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Employee onboarding

12 things to keep in mind when building an employee onboarding plan

As per G2, new hires with a good employee onboarding experience are bound to be 18 times more efficient and productive than the other employees.

Honestly, this statistic alone could be reason enough to invest your time and resources in a good employee onboarding plan.

Creating an effective employee onboarding system is the prerequisite to having efficient employees on board. While the processes may differ from organization to organization, the essentials remain the same.

Read on to know the 12 pointers that can help you build and execute an effective onboarding plan.

Be strategic with your talent acquisition

The success of any procedure or plan depends on how advanced your planning has been. In the case of employee onboarding, it starts from the day you start hiring. You have to be strategic and careful in picking the future employees of the company. This starts with a careful job analysis and an even more careful candidate analysis.

The 21st century hiring and onboarding does not only involve professional care, it also involves personal concern. A good employee onboarding plan starts with a caring interaction and clear lines of subsequent communication. It is important to create an experience and not just hire the employee. That is only possible if you are careful and caring enough throughout your hiring process to hire the right candidate, and then use the same empathetic and concerned attitude to help them adjust in the organization, as a part of your employee onboarding plan.

Start the process before day one

When we say advanced planning is important, we mean it. You have been strategic with your hiring process in order to ease your onboarding. Now, you have to be strategic with the actual employee onboarding plan as well.

Start the preparations a day in advance rather than the joining day itself. Quick and advanced organization would help you answer the new hires’ first-day queries better and would also make the new hires feel a lot more comfortable with the procedures and forms.

Ensure that the communication is concise and includes a precise representation of the company culture. This will ensure that no one’s time is wasted, neither of the new employee nor of the HR manager involved. The formalities can be done away with quickly and the employee can start with the work.

Make your new hires feel like they belong

A new job, a new environment, and new people can make people feel overwhelmed and intimidated. It is the organization and the HR’s responsibility to ensure the employee onboarding plan is constructed in a personalized and comforting manner so that the new hire feels at home.

The key is to make the employees feel welcomed within the organization. Exercises and activities that ensure constant interaction with the people are a good way to do it. Give them access to the right set of social networks and intranet.

Also, ensure that you invest in tools that are personal and multicultural in their communication, in sync with today’s multigenerational and multicultural workforce. A tool that does not speak the language an employee is comfortable with might not be the right one to use.

Focus on the retention and not just initiation

Companies abhor attrition costs. These are unnecessary and can be avoided if the organizations focus on enhancing employee experience and create a good employee onboarding plan.

Statistics suggest that 69% of the employees are likely to stay with the company if their onboarding process has been a good one. A good employee onboarding plan makes sure that your attrition rate goes down and your retention rate goes up. This establishes a good reputation in the job market as well, attracting the right kind of candidates for future recruitment needs.

Make sure that you are well-versed with the fine lines that differentiate onboarding and orientation and that employee training should touch on all the key points, including but not limited to company structure and policies, department and team introductions, facility tours, etc.

Create a coherent checklist

An employee onboarding checklist can be handier than you think. This is the most basic step of conducting any plan as it provides a clear roadmap of how to effectively onboard an employee.

While the HR should create a checklist for themselves, there should also be multiple ones created for all the parties involved — from the new hire themselves to the buddy, the manager, and more. These checklists should be accompanied by the relevant sources and attachments to help in the smooth flow of processes and elevate the employee’s learning curve. 

The best thing about using an onboarding software is the fact that you can actually automate the creating, sending, and keeping track of this checklist.

Acknowledge and appreciate at every stage

The first few months of a new employee are extremely crucial. As they learn and perform various tasks that their job demands them to, it is important to show them appreciation and acknowledge their efforts. This boosts their confidence and enhances their experience.

This should start with the introductions, where they should be introduced to the top levels of management and the relevant leadership at the start of the onboarding process. The employees should also have a clean workplace that is stocked with the relevant hardware and software. This saves time and makes the employee feel welcomed and important. As the employee then starts to work with a positive experience in mind, this appreciation should be taken forward in the form of acknowledgement.

Cover the basics and get them out of the way

While creating the employee checklist, check that all the basics are covered. Basics include the right hardware, access to the relevant software, a clean desk that is equipped with the right company tools, such as access cards and telephones.

The goal is not just to make the employee feel welcomed, but also make their first day easy, without them having to ask many questions. If the basics are covered without any glitch, the new hire can move on to bigger and better questions and can also ease into the actual work procedures without having to fret much about the joining formalities.

Now there’s also a lot of paperwork that is typically involved during the onboarding process. To execute things smoothly, invest in an employee document management system. It will automatically update new documents to the right employee file whenever you onboard a new hire, and also help collect new documents that may be required for updated compliances or regulations.

Create a balance during onboarding

The question is: how do you strike a balance between creating a casual and welcoming environment for the employee and yet organizing a proper onboarding plan, complete with all the forms and formalities? The two are not mutually exclusive and can exist together.

The best way to do it would be by dividing your employee onboarding plan into parts. The communication and interaction should be warm and welcoming, while the procedure should have a structure to it. This will help give a system to the entire process, helping you figure out the kind of attitude you need to adopt while conducting the relevant employee onboarding practices.

If you’re not sure about how new hires feel during onboarding and whether or not your process offers that balance, you can conduct an employee engagement survey as well. This will help you identify opportunities to smoothen the onboarding for new hires in a more strategic manner.

Fill the empty roles or do away with them

Reason being, unfilled roles foster negativity within the organization. You do not need any statistics to prove this. It’s common sense. If you are unable to fill a certain position, this negatively affects the morale of the existing employees, at the same time creating a negative reputation in the job market that would hamper further recruitments.

It is not just about one department. This creates a ripple effect. Further, the absence of an employee in one key role impacts the other people in the department as the workload is shared by them.

In such a situation, it becomes extremely important to hire correctly and then retain and train them with the help of an effective employee onboarding plan so that the new hire joins quickly and adjusts and adapts swiftly to move on to their job responsibilities.

Create an inclusive onboarding plan

Remember, onboarding is not the sole responsibility of the HR manager, hiring is. While the HR can create an effective employee onboarding plan, all the relevant departments and their respective managers are required to make it successful.

It is important for the managers and teammates of the new hires to be an equal part of the whole onboarding plan. Peer connections are important in defining initial impressions. A candidate interacts the most with the HR before the hiring.

After the hiring, it’s the manager and the team with whom the interaction happens. The employee onboarding plan should be designed in a way it extracts maximum benefit out of this interaction. All hands on deck!

Create a two-way communication channel

Make sure you create a good two-way communication channel. While acknowledgement and appreciation is important to make a new hire feel welcomed, it is equally important to convey constructive feedback as well. At the same time, the new hires should feel comfortable enough to disagree and convey their own concerns, if the need be.

The two-way communication should be so comfortable and easy-flowing that it should help enhance the procedures and achieve the goals of the organization, without any negative impact on the onboarding process. All of this requires the right kind of strategies and tactics on the part of the HR while devising an employee onboarding plan.

Understand the psychology

Each new hire is different. Analyze their psychology and before inducting them into work and procedures, make sure you understand them well as a person. Know what their respective touchpoints as an individual are — what motivates them, what gets them down, what triggers their work, etc.

The best way to understand all of this is by conducting periodical surveys. Such surveys should comprise intelligent questions that should be created after careful analysis of each employee’s data. The insights gained through these surveys can help ensure your employee onboarding evolves and improves constantly.

Definitely consider automating your employee onboarding plan

automate your employee onboarding

From planning to execution and monitoring, employee onboarding is a cumbersome process. HRs have been doing it manually for a long time, but with the advent of digitization, it is a wise move to automate the process.

Employee onboarding tools are equipped with HR chatbots that use conversational tones in multiple languages to make the new employees feel at ease. Further, the employee data is stored and collected in a manner that it is easily accessible. This data is also used to create statistics and analytics that help make the process better.

Automating, thus, leaves the HRs with more time to spend on the more crucial process of creating and devising plans and procedures, and then monitoring them, rather than executing them step by step. 

From surveys to satisfied execution, it’s time to add automation to employee onboarding. In case you are wondering where to look, here’s a good starting point.

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