12 Traditional and Creative Onboarding Tips for New Hires

Apply these practical employee onboarding tips to make your entire onboarding process as seamless, thoughtful, thorough, and effective as possible.

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Employee Onboarding 2020 Workest

If you plan to hire new employees in the year ahead, it might be time to rethink your employee onboarding program. After all, a strong onboarding experience results in happier employees and can curtail employee turnover. 

Here are 12 actionable onboarding tips to boost your efforts.

1. Add preboarding to your employee onboarding

Successfully onboarding new hires doesn’t have to start when they step into the office. Task your hiring managers with ensuring that new hires have the required new hire paperwork, company policies, employee handbook, and anything else helpful to prepare for their first day. The more connected an employee feels before day 1, the more likely they are to come ready to launch on their start date.

2. Make a new employee announcement

Send an introductory email to your team and the department announcing that your new hire has started. 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? What do they wish people knew about them but nobody’s ever asked? Keeping it light and fun makes it easier for current team members to find connection points and commonalities. At the very least, a spirited new employee announcement can generate fun and interesting conversation starters.

3. Offer the grand tour

Accompany your new hire on a full tour of your facility. It’s a great way to give them the lay of the land. While you’re at it, personally introduce them to the teams you encounter. Breaking the ice for them helps them bridge gaps and build their own relationships.

4. Add a buddy or mentor to the employee onboarding mix

Granted, your newest team member will have a manager to talk to about certain things. But managers aren’t always the best people to turn to for insights about the nuances of the company’s culture, expectations, and personalities.

This is where an onboarding buddy can help. Ask someone who isn’t a manager or otherwise formally involved in a new hire’s work to step up. Onboarding buddies function somewhat like a built-in friend from day 1. They can be a valuable source of information on corporate culture and can make new employees feel less alone.

Mentors generally play a hybrid role, offering both professional and personal guidance. They tend to be more professionally focused, but by their individual nature some mentors also make great workplace buddies.

5. Set clear expectations

The faster your new hire understands goals and expectations, the quicker they can start moving the needle for your business. And the sooner an employee starts delivering measurable results, the sooner they’re likely to become increasingly engaged and committed.

6. Check in

Sitting down with your new employee during their first week is crucial. As part of your HR process, regularly check in with your new hires. Try to uncover their challenges, questions, and what they need to succeed. And don’t wait to talk about goals, direction, and priorities. Often people prefer to start feeling productive right away. Starting a new job and waiting around for actual “work” can be disenchanting.

7. Lists and locations

Assemble a list of documents, plans, and valuable company information for new team members. Include their locations. Make it easy for them to find things like an org chart, company initiatives, the latest sales presentation, and more. This can help them ramp up at their own pace and save busy coworkers from digging things up for them.

8. Meet the ambassador

Most companies have a handful of employees you might call “brand ambassadors.” These are people who, unprompted, promote or advocate on the organization’s behalf. And they aren’t only influential externally. You can count on these engaging people to keep office morale high, offer spontaneous pep talks, model optimism, and more. Exposing your new hire to natural ambassadors early on can infuse them with positive energy to stay inspired and motivated.

9. Plan the work and work the plan

After a few weeks’ performing their job duties, your new hire can start planning how they’ll tackle their top priorities. Some companies use a 30-60-90-day plan. Others operate under an “OKR” (objectives and key results) model measured quarterly. For that, they establish insight-generating onboarding metrics for measuring and assessing both the onboarding program and employee onboarding journey.

Either way, it’s essential to help your new team member understand their role and start making progress toward meaningful accomplishments.

10. Don’t rush employee onboarding

Think of onboarding as a marathon, not a sprint. Granted, it may be tempting to try to bring someone up to speed as rapidly as possible. But in reality, it can take several months before an employee is comfortable and competent in their new position.

The first month or so is about learning how the company works, their job responsibilities, how to fit into the culture, and more. Of course, most jobs will also require some new hire training upfront. But to the extent feasible, it’s best to spread out the entire onboarding timeline over weeks or months.

11. Optimize your employee onboarding for different types of workers

Employee onboarding isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Sure, there may be some standardization across employee types, industries, or companies, and that can be helpful. But by further tailoring your onboarding processes to each worker’s specific needs, you’ll better optimize your efforts, resources, and the employee onboarding experience.

12. Want more customized onboarding tips? Get employee feedback

If you’re an employer, manager, or HR professional, you likely know plenty about the hiring process. However, it may have been a while since you were on the other side of the employee onboarding process. Wouldn’t you like some constructive feedback about your current onboarding strategy? Is it logical, helpful, effective? How can you improve it?

Ask for employee feedback at various points during the process and take it seriously. Feedback can be given in person, virtually, or even anonymously if preferred. Not only will this approach help you make your onboarding the best it can be, but it will also demonstrate to new employees that you value their input and are committed to mutual success.

The ultimate goal is to make your entire onboarding process as seamless, thoughtful, thorough, and effective as possible. Doing so, you’ll likely realize the ROI in terms of employee retention, an increasingly engaged workforce, and other positive results.

For help developing or improving your company’s onboarding program, download our comprehensive guide to employee onboarding now.

For ongoing tips, tools, and other resources for business management and HR professionals, visit Workest by Zenefits daily.

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