The Talent500 Blog

What Is The Onboarding Process and Why Should You Care?

In today’s modern business world, we are seeing a trend where an effective onboarding process has become an important part of the recruitment strategy. An optimized onboarding process impacts employee retention rates, productivity, and company ROI. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), organizations that worked on creating well-structured onboarding procedures had 50% higher productivity and 86% higher first-year retention rates.

While it is clear that an effective onboarding process leads to several long-term benefits, optimizing and planning a robust onboarding process could be tricky. A solid plan would ideally be thorough and have attention to staff engagement. Let’s take a look at a few key aspects of onboarding and strategies that can help streamline your onboarding process and provide new hires with a positive experience.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding refers to the process of integrating new employees into an organization and familiarizing them with the company’s culture, policies, and procedures. It is an essential part of the hiring process because it makes new employees feel more at ease and confident in their new role, thereby, reducing the likelihood of turnover.

Onboarding typically begins before the new employee’s start date and continues for several days after the new hire is within the system. It can include multiple formalities such as paperwork completion, orientation sessions, meeting with team members, and training. The goal of onboarding is to ensure that new employees have the knowledge, skills, and resources they require to succeed in their new roles.

Who is responsible for Onboarding?

The Human Resources (HR) department is usually in charge of the onboarding process in most organizations. It can involve creating offer letters and contracts, conducting training and orientation sessions, and offering ongoing assistance and resources to new hires. The organization is ultimately responsible for onboarding since it takes a planned and coordinated effort to ensure that new hires are well-trained for success from day one.

Onboarding VS Orientation

The employee onboarding process encompasses two related and different kinds of aspects called orientation and onboarding. The initial process of introducing new employees to the organization and its fundamental principles and procedures is known as orientation. It can involve employee handbooks, discussing benefits and pay scales, and giving a general overview of the company’s culture and values.

Onboarding, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive process that goes beyond basic orientation and aims to provide new employees with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to become fully integrated and productive members of the organization. 

Why Does Onboarding Matter?  

Onboarding is an essential component of any company’s talent management strategy. It is a thorough process that involves introducing new employees to the company, its culture, policies, and goals. The onboarding process should be detailed in assisting new employees in settling into their roles and setting the stage for a successful employment relationship. 

According to an Aberdeen Group survey, 86% of new hires decide whether to stay or leave their company within the first six months of employment. Hence, a well-designed onboarding process can help improve employee retention rates and save organizations significant costs associated with replacing employees. Investing in onboarding programs can assist businesses in attracting, retaining, and developing top talent, resulting in improved performance and a higher return on investment.

 Helps new hires understand and engage with the company

A well-planned onboarding process helps new hires understand and engage with the company. Providing new hires with an understanding of the company’s goals, values, and culture can help them better understand their role in the organization. It can lead to increased engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity. 

 Helps with retention of new employees

An effective onboarding process is essential for retaining new employees. According to Employee Onboarding Statistics research of SHRM, 69% of employees are likelier to stay with a company for three years if they experience a positive onboarding process. A good onboarding process helps new employees feel valued, supported, and integrated into the company culture. This, in turn, helps to increase job satisfaction and engagement, leading to lower turnover rates. By investing in a positive onboarding experience, companies can improve employee retention rates and reduce the costs associated with employee turnover.

Positive impact on company ROI

It’s important to note that companies often incur significant costs in finding and hiring top talent. A well-designed onboarding process can have a positive impact on company ROI. It can help reduce the costs associated with employee turnover, including recruitment, training, and lost productivity. By investing in a positive onboarding experience, companies can improve their ROI, increase productivity, and enhance overall organizational success.

Create a great Onboarding Process

To ensure great onboarding experiences, companies need to carefully plan and strategize the process, right from the first touch point, till the employee settles in. The objective is to give new employees a positive first impression of the company, assist them in understanding the company’s culture and values, and provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their roles. This is important to set the new employees up for success and help them become productive and engaged.

Prepare an Onboarding Checklist

The first step is to develop a comprehensive onboarding checklist which includes all documents that a new employee will need to complete, such as tax forms, employment agreements, and insurance forms. A timeline outlining the various onboarding phases and who is in charge of each one should be listed in the checklist. This will ensure clarity on the steps and also accountability and timelines for each step, thus minimizing room for misses or delays.

The onboarding checklist should also include a list of tasks that will help the new employee become acclimated to the company, such as a tour of the office, introductions to team members, and an overview of the company’s culture and values. This will help reduce the time and resources required to onboard new employees.

Start before Day 1 

The onboarding process should start before the first day of work to help new employees feel more prepared and welcomed on their first day. Sending new employees a welcome package with information about the company’s culture, history, and mission statement is one way to do this. 

Another way to begin the onboarding process before day one is to assign a point of contact to new employees, such as a mentor who can answer any questions and help them feel more connected to the company. It’s important for remote employees who may not be able to meet their managers in person for some time. To improve retention rates and job satisfaction among new employees, companies can take steps to create a more positive and welcoming onboarding experience. One effective approach is to begin the onboarding process before the employee’s first day, which can set the tone for a successful and fulfilling work experience. 

Prepare a package that tells the company’s story!

A package that tells the company’s story should give new employees a rundown of the company’s history, values, and mission statement. This onboarding company package can include a welcome letter from the CEO or senior executives and an overview of the company’s products and services. It can also include testimonials from current employees about their work experiences, which can help new employees feel more connected to the organization. The package will include information about the company’s goals and objectives. It can help new employees understand the company’s priorities and how their role fits into the larger picture.

Explain company culture

A company’s culture is a set of values, beliefs, and attitudes that guide its employees’ behaviour. New employees can learn about the organization’s expectations and how they can contribute to its success by explaining the culture. A culture guide should outline the company’s values, beliefs, and attitudes to enhance the new hire experience. Companies can use storytelling to explain their culture including stories about the company’s inception, successes, and difficult times.

Introduce the team 

Introduction to the team is done during the onboarding process as it helps new employees know and understand the people they will be working with. It can help the new employees feel more at ease in their new position and promote a sense of belonging within the organization.

A team directory with photos and contact information for all team members is one way to introduce the team. It can assist new employees in putting faces to names, making it easier for them to reach out to colleagues with questions or concerns. Setting up informal meetings or “meet and greets” with individual team members or small groups is another way to introduce the team. Furthermore, businesses can provide new employees with an organizational chart outlining the company’s structure and hierarchy. 

Clarify paperwork and provide guidance

Clarifying paperwork and providing guidance is one of the core objectives of an onboarding process. New employees are often inundated with a significant amount of paperwork and documentation, which can be overwhelming. By clarifying this paperwork and providing guidance, companies can help new employees understand their responsibilities and ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and on time.

This can include a checklist of all required paperwork and explanations for what each document is used for. In addition, companies should also guide benefits packages and any other company policies that new employees need to be aware of. This can help ensure that new employees are fully informed about their benefits and responsibilities as new hires.

Share important resources

Giving new employees access to the tools, information, and support they require can help them feel more confident and empowered in their new roles. A computer network or online portal, where new employees can access information, training materials, and company resources, is one way to share resources. Employee handbooks, training modules, and company policies are examples of this. 

Sort out the tech requirements 

Companies should ensure that new employees have the necessary hardware, software, network, and database access to carry out their responsibilities. Companies should provide new employees with a detailed list of the hardware and software they might need to perform their job duties to sort out tech requirements. A computer/laptop, software licenses, and peripherals such as printers or scanners.

Furthermore, companies should ensure that new employees have access to all databases and networks required to perform their job duties. It can include providing remote access to internal systems, ensuring that accounts are set up correctly, and providing training on how to use any proprietary software or tools. 

Plan for virtual onboarding 

With the growing popularity of remote working models, virtual or remote onboarding processes have become an important part of talent management strategy in today’s remote work environment. Companies should prepare for virtual onboarding by developing a detailed plan and leveraging technology to provide new employees with an engaging and interactive experience.

Virtual onboarding plans should include all the same elements as traditional onboarding plans, such as team introductions, company culture, and paperwork. They should, however, include extra components such as virtual tours of the office and team-building exercises. Companies should also use technology, such as video conferencing, virtual reality, and gamification, to create an engaging and interactive experience for new employees.

Leverage technology to enhance the onboarding experience

Technology plays a central role in creating a successful onboarding experience that is engaging, and interactive, and helps new employees feel connected. It can include interactive videos, quizzes, and simulations that teach new employees about the company, its culture, and their specific job responsibilities. Another way to use technology is to create a more interactive experience by utilizing collaboration tools such as video conferencing and chat applications. Even if they work remotely, this can help new employees connect with their colleagues and mentors more quickly.

To summarize, the onboarding process is crucial to the success of any organization. Companies can help new employees understand the company culture, engage with their team, and feel supported from day one by developing an excellent onboarding process. This, in turn, can help improve employee retention, productivity, and company ROI. It can help new employees feel more confident and empowered in their new roles, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention. 


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