6 Tips for the Best Employee Onboarding Experience

Employee onboarding is more than just gathering up documents and stashing them away in your HR Software. Read on for 6 tips for a successful onboarding.


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Onboarding a new hire is more than just gathering up documents and stashing them away in your HR Software. It’s also more than just getting their new laptop setup or their desk assigned. And, when done right, it’s broader than just the HR team.
Consider this: How many days (or likely weeks) did you spend recruiting, interviewing, and trying to find that perfect fit to fill your role? Probably quite a few. So, why have an onboarding experience that stops after day one? Onboarding a new member of your team should be an investment over days and weeks. It should be an assimilation and complete immersion of that new hire into your business, culture, values, priorities, and more.
So, how do you think bigger about onboarding and take a more pro-active, cross-functional approach to ramping your new hire? We’ve assembled this list of tips and tricks from the pros who do this every day.  

#1 – Do the Walk-A-Bout

Giving your new hire a full tour of your facility and office layout is a great way to give them the lay of the land. Even better? Personally introduce them to the different teams sitting around the office. It can be awkward at times to introduce yourself to new people. By breaking the ice for them, you’ll help them bridge the gap and build their own relationships even faster.
Coffee break anyone?

#2 – Step Up to the Mic

Send an introductory email to your team and the department announcing that your new hire has started. You should be clear about their role, what they’ll own, and what their big priorities are.
But, don’t make it all shop talk. Offer a few fun facts about your new hire. What do they like doing on the weekends? What’s the craziest place they’ve ever visited? Do they have any special skills or talents like, for instance, winning a dog sled race?
Keeping it light and fun makes it easier for current team members to find connection points and a few things in common. If anything, you can find some fun conversation starters!

#3 – Have a Chat

Sitting down with your new employee on (or near) their first day is crucial. You shouldn’t wait to talk about goals, direction, and priorities. Usually, most people want to start feeling productive right away. Starting a new job and waiting around for actual “work” can be disenchanting.
The faster your new hire has clear goals and understands what’s expected of them, the quicker they can start moving the needle for your business. And, if they start delivering results right away, they’ll be more engaged and committed in the long-run.
According to the February 2017 Gallup “State of the American Workplace” report, the longer people stay at their job, the more likely they are to believe they have opportunities to do what they do best every day and become an ‘engaged’ employee.
Related blog post: How much do hiring and onboarding cost?

#4 – Read On

Assembling a list of documents, plans, and valuable company information is a great way for your new hire to fill in the gaps during their first few days. Making it easy for them to find things like an org chart, company initiatives, the latest sales presentation, and more, can help them ramp at their own pace and save the folks around them from trying to dig things up from old email strings.
As the hiring manager, it’s important to have these things organized in advance. And the good news? You can use it again and again if you keep it up to date, and maybe even get other teams to contribute, too.
Sarah Blanchard, VP of Customer Engagement at Zenefits, offers this tip: “When you’re hiring multiple people at once, it’s important to be organized in advance. Get your hands on everything you want your new hire to learn and put it together into a single document. This way you can walk through everything with all your new folks at once.”

#5 – Plan the Work and Work the Plan

After a couple weeks on the job, it’s important for your new hire to start planning how they’ll tackle their big priorities. Some companies like to use a 30-60-90 day plan. Others operate under an “OKR” (Objectives and Key Results) model measured each quarter. Whichever is best for you, it’s important to help your new team member understand their role and start making progress on the big accomplishments they’ll make and the impact they’ll have on the business.
“Being part of a sales organization, it’s important for new hires to hit the ground running fast. With a quota to attain, I find my most successful new hires build a plan and can start executing on that plan within their first few weeks on the job” says Jeff Hazard, VP of Sales at Zenefits.

#6 – Meet the Ambassador

Most companies have a handful of people you might call your “brand ambassadors.” These are people who, unprompted, speak out on your organization’s behalf and encourage those they know (and don’t know) to join your business. But, they aren’t only influential externally. Brand ambassadors are also great at rallying your troops internally. They are a great resource to keep morale in the office high, or to give people a pep talk once in awhile. Exposing your new hire to these ambassadors early on will immediately connect them with the positive and inspirational energy to not only keep them engaged, but perhaps convert them into another brand ambassador!

The Takeaway

With the employment experience becoming more and more individualized, a healthy and robust onboarding program could be just the ticket to get your new hire set up the right way, right from the get-go. It’s worth the investment to make the MOST of your number one investment, your people.
Find yourself stuck processing paperwork or manually routing new-hire documents with every new employee? You might benefit from HR Software with employee onboarding applications. At Zenefits, we want to enable businesses like yours to spend less time processing paperwork and more time helping acclimate your new employees to your company. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our HR Software applications here.


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