Whether your company is brand new or long-standing, new employee onboarding and orientation is a critical underlying constant within your organisation. If you think your company needs an upgrade in how it onboards new staff, you’ve found a great place to get started.
On the other hand, if you’ve nailed down your orientation process, still review the following to ensure your organisation stays up to date and finds potential areas of improvement.
Here are five ideas to improve your onboarding process:
1. Don’t skim over the basics
It can be overwhelming for employees to receive information when starting at a new position. Keep this in mind as you hand your staff a new orientation packet that might find its way to the bottom of their desk drawer. Go over your company’s history engagingly.
Explaining basic facts and company history through inspiring stories will instantly connect an employee to an organisation’s mission. Even the most committed and driven new employees won’t retain everything at once, so be sure to go over the basics, allowing ample time for questions.
2. Know the culture before you introduce it
Every company has a culture, whether you think so or not. Employees often view company culture differently depending on department, management level, and other natural and enforced work divisions. Make an effort to fully understand your organisation’s culture before introducing your new employees to it. This way, staff are more likely to begin their role with the right mindset.
Start the comprehensive overview of your workplace culture by evaluating how leaders set examples for staff. Review micro-actions compared to your mission, vision, and values. For example, how do employees prioritise work daily? Do they align with a company’s mission, or do the priorities lean towards reacting to problems? What are managers dictating as the most important daily goals? How does this compare to high-level executives’ vision?
Reviewing feedback from former and current employees is another great way to evaluate a culture. Take advantage of exit interview data to build retention. If the culture needs shifting, it’s better to know while onboarding new employees so you have a starting point for change.
3. Support new staff with intention
When employees are set up for success on day one, they are more likely to do well quickly. Be sure to have their work stations set up before they arrive. They should already have access to their email, phone, computer, and other essential resources. Otherwise, it may seem that you, as an employer, do not care or are too busy to prioritise new hires.
Set expectations as soon as possible. Focus on the obvious position duties and explain the new staff’s role within the company structure. If your new hire understands their role concerning others, they are more likely to accomplish their tasks effectively. When roles are unclear, staff are confused about an organisation’s functionality and can be frustrated when work may appear unequally divided.
Hold frequent check-ins with onboarding employees to ensure their transition is efficient and well-received. Try to personalise your meetings with new staff as opposed to asking a list of generic questions. This method will further engage employees and help them understand aspects of their role sooner rather than later.
4. Socialisation counts
Technical onboarding doesn’t always have a social aspect. Perhaps specific teams like to welcome new hires into their department with a particular way to break the ice. Social support is more than just a fun way to have your employees get along and welcome new staff. It is also a vital characteristic of the onboarding programme. When new hires feel welcome, they will likely fit in better and be excited about showing up and doing well.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with social support. For remote workers, try light ice breakers over your online platform. You could play virtual Pictionary or trivia. Popular games like Among Us are great for staff to break the ice quickly.
If you’re working on-site, encourage employees to take new hires to lunch on their first day. Consider a more in-depth team-building workshop focused on your industry and company goals. And please do not forget to take employee feedback. Employees are more likely to take team exercises seriously if they have a say in them.
5. Use tools for successful integration
The final step in onboarding should be an interactive process on company integration. As new employees learn the ropes, it’s important to continue checking in with them to be sure they are fitting in well and utilising appropriate resources.
One way to help new hires integrate is through specific work plans. Depending on the position and employee, you may require or recommend different types of work plans. If you want to let your new hire take the lead, a less strict and free format like a standard calendar is best.
For those who you want to guide workers closely with their company integration, try requiring a work plan that specifies weekly or monthly goals with concrete steps to achieving them.
An abstract and thought-provoking method is to have employees rate tasks as urgent or important. These categories will, of course, overlap at times, but the point is to help employees critically think about time management in the context of your company’s overall mission.
For example, if new hires, and all workers for that matter, spend all their time putting out fires, basic organisational principles will fall through the cracks. The key is to figure out a balance to address the urgent tasks while staying on a clear path.
Consistent reevaluation of your onboarding practices fit into a larger plan for retention. Don’t be afraid to switch it up and get creative!
About The Author
Gabrielle Cicourel Hanley is an up-and-coming freelance writer with a passion for the sociology of work in the modern age. After working various odd jobs in different industries, she became fascinated with the components of work, bureaucracies, and other types of organisational structures. She received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the University of Oregon. With an additional background in communications and multimedia design, she brings creativity and precision to all her projects. Gabrielle resides in Tacoma, Washington in the United States. For more information, email email@example.com.