Do You Need to Update Your Employee Onboarding? Best Practices for 2020

Are you interested in taking a close look at your employee onboarding process, but aren’t quite sure where to improve? We have a few ways to go about it.


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Here's what you need to know:

  • Employee onboarding is important to your business' success
  • Employee turnover is expensive, and a strong onboarding program can reduce this cost
  • Make sure what you say in onboarding matches your handbook policies
  • Consider spacing employee onboarding over the course of a few months
  • Integrate employee and HR feedback into the onboarding process
  • Involve the entire team in the onboarding process to make the new hire feel welcome

It can be easy to let your employee onboarding process fade into the background. It’s one of those processes that, as a small business owner, you might use infrequently.

Yet, it’s absolutely in your best interest to update your employee onboarding process. Here’s why: It’s the first interaction that your new hires have with your company as an employee.

Your recruiting and hiring processes happen when new hires are technically still candidates, so your employee onboarding process is a critical element in ensuring that your newest team members get off to the right start.

Make sure your handbook matches your onboarding

If you have an employee handbook (and you should!), you’ll want to make sure it’s updated accordingly. Most employees receive their handbook as part of their onboarding process, and many businesses require an employee to sign it as a way to confirm they have read and understood the company’s policies.

It’s important that there isn’t conflicting information between what is said during onboarding, and what is written in the handbook.

Integrate feedback into your employee onboarding update

Do you collect feedback from new hires and those in charge of onboarding? The best source of information on what is and isn’t working in your onboarding process is the people who participate in it.

If you have been collecting information but it has just been sitting in an Excel sheet somewhere, now’s the time to dust it off and put those insights to use.

That said, just because a new hire or two said something doesn’t mean that you have to change your whole approach based on a couple of nuggets of information. Ideally, you’ll have collected enough information over the past year or so to be able to identify patterns or places where people’s feedback overlaps. Those are the changes you’ll want to focus on making.

Think beyond the first day

Have you been doing your employee onboarding the traditional way, over a day or two at the very beginning of a new hire’s tenure and then that’s it? While it can be tempting to knock everything out as quickly as possible, it can actually be difficult for people to retain a bunch of information thrown at them at once. Especially while they’re preoccupied with making a good impression, planting the seeds for future office friendships, trying to get a read on their new manager, and more.

Instead, consider delivering essential information upfront and spend the coming months adding to the new hire’s knowledge base. Scheduling regular checkups throughout that process can also help to make sure new hires have structured ways to get the information they need to do their jobs well. Check-ins are also a great way to gauge how useful your employee onboarding information is over a period of time.

Preparation is key to successful employee onboarding

Checklists are great for, well, everything.

On your end, you’ll want to be prepared with everything your new employee will need, from business cards to a security badge, and instructions for setting up their new company email. Have their computer and any other equipment or software they’ll need ready for them to receive and begin using on day one.

You’ll also want to make sure you’ve done everything you can to allow your new hires to show up with everything they need on their first day. Will they need two forms of identification for paperwork? Will they be getting their photo taken for the company website? What about parking and commuting — do they know everything they need to know to successfully get there in the first place?

Especially if things have changed in the way you do things around your company since the last time you had a look at your employee onboarding process, this is one area you’ll want to pay special attention to.

Make employee onboarding a team effort

Help your new hires to feel more included when they start by doing things like sending out a company-wide email announcing the new hires by name and sharing a bit about who they are and what they’ll be doing. Encourage current employees to reach out and make them feel at home by taking them out for coffee or making an extra effort to make conversation over lunch.

Not only will it help new hires to feel less alone on day one, but it will show them the kind of company culture that’s waiting for them.


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