5 Tips to Optimize Your Onboarding Process [+ Our Onboarding Quiz!]

March 13, 2019
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the employee onboarding process

Adding a new employee to your team can be just as stressful as it is exciting. You’re introducing a new factor into a process that is already running smoothly– how can you ensure things will continue as such without hiccups? Here are some tips for setting up new hires for success.

What Is the Onboarding Process for a New Employee?

During the onboarding process, new hires get to know their company and become official employees. It’s a chance to show them the ropes, introduce them to their coworkers, and ensure an easy transition into the company. Don’t underestimate the value of great onboarding— when done right, this process can supercharge your employee’s success and encourage them to stick around for the long haul.

How Long Should the Onboarding Process Take?

We see the “onboarding process” in two parts: the training and the paperwork.

A week or two is typical for onboarding new employees, depending on the skillsets of your new hires and the skill level of their new positions. The onboarding process doesn’t stop when orientation ends, however. Depending on the complexity of the role, it may take new employees months (or even years) to learn the ins-and-outs of their position. Allow plenty of time for the employee to become fully integrated.

The paperwork can elongate this process, sometimes adding days to orientation. An alternative? HR software can enroll your new hires in minutes, taking them through their paperwork, tax forms, and benefits selection, all from their mobile device. This way, paperwork can be done immediately so your new employees can focus on learning the ropes of their roles and settling in as an integral part of their teams.

What Makes a Good Onboarding Plan? 5 Tips:

What does a good onboarding process look like? It’s simpler than you think. When bringing on a new employee, keep these 5 steps in mind:

1. Finish Necessary Paperwork

Make sure the person is an official employee before you take further steps. If you don’t have one already, make a list of every new hire document you’ll need on file. Send your new hire a welcome email with all of the paperwork attached. Have them complete their direct deposit, federal tax forms, I-9, etc. as soon as you can.

2. Complete Training and Orientation

It’s time to get the ball rolling and show your new employee the ropes of his or her new position. Walk them through a typical day on the job, or if possible, have them shadow someone in the same position. Explain benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation time. Be sure to give a tour of the office– show them their workspace, the break room, and where each department is. The more detailed you can be, the better.

You should also introduce the employee to their coworkers, especially those they’ll work with closely. Bring them by HR, stop by accounting, and so on. Help your new hire feel welcome! Their workplace relationships will have a major impact on their performance and your organization’s success.

3. Review Responsibilities

After training or orientation, take a few minutes to assess their understanding. Your employee should have a strong idea of what they’ll have to do, but you’ll want to address misconceptions early on. 

Ask them to explain their role as clearly as possible. Are they missing anything? Have they misunderstood something told to them in orientation? Is there something you forgot to mention? Re-explain aspects that were unclear. This is also a good opportunity to receive feedback on your onboarding process to help perfect your program for future new hires.

4. Set up Their Schedule and Assign Preliminary Tasks

When training is over, set up their schedule for the coming months. Assign a few introductory tasks. Tell them who they’ll be working with, any subtasks they’ll need to complete, and note final deadlines.

5. Keep an Eye Out

You may have ironed out the logistics, but the onboarding process isn’t over. New hires will need time to adjust and get fully acquainted with their position.

Be sure to monitor their progress over time. A good rule of thumb is to check in after their first week, their first month, and their first six months. Set aside a time to meet and discuss. Share what they’re doing well, what needs work, and what they can do to improve.

This plan is a great start for your next new-hire procedure. Tweak it as necessary– if you think of steps you want to add (or eliminate), do so! With a little bit of practice, you’ll create an onboarding process that’s perfect for you and for your business.

Want more insight? Take our quiz below for more helpful tips!

About

As a professional copywriter, Dan produces strategic marketing content for startups, digital agencies, and established brands. He helps organizations tell stories, achieve online presence, and builds brands that communicate with their customers. Dan is also a regular contributor to Forbes. He started writing after his first professional role as a health promotions coordinator for a local family physicians office.

Category: Culture, HR Tips & Trends, Management, Talent


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