Unlocking the secrets to successful onboarding: best practices for welcoming new talent into your organization

Content Team

Starting a new job is exciting, but it can also be stressful and challenging. Without a formal onboarding process, the toughest parts of the first days, weeks, and months at work are amplified—which isn’t good for your new employee, or for your business. A 2018 onboarding survey by Glassdoor, showed that employees who rated their onboarding experience as ‘highly effective’ were 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to their organization.

Here are the do’s (and a few don’ts) for establishing an onboarding process that warmly welcomes new workers and sets them up for success:

Formalize the process

The Society of Human Resource Management found that effective onboarding processes improve retention by 52% and productivity by 60%. Without a thought-out plan in place, it’s too easy for new hires to be forgotten in a bustling start-up, or when their first day happens during a busy week, or in the midst of a production crisis. 

An established onboarding process that is repeated with each hire ensures new employees have the information they need and a proper introduction to the workplace, no matter what is happening on any given day. Many companies establish onboarding checklists to keep the process moving and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Make it more than just paperwork

On average, a new starter is expected to complete 54 tasks during their onboarding process. 58% of organizations say that most of their onboarding programs are focused on processes and paperwork. If possible, take care of the bulk of paperwork before a new employee comes in for the first day. This helps to avoid communication breakdown, and shifts the focus of the onboarding process to the unique skills and talents that your new employee will bring to their team. 

It’s important to keep the employee at the heart of the onboarding process. Too often, managers pay too much attention to programs, job requirements and systems, and while critical, onboarding should be broader. Effective and engaging onboarding must encompass your employer value proposition and highlight how your new employee’s career can grow and how their impact will be felt. Successful onboarding is like a road map that helps new hires envision their future with your business.

Facilitate connection

Part of being a new employee is entering an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people. While HR can help ease the transition from the recruitment process to day 1, it’s your new starter’s colleagues who will impact their daily experience with your organization.  

You can assist during this transitionary phase by setting time aside for your new starter to build connections, like a team lunch, coffee catch-ups, or a welcome event (be it virtual or face-to-face). Time for introductions and chit-chat can help newbies get past their first-day jitters.

Additionally, consider assigning your new starter with an experienced mentor whom they can consult with. Making sure your new starter has a dedicated resource to ask questions or discuss any challenges they may be faced with is important in the early stages of a new role. Mentors can facilitate an immediate connection, but also offer a new employee an opportunity to build a network. 

What comes after onboarding?

Within the first six to 12 months, your new employee should feel that they are up to speed and an integral part of the team. But the need for training, and a sense of connection with coworkers and the company’s mission never goes away. This is where your employee engagement strategies and career development plans take over to ensure your people feel supported throughout their employment.

A talent partner can help you implement or redesign your onboarding process to improve your retention rates and reduce employee turnover. Click here to read more about how we have helped our clients with their onboarding process or talk to one of our talent experts.

This article was originally published in 2018, we have since updated it with the latest insights of our talent experts to share actionable and relevant talent advice. 

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

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