What is Employee Onboarding?

Your team has spent a significant amount of time and resources finding, recruiting, and hiring a new employee. You made good use of your recruitment automation tools to hire top-notch candidates. Now, it’s time to have your new talents go through your employee onboarding process.

But what exactly is new employee onboarding?

In a nutshell, it’s the process of helping new employees quickly and smoothly adjust to the performance and social aspects of their new jobs. But that’s only the gist of it. In this guide, we dive deeper into what is employee onboarding and orientation to help you design an effective onboarding process for your company.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the key transitional phase or period of acclimating a new hire to your organization’s systems, values, processes, and culture. By understanding what employee onboarding is and carefully planning one, you provide new employees the information, tools, and relationships they need to be confident and comfortable to perform outstanding work.

However, in many companies, the onboarding process doesn’t help new employees acclimate or integrate into the organization or their roles within it. In those situations, employees are left to fend for themselves as they navigate through unfamiliar tasks and territory. Some are eventually successful, but many others feel they made a mistake by joining your team and will seek better opportunities elsewhere.

Pro tip: With an effective employee onboarding process, you not only help retain the talent you worked hard to recruit, but you also help new hires reach full productivity faster.

What is an Effective Employee Onboarding Process?

Everyone onboards new employees, but many organizations only focus on the administrative aspect such as paperwork and access to software and equipment. Strategic employee onboarding goes beyond those.

Like any other complex process, effective onboarding demands deliberate and well-documented steps as well as ATS tracking solutions. Head over to the next section to discover what an effective and strategic employee onboarding process looks like.

What Should Be Included in New Employee Onboarding?

Each organization has a different answer to “What is effective employee onboarding?” But while answers to that question vary, here’s a guide that you can use as the foundation of your process. You can then layer it with sub-steps specific to your company’s culture to create a unique onboarding experience for your new hires.

Before the first day

When one wonders, “What is new employee onboarding?” the first day of the new hire typically comes to mind. However, employee onboarding happens before that.

Employee onboarding should include a welcome email to your new hire, providing some details around the next steps, and sharing your excitement to have them on the team. This welcome email may include:

  • An invitation to complete new hire documents or paperwork
  • First-day details (directions to the office, what time to arrive, what’s included on the itinerary)
  • An introduction to the team
  • Information about the organization’s history, culture, and team

You can automate the sending of emails using your recruitment software, as it has the information database of all your new hires.

During the first day

What do you want your new employee to think when it’s time to go home after the first day? About the overwhelming collection of paperwork he had to complete? Or not knowing the names of their teammates? Surely, you want your new employee to go home thinking, “What a great place to work at!”

You can help ensure this by including less administrative tasks into the onboarding program. For instance, you can carry out a process where employees make sure the new hire has a lunch buddy for the first week. Little things such as an ID badge and dedicated workstation ready on time also make the new hire feel welcome and valued.

The first day can include:

  • First day check-in with hiring manager to review role responsibilities and goals
  • Office tour and team introductions
  • Lunch with a buddy or the entire team
  • Training on tools and systems critical to the role

Bring more structure to your recruitment with Skillfuel’s free online recruitment software. Contact us today to get started.

During the first week

Rather than overloading your new hires with information on their first day, it’s better to spread things out over a week or so. Each day can include one or two of the following:

  • Information about company history
  • Company culture insights
  • Product training
  • Buddy check-in
  • End of the week check-in to identify areas for improvement
  • Request for initial onboarding feedback

Over the first 90 days

Strong and effective employee onboarding programs extend out to three months to help new hires fully settle in. Plans of action include but are not limited to:

  • Ongoing training and development
  • Check-ins after Day 30, 60, and 90 to identify areas for improvement and recognize successes
  • Buddy check-ins (once a week for the first month, once every two weeks per month thereafter)
  • Request for additional onboarding feedback

An employee onboarding program that’s structured and strategic requires more time and effort than an onboarding process that’s strictly administrative, but the return on investment is there. When done right, your employee onboarding program can increase engagement, accelerate productivity, and improve attrition rate. Each organization’s onboarding program may vary to cater to its unique needs, but the goal is the same: providing new employees with the foundation they need to succeed in their roles.

Tips to Improve Your New Employee Onboarding Program

Already have an employee onboarding program and orientation in place? That’s great! Here are some tips to improve it so you provide the ultimate employee experience.

1. Make your onboarding program reflect company culture

Nearly 60% of HR leaders say that the main purpose of onboarding is to integrate employees into the company’s culture. For instance, if part of your company culture is pride in being a leading provider of technology, have your onboarding program reflect that. So, if you show a new employee all the cutting-edge tools of your company but your onboarding program involves stacks of paper forms and a pen – you send a mixed message.

new hire shaking hands with the manager

2. Promote Employee Camaraderie

Provide the new employee with opportunities to familiarize with the new team, such as weekly lunches or a Friday after-work dinner. If your company has an employee social network, make an account for your new hire. This lets them communicate and interact with other employees, offering a general picture of the company vibe and letting them immerse in it.

Additionally, notify the new hire’s team beforehand so they can be welcoming. Everyone in the team should also be aware of the onboarding process for the first day, first week, first month, etc. You can also schedule meet and greets with other members of the company.

3. Utilize technology

Many enterprises invest on recruitment software to streamline their hiring process. Likewise, many companies have also discovered video training to ensure consistent and cohesive training. This cuts down on repetition and the relay of wrong information. It also helps the new employees have something to go back to when they’re stuck on a task.

Additionally, have a virtual copy of the employee handbook. It should include everything your new hire needs to know about working within your organization. Having a digital copy means your new employee will never lose it. You can even give it to them before their first day so they can understand your company, culture, and values before they start.

What are the Benefits of Effective Employee Onboarding?

The new hire employee onboarding experience is more than just an orientation program. Take a look at the four main benefits of an effective new employee onboarding process.

Improved talent acquisition

First impressions last and word spreads quickly. Your employees will likely let their peers know if they have an excellent onboarding experience. This adds to an overall positive company culture. When word gets around, you will attract the best talent in the industry. On the other hand, a bad onboarding process results in new employees assuming that your organization is poorly managed. That’s not an impression you want to make.

Decreased time to productivity

One of the major benefits of a good onboarding program is to get new employees ramped up quickly. This enables them to start contributing as soon as possible. This involves equipping new hires with all the information, tools, and support they need to succeed. Additionally, positive experiences promote positive attitudes. When new employees feel motivated and supported by their colleagues, they will be more engaged in their work. This results in increases in efficiency and productivity.

Increased retention rates

Employees who leave do not only have a negative impact on company culture but also negatively affect costs. Research shows that it costs companies up to 40% of an annual salary to onboard new people. A good onboarding process increases the likelihood that a new hire will become a long-term employee.

Promote better company culture

A good onboarding program provides new employees with a solid support network to help reduce worries when starting a new job. It also helps them build trust with the company and their teammates. With a good onboarding program, you'll have a set of engaged and motivated employees who have strong connections to their co-workers and managers.

Bring more structure to your recruitment with Skillfuel’s free online recruitment software. Contact us today to get started.

Enjoy the Rewards of a Great Employee Onboarding Program

You put significant time, effort, and money into recruiting and hiring the right people. Don’t let it all go to waste. Turnover is expensive, and a great onboarding program helps ensure employee satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, a great onboarding process ramps up new hires to be productive more quickly, so your organization can enjoy bottom-line benefits.

Hire faster, hire easier.

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