Employee onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee into the organization. This process sets new members up for success on their job by developing their capabilities, increasing engagement, and retaining staff through improved connections with teammates and managers. While the concept is pretty simple, it does require a plan to be successful, and there are some things you should keep in mind in order to create the most effective strategy.
1. Use Technology
One of the best things you can do to save time and improve productivity is to develop a systematic onboarding process. Technology has made it possible for companies to streamline this process and actually measurably improve employee performance by exposing them quickly to the information and training they need. While it’s still important for HR and team managers to guide new members of staff, employee onboarding software can make the process so much easier. This way, new people can onboard themselves, so that they already have a good grasp on how things work by the time more experienced employees start showing them the ropes. Using the best of both approaches, your company will see improved productivity and decreased turnover.
2. Establish Onboarding Milestones
The first few days on the job can be overwhelming for new employees, so it’s important to establish clear goals for what they should accomplish within the first few weeks, the first month, and the first year. This way they’ll have key objectives to focus on for their first few weeks, and they’ll have a clear idea of what they need to do in order to succeed at their job. One advantage of establishing these milestones is that new employees can get involved with projects that are more relevant to their experience level, so they’re less likely to be overwhelmed while also building up key skills and accomplishments to add to their resumes. Of course, if an employee turns out to be doing a better job than expected, then it’s good to have milestones that can be adjusted based on individual success.
3. Make Information Accessible
Experienced employees will be happy to help new team members get acclimated, but they won’t have much time between responsibilities of their own. This means that the information your employees need might not be available when they need it most. New employees will still have access to the information they need, but you can improve engagement by giving them all the materials in an easy-to-use online portal where they can log in and find everything they’re looking for even outside of normal business hours. This way, new employees won’t waste time and energy trying to find the information they need, which can help them focus on doing their job quickly and well.
4. Establish Mentors
New employees have a lot of questions, and they need someone who can provide them with the answers. It’s important for experienced team managers and company leaders to stay available so that they can assist new members as necessary. If you don’t want your best people spending their time doing nothing but answering questions, then consider establishing mentors who are responsible for taking new team members under their wing. Mentorship programs have been shown to improve employee satisfaction and retention rates, so it’s something to keep in mind when thinking about how to help your newest employees get off to the best possible start at your company.
5. Manage Expectations
Setting clear expectations helps develop a more positive and productive work environment by keeping everyone on the same page about objectives, standards of performance, and schedules. You should also establish guidelines for how feedback is to be given. This lets employees know that you’re committed to providing regular reviews as long as they’re productive and constructive, which can help them understand how they’re doing and what they need to do in order to succeed.
6. Be Consistent
Once you have figured out an onboarding process that works for your business, stick with it. Training should be rigorous but interesting so that new employees look forward to learning and growing in their roles. Consistency helps new employees feel at home from day one, so they can focus on doing their best work during this critical time in their employment. If you have a system that is proven to help your business run more smoothly, then it’s good practice to stick with it. Consistency lets new employees know what to expect, which helps them avoid wasting time and energy trying to figure out the system on their own.
7. Encourage Professional Development
Onboarding is just one step in the process of employee development that takes place throughout their tenure at your company. Make it a priority to keep training opportunities available so that employees can keep learning and growing. This will help them find new ways to contribute to the organization so it’s a win-win for you and your team. This means that your team manager will need to be available to work with new employees on professional development plans. If you’re rolling out an onboarding program that includes mentorship, then this will also help keep training opportunities consistent across the board throughout the organization.
8. Evaluate Effectiveness
Finally, once you have established a solid onboarding process, you’ll need to measure your return on investment (ROI). Keep track of how much time is being spent on onboarding tasks and which aspects of the process seem to be working best. This allows you, at a glance, to adjust your onboarding methods if necessary so that they can continue to meet the changing needs of your company. On the other hand, don’t hesitate to receive feedback from your employees too. That can go a long way in helping you refine your onboarding process, which will keep everyone happy and productive.
Once again, having a detailed onboarding plan is an effective way to help new employees get off on the right foot at your company. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new methods, but always keep in mind that sticking with a proven approach is a good starting point. You can revise your program over time so that your team members feel supported and encouraged to keep innovating, sharing their ideas, and doing what it takes to be part of a high-performing organization. Creating a team player is easier if they know how to fit in best with your existing team – and a good team is the strongest base for any company.