect some participants to have a more comprehensive input, while other to be present only at the very beginning. For example, an IT admin will help new employees set up at the very beginning of the employment. On the other hand, an onboarding buddy assist them until they full integration.
A multi-department onboarding team can provide a richer experience to new hires.
Step 4: Draft an Structured and Comprehensive Planning
Once all the other steps are completed, drafting an onboarding plan is the next required action. A clean plan will contain goals, success metrics and stakeholders. Additionally, you will understand the key milestones of this journey. For example, a way of structuring the employee onboarding process is the 30-60-90 day onboarding plan.
It is essential that your plan contains checkpoints for review and a mechanism for improvement. After all, not employees are identical in their needs and preferences. Maybe some of them need more feedback from their supervisor or maybe others are OK just with some sporadic 1-on-1-sessions. The key is to find the balance between their needs and the expectations for improvement.
Needless to say, a clear role description should be at the core of onboarding planning. Additionally, a comprehensive onboarding will also have an important social dimension. If you would like to know more this, we covered the social benefits of a good onboarding programme in a separate article.
Step 5: Define a Content Plan for the Preboarding Process
We are firm believers in the power of Preboarding for your new job start. You will find multiple article on the subject on our blog HR. For an introduction into the subject, we recommend reading our Pre-Onboarding article.
A preboarding process is the ideal method for preparing prior to the arrival of a new employee in a company. But, if resources are scarce, or time is limited, there are still some small gestures that can make a positive first impression. One of them is sending out communication to announce the arrival of a new employee, as well as a welcome email.
Dorte van der Linden, Talent Acquisition Manager at Milestone System and introdus client, highlighted: “Get the right balance in the amount of content, and then diversify. Don’t be afraid of being so ambitious in the Preboarding phase“.
Step 6: Train The New Hires to Gain Insights and Skills for Performing
Apply the best practices for training new employees to aid them in achieving roles and work tools mastery.
Regardless of the means of delivering the training (in person vs e-learning), new employee training is a crucial part of starting a new job. Training does not have to be limited to role and skill specific learning. Training also refers to compliance, organisational knowledge and various company policies.
Step 7: Introduce New Employees Across Departments
New hires need to understand the who’s and the hows of the organisation. They need to learn how collaboration would work outside their team. Our own Pre & Onboarding Survey 2021 reveals that most of the employees haven’t been properly introduced to other departments. Only 19% report being introduced at least briefly to other departments.
In addition, new employees should meet with the the main leader of the organisation at least once for small and medium companies. This is extremely meaningful for a new hire. That leader is definitely a busy person, yet, when they take the time to welcome you, even over a coffee break, it showcases a culture of respect and integration. After all, new hires will also become a contributor to the growth of the company. This deserves acknowledgement and encouragement.
Step 8: Find Ways to Target Engagement Prior to Day 1
Globally, only 20% of employees declare themselves as being engaged at work, as highlighted by Gallup.
In addition, a study published by the American Psychological Association, links employee engagement to finding meaning at work. The engaged employee is: attentive, connected, integrated, and absorbed at work. “Employees who find meaning in their work are more likely to be engaged in their jobs, thereby enhancing their effectiveness and job performance.”
Engagement can happen organically. However, there are methods that can foster engagement as early as signing the new employment contract. Actually, in this eBook we provide you with solutions for getting engaged as early as signing the employment contract.