[GUIDE] How to Successfully Onboard New Employees?

Anja Zojceska | 7/28/2018 | Recruiting

Our guide on how to successfully onboard new employees will help you create a fun, innovative and smooth onboarding process. Here you will find all the tips, tools and templates you’ll need to effectively welcome and integrate your new employees in no time!

[GUIDE] How to Successfully Onboard New Employees?

The old way of onboarding employees doesn’t work

You’ve probably experienced it yourself.
It involved a lot of paperwork, setting up your new computer, struggling with many different passwords and meeting a lot of people whose names you couldn’t remember.  

All these activities are an inevitable part of onboarding new employees.
However, they don’t make a great first impression of your company and its unique company culture.  

How can you onboard your new employees in a more impressive, effective and yes, even fun way? 🤔
You’re about to find out! 😊 

What makes an employee onboarding successful?

Onboarding is the process of welcoming and integrating new employees into your company and their new role.

Notice the stress on the words “process” and “welcoming AND integrating”. These highlighted words are the key to a successful employee onboarding.

A successful onboarding is a process

A successful employee onboarding is not an event that takes place on your new employee’s first day at the office. It is a continuous process that starts at the moment your best candidate accepts your job offer.

The war for talent is raging.

If you want to make sure that your new employee will actually show up on their first day, you need to do your best to keep them engaged until their start date.

If you ignore them, don’t be surprised when they call you to tell that they’ve accepted a better offer or that their current employer won them back with a great counteroffer. 

If done right, onboarding is the powerful weapon for both for hiring and retaining employees.

A successful onboarding welcomes AND integrates

Let’s be frank - the old way of onboarding your employees is boring and everybody just wants to get it over with as quickly as possible. This is because it is focused on tasks, not on people.

But this is wrong!
According to research, the human touch drives onboarding success.  

The secret of great onboarding is the fact that it makes your new employees feel welcomed and integrated into your company culture from the day one!

A great way to welcome your new employees is to throw a little welcome party.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy - just make sure you take the time to celebrate their first day at your company. Showing your new employees how excited you are about them joining your team will make them feel valued and appreciated.

Who is responsible for onboarding new employees?

Although most people associate onboarding with HR, onboarding shouldn’t be solely HR’s responsibility.

It should be a coordinated effort from your HR, IT and finance department/teams. New employee’s manager should play a crucial role, same as the new employee’s team members. Your CEO should be included too.

Best practice is to have one designated person as a coordinator of your onboarding process. Usually, this person is someone from your HR department. This person takes on the role of onboarding coordinator and assigns tasks to all other people in different roles.

Make sure that this process is transparent and clear. You should also set deadlines for each task.

To help you get started, we created a timeline of successful employee onboarding and turned it into a handy checklist.

The timeline of a successful employee onboarding

The timeline of a successful onboarding process consists of 6 different (time) stages:

Employee-onboarding-stages

Phase #1: Pre-boarding

This onboarding phase actually takes place before your new employees come in for their first day on the new job.

The goal of this phase is to keep your new employee engaged until their first day at the office.

It is also very important to use this time to prepare your existing employees and your office for the arrival of your new employee.

Step 1: Send an email to your new employee 

Sending an email to your new employees before their start date serves 2 main goals:

  1. Keeps them engaged and excited about joining your company
  2. Provides necessary information on what to expect on their first day. 

A welcome email for your new employees should include:

  • A warm welcome
  • Starting day information (date, time and location)
  • First-day schedule
  • Documents to bring (for example: social security, bank account details, etc.)
  • Instructions on how and where to arrive (for example: best route, parking etc.)
  • Dress code
  • Contact person (in case they have any questions prior to their start date).

You can also attach documents or links to:

  • Standard HR paperwork
  • Employee handbook
  • Quick info sheet about the company, its products and services, employees and company culture.

Bonus idea:

  • Fun welcome video or a GIF.

Step 2: Send an email to your existing employees 

Don’t forget to send out an email to your existing employees to let them know a new person is joining the team.

Keep this email short with only basic information:

  • Job title and department/team
  • New employees’ start date and location
  • A bit of new employees’ background (work experience, education, interests, etc.)
  • Time and date of welcome coffee or lunch (where your existing employees can meet and greet the new hire).

Step 3: Prepare new employees’ office, supplies and equipment 

Before your new employee’s start date, there are many different things that need to be prepared and taken care of.

Here is the list of these tasks:

  • Ensure office furniture (such as: desk, chair, cabinets, etc.)
  • Order a new employee’s IT equipment (such as: laptop, monitor, mouse, keyboard, phone, headset etc.)
  • Install the needed software on the new employee’s computer
  • Create a new employee’s email account and all other necessary accounts
  • Add a new employee to the relevant calendar, mailing lists, chat groups, forums etc.
  • Orders new employee’s business cards
  • Prepare relevant HR documents and forms
  • Ensure the office key or ID card
  • Prepare a welcome package
  • Arrange a welcome party (location, food and drinks, ice-breaker games, etc.)
  • Make a lunch reservation in your local restaurant (if needed)
  • Arrange for new employee’s parking (if needed).

Phase #2: 1st day

The big day for your new employee! And also for your company - you’ll want to leave your new employee with the best possible first impression of working for your company!

Here is the detailed step by step guide to organizing your new employee’s first day on the job!

Step 1: Welcome coffee 

First things first - coffee! ☕ 😀

  • Arrange for someone to meet and greet your new employee upon their arrival
  • Organize a morning coffee office gathering to welcome your new employee
  • Give your new employee a welcome package.

Step #2: Office tour 

  • Show your new employee around the office
  • Point out the kitchen area, bathroom, conference rooms, balcony, etc.
  • Introduce your new employee to your existing employees.

Step #3: Set up their desk, supplies and equipment 

Take your new employee to their office and help them settle in:

  • Provide your new employee with office supplies
  • Hand your new employee an office key, parking card, elevator card etc.
  • Help your new employee set up their IT equipment
  • Provide instructions for using IT and other office equipment (such as printer, projector, etc.).

Step #4: HR documents (paperwork) 

Have your new employee meet up with your HR team.

Go over:

  • Compensation and payment schedule, benefits and perks
  • Work policies and procedures (such as: working horus, vacation days, sick days, flexible hours/location rules, overtime, etc.)
  • Safety and security policies
  • Code of conduct.

Help new employee:

  • Fill in all the necessary forms, contracts, etc.

Step #5: Lunch 

Take your new employee out for lunch. A lunch out will give your existing employees a chance to talk with your new employees and get to know them in a more relaxed, informal setting.

Step #6: Meeting with a CEO 

Have your CEO personally welcome new employee and present:

  • Your company’s brief history
  • Company’s mission, vision and values
  • Short industry overview
  • Company and department goals and how does the new employee fit in.

Step #7: Meeting with new employee’s manager 

Have your new employee meet up with their manager, who will:

  • Explain your company's organizational chart (departments/teams and members)
  • Go over your new employee’s job description and responsibilities
  • Set clear, measurable goals for your new employee’s first year on the job
  • Explain the expectations you have from your new employee in the first month
  • Don’t forget to ask about their expectations, hopes and fears
  • Present new employee’s career development plan with clear promotion and bonus criteria.

Step #8: Team gathering 

Dedicate the last half of hour of your new employee’s first day to the team gathering.

In the ideal case, new employee’s team members will take the new employee out for an informal after work drinks. If that is not possible, gather your team in the office for some coffee and cookies. This is a nice way to end your new employee’s first day on the job in a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Phase #3: 1st week

During their first week on the job, new employees will need your support to learn all the basics of their new role and your company culture.

  • Check in with your new employee every day (ideally over coffee)
  • Schedule regular meetings (group meeting, all-hands and one-on-one)
  • Schedule introduction meetings for your new employee with different teams/departments
  • Take your new employee’s photo and create their profile on your website
  • Organize and schedule software trainings
  • Organize and schedule all other necessary trainings
  • Recommend useful reading (eBooks, articles, blogs to follow, etc.)
  • Organize social activities and gatherings (team lunches, coffee time, drinks, etc.).

Phase #4: 1st month

During their first month on the job, help your new employees develop, learn about your company and build relationships.

Here is how you can help them:

  • Ask for feedback regarding your onboarding process (entrance survey and/or interview)
  • Provide feedback (informal performance and progress review)
  • Organize and schedule relevant trainings
  • Organize social activities and gatherings (team lunches, coffee time, drinks, etc.).

Phase #5: 3rd month

In most cases, your new employees should by now begin to work independently and become acclimated to your company culture.

However, keep an eye on them and:

  • Ask for feedback regarding your onboarding process (entrance survey and/or interview)
  • Provide feedback (informal performance and progress review)
  • Organize and schedule relevant trainings
  • Organize social activities and gatherings (team lunches, coffee time, drinks, etc.).

Phase #6: 6th month

By now your new employee should be settled in and go about their daily activities and tasks.

However, it still important to:

  • Ask for feedback regarding your onboarding process (entrance survey and/or interview)
  • Provide feedback (informal performance and progress review)
  • Organize and schedule relevant trainings
  • Organize social activities and gatherings (team lunches, coffee time, drinks, etc.).

Additional useful employee onboarding resources

Here are the 5 additional resources, tool, templates and suggested reading that will help you successfully onboard your new employees in the most organized, effective and time-saving manner:

Resource #1: The ultimate onboarding checklist

➡️ To help you stay organized and keep all onboarding tasks in check, we created The ultimate onboarding checklist!

Resource#2: New employee welcome email template

➡️ To help you save time, we have created a New employee welcome email template.

Resource #3: Employee onboarding survey questions

➡️To help you collect feedback from your new employees, we created a list of the most important Employee onboarding survey questions.

Resource #4: Employee onboarding tools

➡️To help you choose the best tool that will streamline your onboarding process, we did a little research and presented the best ones in our blog post Top 5 employee onboarding tools.

Resource #5: Employee onboarding ideas and examples

➡️To help you create an exceptional employee onboarding process, we gathered the 8 best practice examples in our blog post Employee onboarding ideas and examples from experts.

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