10 Elements of an Effective Employee Onboarding Program
Selecting the right candidate for the job is nothing without a proper employee onboarding program.
We know well that the success of any recruitment strategy depends on a rigorous selection process. But it doesn’t stop there. Employee Onboarding, the last step of the recruitment process, is fundamental to guarantee this success and avoid any disillusion post hire.
To roll out an effective employee onboarding program, your organisation will need to institutionalise a procedure of integration of its new hires. This HR process will rely essentially on a complete availability and engagement of its facilitators: HR, managers and employees.
Therefore, employee onboarding can be considered a matter of procedure, but above all, a matter of behaviour. Developing your employee onboarding program will start by a thorough analysis of the work environment and will adapt in function of the nature of the work of the new hire (i.e. full-time vs. casual, manager vs. non manager, etc.).
This analysis will cover five main areas of the work environment which a new hire needs to assimilate and understand:
What to include in an employee onboarding program?
1. Workplace Culture & Business Background
Every organisation will be the result of a history that has shaped its personality, its language, its customs and especially its values. Any new employee will need to know, understand and integrate these concepts to avoid being excluded from the day to day life of an organisation.
2. Business Mission, Objectives & Projects Underway
Where are we going? Why do we want to get there? How do we do it? These are all important questions any new hire would be wondering about, and to which you need to bring an appropriate response. By providing answers to these questions, you will develop his or her involvement and commitment to the business.
The third area to be covered is all about people. Your new recruit will have to evolve in a new social sphere, be part of a new team, integrate a new hierarchy, and know how to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. He or she will need to interact with these people (most probably unknown until now!) on a daily basis. Your role is to help new employees adapt best to the diversity (i.e. clients, colleagues, managers, etc.) of people they will encounter so that they become recognised and integrate seamlessly within the organisation.
4. Workspace & Equipment
Creating an element of familiarity, identifying a new territory and locating the tools that are required to perform one’s job are steps that your new hire shouldn’t have to do alone. Helping your new hire navigate the workplace constitutes an essential step that should be planned prior to their first day.
5. Internal Policies & Documents
The last area that should be covered by your onboarding program will regard the internal policies of your organisation. From the workplace safety rules to the quality assessment process, every rule should be known and abided by employees as soon as they step into their new role. Your organisation should provide easy and quick access to this information.
Below are the minimum elements that should be contained in your onboarding plan to cover the five points covered above:
Your Employee Onboarding Checklist
1. Time to say ‘Hi’!
Scheduling a real moment for your new hire to be personally welcomed is important. You can make it shorter or longer depending on the requirements of the role. This moment will allow the recruiter to get on with the new hire and switch on their project to work together post interview.
2. Appoint a Mentor
Sometimes a trainer but always a guide, a mentor will act as a facilitator of your new hire’s onboarding. This person will be in charge of handing over any necessary information that will help your new employee in their role. The mentor or tutor will also be able to provide an opinion once the new employee has completed his or her probation period. Whether the trial period ends by a firm hire or a termination, this person will play an important role by informing both parties of what’s expected during the probation period.
3. Handover Important Documents
Delivering any important document that your new employee will need to do their job is critical to their success. Project reports, meeting minutes, welcome guide, HR policies, company directory, etc. are as many documents a new hire should have access to. Generally, the best way to make sure a new hire gets what they need is to compile a reference checklist you will both be able to follow so that nothing gets forgotten.
4. Communicate consistently
Maintaining a good internal communication is of paramount importance. Making sure that the current staff knows about new employees constitute a factor of success. An intranet, a collaborative HRIS platform, staff meetings, e-mail communications or even simple display boards can be used to communicate internally about new recruits.
5. Organise a Site Visit
The traditional site tour is another important component of a successful onboarding program and should not be left out because of a lack of time. Depending on the size and structure of your organisation and the number of new hire you have to onboard, these visits might have to be scheduled. You may want to take advantage of these times to train new employees to OH&S for example.
6. Prepare a Personalised Onboarding roadmap
Writing and implementing a personalised onboarding roadmap is key to the operational success of your onbording program. This plan will be used as a blueprint to follow each step of the onboarding program accurately. It will also provide more objectivity when time comes to make a decision at the end of the probation period. The onboarding roadmap will be used by the new hire’s manager and will reference the job description used to organise the selection process.
The success of your recruitment strategy relies on the capacity of your organisation to implement a genuine and personalised employee onboarding program. Thanks to onboarding, the arrival of a new employee will be welcomed harmoniously respecting both the business requirements and the human dimension. The return on time invested in this operation will be paid back by an increased efficacy of your new hires, who will have the reassurance of knowing what’s expected from them while knowing how to deliver the appropriate response in return. A quality onboarding program will be the warrant of future job performance. And your new hire, confident in his role, and equipped with the recognition of his work environment, will be able to evolve in an autonomous and efficient way.
Want to go further? Download your Ultimate Guide to New Employee Onboarding: