Onboarding is critical to the long-term success of any new hire. It's an opportunity to make a great first impression on recent recruits that drastically increases their likelihood of becoming significant contributors to organizations. It's also the first step towards retaining talent, which McKinsey identified as a top challenge enterprise leaders face.
Most people think of onboarding as simply completing the paperwork to make employees part of an organization. Although this is an essential element, you must consider how to improve the onboarding experience with the overall employee experience for acclimating new talent to your company culture—which is what this process is really about.
The best onboarding programs combine long-term training with worker support, frequent check-ins, and feedback to fully integrate recent hires into their roles. This process provides numerous opportunities for them to interact with managers, co-workers, and leadership teams to ensure they have what they need to succeed.
The following seven tips reveal how to make onboarding better for newcomers and their employers.
#1: Automate paperwork
Although filling out new hire paperwork is an integral aspect of employee onboarding, it shouldn't be the main focus area. HR departments can accelerate this part of their responsibilities by automating these repeatable processes common in human resources.
Robotic Process Automation software excels at extracting relevant information from forms and inputting it in the proper channels to get new recruits on board for payroll, IT, security clearance, and more. It's consistently more accurate than humans are and enables HR to focus on the more meaningful part of onboarding—ensuring employees adjust well to their new positions.
#2: Issue a warm welcome
You can make immediate onboarding improvements by sincerely welcoming recent hires to your organization. The best of these efforts involve entire departments with face-to-face greetings or digital ones.
This is a great personal touch to make new workers feel valued and part of their organization. It can also help decrease recent recruits' turnover rates, increase their engagement, and set the stage for a successful working relationship.
#3: Create an employee journey
Similar to mapping a customer journey, mapping an employee journey is a chance to create a roadmap for success. An employee journey map is a visual blueprint illustrating the various milestones new talent seeks to attain at an organization.
The objective is to identify the career goals for those workers and pinpoint the various steps it takes to reach them. The benefits work both ways. Employees can set reasonable expectations about what they'll be doing at a company, which can increase their performance. Management can also gauge their priorities, see how they fit into company objectives, and use this information to help both reach them.
#4: Foster manager relationships
An excellent way to improve onboarding process steps is to schedule a time for newcomers to interact with managers. Although there's value in facilitating these relationships in groups, one-on-one interactions are ideal for setting expectations about the position while allowing managers to get to know their workers. Ideally, managers should meet with new recruits multiple times to make sure things are going well.
#5: Implement partners or mentors
You can create a better onboarding experience by pairing new hires with established co-workers to help them adjust to their new roles. These professionals might serve as mentors or issue tips for optimizing customer interactions, getting a decent lunch in the area, or finessing upper management for funding.
They're also available for listening when newcomers need someone to talk with. These partnerships provide informal opportunities for recent recruits to get to know their organizations better from an insider's perspective.
#6: Extend the process
A common mistake is to view onboarding as a brief, week or two series of finite activities. A much better onboarding approach is to extend this process for at least a year in an ongoing attempt to support workers once they've been hired.
For example, training should take place over the course of months, starting with the most vital information and gradually becoming more specialized. Results show that longer onboarding processes speed up the proficiency of new hires by nearly 35 percent.
#7: Check in and solicit feedback
One of the best ways to improve employee onboarding process measures is to check in and get feedback from recent hires regularly. This should be a team affair with mentors, other co-workers, and managers getting reactions from newcomers about how they're doing, what's working for them, and what isn't. Ideally, this feedback will involve both formal and informal interactions, from something as simple as an email to team meetings.
All those ways can help boost retention
Ultimately, the goal of onboarding is to increase the attention rate of your workers while heightening productivity and employee engagement. Organizations should treat this as a repeatable, ongoing process—for HR teams and the hires that come onboard.
By focusing on the broader implications of this process that acclimates new recruits with company culture, onboarding is an invaluable means of helping newcomers adapt to their roles to truly benefit the enterprise.