Here we look at how to onboard a new employee and ensure the process is smooth and helpful.
Onboarding new employees is a chance for your business to make the best first impression after the interview stage. It’s needed to ensure that new starters can slot into their role with confidence, and that everybody coming into the business is on the same page.
What is employee onboarding?
The employee onboarding experience describes the entire process of bringing a newly-hired employee into your organization. It is (ideally) a controlled and structured process that introduces the new worker at an easy pace, and not just throwing them into their work on day one.
Although your new hires will hopefully gain a strong understanding of the business through interviews and some of their own research, onboarding is a way to make sure that your key values and expectations are communicated clearly.
How to onboard a new employee – what should you cover?
Employee onboarding is as much about introducing a new hire to the culture of the business as it is about bringing them into their job role. It should involve helping with introductions to colleagues, HR processes and employee systems, and the office as their new place of work.
Employers can design and refine their own onboarding process, but it should ideally cover:
Your new employee will need to be introduced to their role and the responsibilities that are (or will be) theirs. The best way to do this for many roles is to have another colleague who can act as a mentor while the new hire gets to know the ropes.
Failing that, the previous worker may have left behind handover documents that can at least familiarise the new hire with the demands of their job. The more supported they are in their new role, the quicker and more confidently they will be able to take it on in full.
Understanding where to go for HR is vital. Whether this is booking vacation or knowing who to contact in the unfortunate event of a grievance, a new employee needs to know where to look if they need somebody to hear them out.
When a new hire is feeling nervous, a bit lost, and perhaps a tad like an outsider, this simple information could be enough to feel like their welcome safety net.
Meeting colleagues might mean walking the new employee around the workplace so that they can meet and greet their colleagues, or, for remote and hybrid workers, holding a video conference call.
There’s nothing more fatal to a new hire’s enthusiasm than giving them their job without telling them anything about the people they’ll be working alongside. Businesses can only make their achievements when workers are able to collaborate and work as a team.
How can that happen if you don’t help them break the ice and get to know each other?
A company thrives on its culture. Maintaining that culture relies on setting expectations whenever somebody new joins it.
If you build your business around a culture of respect and fairness, new hires should know that so that they can develop a connection and appreciation for those values.
This feeds into, and alleviates, other challenges a new employee might face. Once they understand the company’s culture, they can approach the task of getting to know their colleague with more confidence.
It might seem too soon to discuss the near future with an employee who has only just begun. However, laying out what their next successes might look like, and what they’re working towards in their first several months or years, can contextualise their new role more clearly.
It provides focus for the new starter and gives them immediate goals to aim toward, rather than them simply swapping one job for another.