Your new employees’ first days, weeks, and months on the job can make or break their long-term loyalty to your organization. To ensure your onboarding program is effective, ensure that your company has a strategic onboarding process fully integrates a new hire into the company’s culture and equips them with the information and tools they need to succeed.
Onboarding versus Orientation
Employee orientation and onboarding are both important, but they’re not one and the same. While orientation typically takes a few days to a week, the most effective onboarding processes extend through a new hire’s first full year with the company.
As you design or enhance your onboarding program, ask yourself these questions, as suggested by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):
- What impression do we want to give new hires?
- What do they need to know?
- What role will HR play? What about the new employee’s manager, coworkers and other departments?
- What goals do we want to set?
- How will we gather feedback about our program and measure its success?
It’s Time to Preboard
Preboarding refers to the period between a candidate signing their offer letter and their first day of work; it’s a critical time to help a person hit the ground running. Some valuable preboarding steps you can take are shipping new employees their new company laptop or applicable devices, setting up their email address and other contact information, sharing your employee handbook, and getting as much pre-hire paperwork out of the way as possible.
- Consider using an onboarding portal which can provide content designed to engage new hires such as welcome messages, photos and videos of new team members, and FAQs about what to wear, where to park, where to go, and who to ask for upon arrival on their first day.
Your goals during an employee’s first days on the job should include setting expectations and introducing related goals and objectives. Provide your new hire with clear guidelines outlining what their job duties and responsibilities encompass; this is a good time to go over their job description again as well
- Focus on helping new hires get acclimated and get to know their coworkers. You may want to set them up with a mentor, who can serve as a long-lasting professional partner as they grow in their career.
The First Few Months
Check in frequently with your new employee, formally and informally, to gauge how they’re doing – and feeling. Provide ample opportunities for them to ask questions, air any concerns, and provide feedback. Consider having shorter-term goals set for this period and review progress on these goals after a set period of time, as an introductory performance review.
The First Year
An employee’s performance at the end of the first year should help gauge whether or not they’ve met the goals that were initially set and are progressing as expected. Now, you can shift the focus from basic training to continuous career development. Show them what their future career at your company might look like and start strategizing with them about how they’ll get there.
About Virtual Onboarding
Whether your business had already transitioned to remote work or the Covid-19 pandemic forced it upon you, rest assured that onboarding can be just as effective on a virtual as it is on a face-to-face basis. You still want to put your company’s best foot forward; you just need to optimize your process for a digital audience.
- Use video conferencing, webinars, texts, and interactive exercises that people can access via their desktop, tablet, or mobile device. Then, ensure that these activities parallel your in-person onboarding process.
Do you need additional resources or help with your successful employee onboarding strategy? As a total provider of talent management solutions, HR Works can provide any or all the tools and expertise you need. Contact us today to learn more.