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6 Tips for Effortless Employee Onboarding

6 Tips for Effortless Employee Onboarding
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2016 by Marcy Klipfel

The first day at a new job usually raises a mix of feelings. New employees are eager to standout and start off on the right foot – and they shouldn’t be alone in that desire. Employers should be equally concerned with making a good first impression. One of the best ways to do this – and set the stage for long-term success – is by establishing an effective onboarding process.

Why does onboarding matter? Not surprisingly, it has a clear and direct impact on employee retention. In fact, research shows that as much as 20 percent of staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment. What is surprising, however, is that many organizations do not have a formal onboarding process in place. Without a standard procedure, it’s easy to overlook obvious details and best practices.

At many organizations, onboarding starts with HR, but the most successful programs involve the whole company. Whether you’re looking to establish a process, or want to refresh the practice that’s currently in place, keep reading. Below, I share tips for effortless onboarding that will leverage the talents of everyone at your organization and ensure new employees have a positive first experience.

Create a purposeful orientation

First and foremost, I recommend that every organization have a toolkit that outlines its mission, vision and values. This should be shared with new employees on their first day so that they can become well-versed in the company’s procedures and objectives. New employees that start with a solid grounding in a company’s history and purpose will feel more connected to the organization and better prepared to do their job well.

If your company doesn’t have something like this in place already, consider raising the idea with leadership and volunteering to spearhead the process by engaging colleagues for their input. Not only will it be beneficial for new employees, it will help the entire workforce understand the organization’s intentions and align on goals.

Get ahead of the game

Typically, the first day at a new job consists of hours of filling out forms. As much as possible, send digital copies of new hire paperwork to employees in advance of their start date or consider creating a pre-hire portal where they can easily access and review the information prior to their start date. This will give them time to review the forms at their leisure and will free up their first day for more meaningful onboarding with their colleagues.

Inevitably, there will be some paperwork that needs to be done in-person. I encourage you to spread this task out over a few days so that new employees can focus on getting to know their peers, as well as participate in actual work right from the start. The sooner employees feel like they’re contributing to the workplace, the sooner they’ll feel like they’re a part of the organization.

Be their solution for benefits

Choosing benefits is often one of the most overwhelming decisions employees have to make during their first days at a new job. Help start their benefits experience on a positive note by making the enrollment process seamless.

Make educational materials easily accessible, for example, by including hard copies in their orientation packet and digital copies on their desktop. Schedule time for HR team members to personally sit down with new employees to discuss their benefits options. If one-on-one meetings aren’t possible, consider developing a video or hosting a new employee lunch and learn where all details are clearly outlined and reviewed in-depth.

Don’t let them go it alone

Remember your school guidance counselor? No matter the problem – from a scheduling concern to cafeteria drama – you could go to your counselor for help. Recreate that support for new employees by pairing them with a guide of their own. Establish a mentor program in which current employees are responsible for showing new employees around the office, making introductions and serving as a support system as they navigate the new workplace.

Show empathy

In the first few weeks in the workplace, communication can make all the difference—especially empathic communication (or lack of). Employers that are more empathetic have an employee base that is more loyal and more productive. According to our recent Workplace Empathy Monitor, 1 in 3 employees would switch companies for equal pay if they were more empathetic, and nearly half of employees would be willing to work longer hours for an empathic employer. In a company where empathy is a priority, people will extend themselves beyond their normal limits, become more intensely loyal and want to join the company’s mission. Show your empathy by being patient and understanding with your new hires. Take time to talk to them one-on-one, and make it a goal to do more listening than talking.

Set them up for success

Finally, ensure new employees have all of the tools they need to succeed. While it may seem obvious, organizations are too often unprepared for a new employee’s arrival. Be sure that their work area is clean, organized and set-up with all of the necessary supplies. Double check that all of their assigned technology works and provide user guides that can be easily referred to with questions.

Once employees have arrived, continue to provide resources that will help them acclimate. For example, help them get to know their new co-workers by providing an organization chart that includes a photo of each employee. Make it memorable by asking employees to share a fun fact that can be printed beside their photo.

For more tips on how to strengthen your organization’s HR practice, click here. And be sure to check back for future posts on employee onboarding and retention.