Employee Onboarding Programs: Then & Now

As businesses forge into the future, more HR professionals are shifting the spotlight from processes to people. Read how to conduct employee onboarding effectively.


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Employee Onboarding - New Desk

As businesses forge into the future, more and more HR professionals are shifting the spotlight from processes to people. When it comes to employee onboarding, companies are significantly investing in comprehensive and immersive experiences during the first few months of employment. This process looks different for each person, but there are some larger trends that shed light on the future of human resources as a whole.

A Look Back in Time

Gone are the days when employee onboarding meant a pile of HR paperwork and a quick tour of the office. Now, employees want to get to know their coworkers as they begin to truly understand the company’s products and purpose.

Part of the reasoning behind this shift is the development and widespread implementation of HR software tools. Because processes like onboarding, payroll, and benefits selection have become much easier through automation, the role of the HR professional is greatly different from what it was just a few years ago.

Quick stat: According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, 21% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.

Aside from technological advances, employers are becoming increasingly aware of how the employee’s experience affects productivity and the company’s bottom line. That’s why businesses must put employees first, starting with an effective onboarding program.

Related: How much do hiring and onboarding cost?

Building an Effective Employee Onboarding Program

The best employee onboarding programs engage new hires while addressing acclimation, education, and goal setting. To encourage engagement early on, use your onboarding program to show new hires exactly how hitting their specific goals moves the needle for the entire organization.

Companies must be able to articulate what their objectives are in order to communicate those goals across the organization. Once this information has been shared with HR and the greater team, it’s up to individual managers to work with new hires to formulate reasonable goals and then track their progress. Working closely with a new employee, managers can build toward the four pillars of employee engagement: connection, commitment, contribution, and progress.

Here are a few steps to take when building your onboarding program:

  • Write an accurate and comprehensive job description. Detailing exactly what an employee is responsible for will help to clarify expectations and performance goals. Typically, employers should provide a more detailed description than what was originally included in the job posting.
  • Finish preparing for the employee’s first day before the actual start date rolls around. Finish paperwork early, get the rest of the team excited, and prep any necessary tools such as computers. What you do now prepares your new hire for a successful first day, as well as success in those critical first months.
  • Involve other employees. Starting a new job is difficult for a number of reasons, but meeting new people shouldn’t be one of them. Set up training with employees from other departments, team lunches, and one-on-ones with executives to help the new employee feel part of the team from day one.

While your company’s approach to onboarding should be customized, these easy steps will show any employee that you care about her or his success.

This post was originally published November 16, 2017 and has since been updated.


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