6 Best Practices for Onboarding and Employee Orientation

First impressions matter, so an effective employee orientation is crucial. Here are some best practices for employee onboarding and orientation.


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First impressions are important. During onboarding and orientation, the speed, tone, and culture you set has a major impact on your company’s success. With an effective onboarding process, your new employees will feel comfortable, capable, and become more productive within a shorter period of time.

Most onboarding and orientation processes focus on copious amounts of information and paperwork. While this information is necessary, demanding this kind of attention to detail from your new hires for multiple hours typically results in immediate burnout and disengagement. At worst, this could even be enough for some new hires to leave the company. Effective and engaging onboarding can be the key to retaining your top-tiered new hires.

And implementing onboarding and employee orientation best practices can do more than boost morale– they can increase your business’ profitability.  According to the Aberdeen Group, organizations with the best onboarding and orientation processes see a “60% greater annual improvement in revenue per full-time employee and a 63% greater annual improvement in customer satisfaction.” 

How can you take your onboarding to the next level? Here are some tips and tricks.

Start Early

Get your new hires excited before they walk through the door. A week or so before orientation, send them a welcome packet and an employee handbook. Include information on your company culture, your organization’s mission statement, and why they’ll love being a part of it. Provide a detailed agenda of what they’ll do on their first day. No detail is too small– tell them where to park, how to check in, what they’ll need to bring, etc.

Make Introductions

Make your employees feel welcome. Arrange an informal reception to help familiarize new hires and their coworkers. This can be as simple as a meet and greet in the break room or as elaborate as taking the whole staff out to lunch. What matters most is ensuring your new hires know that their relationships and connections are important to your company and their growth as employees.

Show, Don’t Tell

You wouldn’t want to sit through hours of powerpoint slides. Why should your employees? While you might have a lot of lucrative information to share, don’t drown your employee in facts and figures. Lead your new hires through hands-on activities which will give them a feel for what they’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis.

Explain the Value of Their Work

This step is commonly overlooked, but giving your new employees value and a purpose within the company can go a long way. Prove that you see your new hire as more than just an employee. Explain how his or her role makes a difference to your customers and to your organization. You’ll inspire them to go above and beyond and boost their performance in the long run.

Spread Out Paperwork (or skip it altogether!)

If you have stacks of paperwork to get through, try to spread it out periodically.

Or even better, use HR software to get through documents and benefits enrollment within minutes– no paperwork required. The benefits of using HR software for onboarding extend beyond just orientation; employee information will be stored, documented, and integrated with other facets of the software, such as payroll, taxes, and beyond. And employees will be able to access their benefits, answer their own HR questions, and log into their portals 24/7.

When you reduce the amount of onboarding busywork, you open up more time for engaging content while simultaneously ensuring your company’s legal compliance.

Get Feedback

How can you tell if you’ve adopted the best practices in onboarding and employee orientation? Ask. Have your employee to provide feedback once they’ve completed onboarding and orientation. Arrange a meeting to find out what worked, what didn’t, and what they would have done differently. If you can’t talk in person (or if you think they wouldn’t be as honest in person), create and send a survey. 


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