Onboarding new employees are undeniably crucial for a quick and smooth orientation to the company culture and an easy transition into their role and the tasks they will be required to perform. Apart from that, a detailed and thorough onboarding process will help new hires understand their job requirements and responsibilities better and faster, boost team productivity, and increase employee satisfaction.
But what do top talents actually expect from the onboarding process? And what are the common misconceptions or issues you should avoid in order to deliver the best orientation for new hires?
The biggest misconception companies make: Assuming that the onboarding process starts on day one. Completely and utterly wrong and adhering to such thinking would be a recipe for disaster. There are many things that need to be prepared beforehand to ensure that new hires don’t regret signing their employment contracts. To ease and facilitate an effective onboarding process, we’ve divided the process into four phases.
Phase 1: Offer Accepted
Once you receive the signed contract from the candidate, you should start preparing and setting up the onboarding roadmap and checklist.
Depending on the time lapse between signing their contract and their first day, you should engage your new hire with regular updates and check-ins. Furthermore, if you have team events scheduled, you can also extend an invite to your colleague-to-be to make them feel part of the team before even starting at their new job.
2-3 Weeks Before Starting Date:
A couple of weeks before their first day, you should conduct an equipment check to see if you have the necessary technological equipment (laptop, phone, etc.) and materials available, or you need to order them. Failure to provide these items on your new hire’s first day is going to look very unprofessional and ill-prepared on your part.
1-2 Weeks Before Starting Date:
One to two weeks before their starting date, send them a proper welcome email to your new employee, providing information about their first day, what to expect, and what the official onboarding process will look like. If you have a company/employee handbook with all the relevant information about the job, the company values, and the company culture, this is the time to share it with your new employee. This gives them ample time to read through the information and prepare themselves accordingly.
1 Day Before Starting Date:
On the day before your new hire arrives, you should set up the desk and get everything in order. This could include setting up any technical programs and specific software applications, preparing keycards, and any other tools that the employee will need. And don’t forget to inform your front office colleagues about the new arrival so that they can deliver an appropriate first greeting and welcome to the team!
Phase 2: First Day
On the first day, you should organize an onboarding introduction session to go through the major topics and onboarding checklist. This ensures that your new colleague gets all the background information and input necessary for a smooth and effective onboarding experience.
Topics you should tackle include the following:
- Introduce the company’s vision, mission, and corporate values
- Conduct a tour with introductions to colleagues and direct team members
- Review the team’s schedule, routines, and responsibilities
- Review the official company policies
- Run through the company/employee handbook
- Provide assistance with the laptop setup (or any other IT issues)
You should use this session to provide a holistic picture of the company and give your new hire all the tools and information they need to succeed in their new job.
Phase 3: First Week
As you might have realized, the onboarding process isn’t completed on the first day. During the first week, the respective team lead should start introducing the new employee to their main job responsibilities and tasks, and also be available to clarify follow up questions or doubts. The team lead should have an overview of the checklist items the new hire will have to complete, and help move the process along. As the HR point of contact, it’s important to check-in often to see if the new employee feels welcomed in their new environment and whether they are settling in well.
Keep an eye on how your new employee is getting along with the other team members. If you feel that this is not going as planned, helping to schedule 1-on-1 meetings, lunches, or coffee breaks with key colleagues in order to break the ice. And finally, if your company has a mentoring program, don’t forget to connect the new hire with their respective mentor. That’s one connection you’d want to establish on the first day as it’ll greatly help to facilitate their incorporation to the company and team.
At the end of the first week, schedule a meeting to find out how they’re adjusting to the new position, and if all items on the onboarding checklist have been ticked off. This is also a good time to align on the new hire’s professional goals and objectives and find out what professional development opportunities would interest them. On top of that, you should also check that all equipment is functioning.
Phase 4: First Month
In the best-case scenario, your new hire will hit the ground running, settle in without any hiccups, and has already achieved the first milestones you both agreed on.
During their fourth week on the job, you should schedule the final onboarding meeting to check-in on your new hire’s first month. This is a time to find out if they are facing any challenges and also to gather feedback to improve your onboarding process. Before the meeting, check-in with the new employee’s mentor as well to get another perspective of their onboarding and transition into their new role. On the administrative side of things, you could also use this meeting to make sure that your payroll system is running smoothly.