For recruiters, attracting top talent is a priority, but filling vacancies is not where the story ends. The next step is embedding new employees into the organisation in a way that sets them up for success–even before the first day that they step foot into the office. This process is known as employee onboarding.
Technology can help with this process, and many companies choose an automated onboarding system to manage each step–whether that’s forms that need to be filled in or appointments that need to be kept–and give every new starter a consistent experience.
In this blog post, we'll discuss what employee onboarding is, why it matters and how to implement successful onboarding strategies for your business.
What is employee onboarding?
Employee onboarding is the process of introducing new starters to a company, its culture, values and expectations. It also gives new employees all the tools, resources and support they need to be successful and productive members of the team.
The process is usually a mixture of in-person experiences and online communication. It can start from the day they are offered the job and might continue through the first few months of their new role.
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Why does onboarding matter?
Giving employees a positive experience of your company from the start makes sense on every level. The reasons why it matters include:
- Employee retention. Studies have indicated that new starters who are exposed to a well-structured onboarding process have a higher chance of remaining with the organisation for a longer time, reducing attrition and the costs associated with recruiting a replacement.
- Faster productivity. Effective onboarding can help new starters get up to speed more quickly, as they'll know what's expected of them and what their role entails, plus already have access to the resources they need.
- Improved employee engagement. A good onboarding experience will help with positive employee engagement, as new starters will already feel welcomed, supported and valued by the company.
- Stronger company culture. Onboarding gives a company the chance to get across the culture, values and mission, to make sure that new starters align with your ethos to create ambassadors for your brand from day one–if not before.
- Better teamwork and collaboration. Introducing new starters to colleagues and starting to build relationships during onboarding can help to create stronger teamwork and collaboration across the company.
- Completing all necessary processes. An automated onboarding system can help you keep on top of all the required paperwork and checks, giving all new recruits a standardised experience, no matter where they’re based.
Start onboarding your people.
Successful onboarding strategies for businesses
To build an onboarding process that works for both your new team members and your company, here are some strategies you can consider:
- Begin onboarding before the first day. Using your onboarding system, begin the process before your new starter's first day by sending a welcome email with important information about the organisation, their role and what to expect on their first day. This can start to calm any nerves and facilitate a smoother transition into their new working environment.
- Assign a mentor or buddy. Pairing new starters with an experienced team member can provide them with someone to turn to with any questions or support they might need. This can help to speed up the onboarding process and build stronger working relationships within the team.
- Provide clear expectations and goals. Make sure you clearly communicate your expectations for your new starter, as well as any targeted goals or objectives that they should keep in mind. This can help to make sure that they know exactly what they should be working towards and have a clear sense of purpose.
- Offer thorough training. Give new team members comprehensive training for their job, as well as any systems, tools or software they'll be using, to make sure they have all the skills and knowledge they’ll need to succeed in their new role.
- Create a structured onboarding programme. Using your onboarding system, put together a structured onboarding programme that covers the first few weeks or months of the new role, outlining important activities, milestones and check-ins. This will make sure that nothing slips through the cracks and that all new starters get a consistent onboarding experience, no matter where they work.
- Encourage team building. Arrange opportunities for new starters to socialise with new teammates, both within their team and, if appropriate, throughout the wider company. This can be the start of building relationships, working together and a feeling of belonging within the organisation.
- Ask for, and act on, feedback. Regularly ask for feedback from new starters about their onboarding experience and anything they think you could make even better. This can help to spotlight anything missing from your process.
- Monitor progress and offer support. Stay close to your new employees and monitor progress throughout the onboarding process, making sure you are on hand to offer guidance and support if necessary to check they are on course, feel happy in their position, and have everything they need to succeed.
- Communicate company culture and values. Use the opportunity to communicate and reinforce the culture and aims of your organisation. Share real-life stories, offer examples and help new starters work out what they can do to contribute to the company's success.
When it comes to new employees, it’s crucial to get everything right from the beginning. By understanding what employee onboarding is, why it matters and the tools that can help you with the process, you can develop and implement successful onboarding strategies to help attract, keep and develop top talent. A well-structured and consistent onboarding process not only helps new starters to succeed, it also strengthens your company culture, improves employee engagement and encourages collaboration within your teams. If you get onboarding right, you'll be paving the way for a more productive, engaged and successful workforce.
Start onboarding your people.