5 Essential Elements to Create a Successful Employee Onboarding Experience
Onboarding is a critical yet overlooked step in the employee lifecycle. A successful onboarding process will make the new hire feel part of the team, provide further clarity around the role and responsibilities, and get them up to speed and performing fast.
Authority Magazine looked to prominent HR and business leaders about how they seek to create exemplary onboarding experiences. They had the pleasure of interviewing, Flex HR’s very own Director of Training & Senior HR Manager, Heather Summers.
The onboarding process is complex to say the least. It can start before a new hire officially starts or on their very first day in the office. For some companies the process is entirely done remotely. Heather explains how before she emails an offer letter to a candidate, she will call them to ensure their email address is correct. Introducing herself and letting them know that she will be their main contact during the onboarding process, is something that can get overlooked by others, but is such an easy first step. This communication is so important to first building that relationship with the new employee.
Next Heather outlines the steps of the onboarding process, so the new employee knows what to expect. “Calling and speaking to the candidate offers a friendly, personal touch to their experience. At Flex HR, we mainly use the HRIS system, Netchex. An online onboarding process is very efficient and easy for the candidates to follow. The new hire can complete all necessary information such as taxes and direct deposit, to name a couple of things. On their first day with the company, it’s imperative that the new hire is immediately introduced to the team and welcomed to the organization.”
Onboarding Practices Have Evolved Over Time
Like most organizations, the onboarding process used to require a lot of paperwork and made the process complicated and impersonal. Although, that still may be the case at some companies. Heather used to joke years ago with candidates that “onboarding was like buying a house with all the paperwork that was involved. Since the onboarding process has evolved into a more streamlined electronic process available through an HRIS system, it is much faster and efficient than the paperwork, and thus much simpler for the employee and employer to complete and check for any errors.” On the first day of their job, they are welcomed with open arms to the company and introduced to their coworkers, which shows the new employee a peek into the amicable company culture and hopefully puts them more at ease right from the get-go. The new hire will then receive training and any tools they need to build confidence, so they are successful in their role with the company.
Heather shares a successful onboarding story if hers: There was a new hire that wasn’t very resourceful when it came to computers and web-based systems. I called the new hire and assisted them with each piece of the onboarding process, which took some time every step of the way, but I didn’t mind at all. I was able to successfully complete the onboarding process with them over the phone using the HRIS system. I also discussed the benefits the company offered. The new hire was very appreciative that I took the time to help them and couldn’t believe my friendliness and patience. I told them that I’m gladly here to help them and understand the onboarding process can be challenging.
As mentioned earlier, onboarding a new candidate is complicated and it’s easy to make mistakes. “Some common errors I have seen businesses make are not explaining the onboarding process and benefits to the new hire, not spending time with the new hire if they have questions, not following up with the new hire after they have completed the onboarding process and not training the new hire adequately,” Heather says. Some companies do not introduce the new hire to their team and the new hire could feel isolated and unwelcomed. Lack of training will frustrate the new employees, which may then result in them leaving the company.
Top Five Tips For a Successful Onboarding Process
Depending on who you ask, there are various steps in the onboarding process. And while there are tasks that need to be completed along the way, there are also certain aspects that can make the process a little more company-tailored for success. Heather summarizes her top tips below.
- Communication: let the new hire know the entire onboarding process so they have all of the information. Email the new hire instructions for each step so they have clear expectations and offer them to contact you with any questions. Provide training and orientation details they will receive for their position and their first day expectations. Share information regarding the company’s culture, office environment, and benefits will also get the new hire hyped about accepting the position. I don’t believe you can ever “over” communicate in the onboarding process as each onboarding process is different for companies.
- Personalization: Emailing the new hire regarding the steps of the onboarding process is fine. Even better, pick up the phone and call them beforehand to discuss the details of the onboarding process, which offers a great, friendly personal experience. Ways to make this process more personalized are by using their first name, making sure they received the offer letter, and tell them how to contact you anytime they have questions during the process. By doing this, the new hire is comfortable with the process, and they are able to build a successful, trusting working relationship with you.
- Kindness: The onboarding process is the second impression after the interview that the candidate receives about the company. We were all new hires at some point and know how it feels to be the “new kid on the block”. You can even tell them this process may seem overwhelming, but you are here to assist them every step of the way. By offering “white glove” service, they will feel the company truly cares about their decision to join the company.
- Excitement: Show your excitement to the new hire that they have made the decision to join your company. The new hire is eager to start their position and it’s important that they feel the same excitement from the company. You want to welcome them to the company, make them feel comfortable, show enthusiasm they are joining, and ensure the onboarding process go smoothly for them.
- Accuracy: It’s very important that a HR professional reviews information on all forms the new hire has completed or entered in the HRIS system for accuracy to guarantee all the information provided is correct and there is no missing required information. Important information to review for accuracy are tax withholding forms, direct deposit forms and I-9 forms, just to name a few. If tax information and direct deposit information are wrong, this could lead to huge payroll mistakes.
Onboarding Remote Hires vs. Those Who Will Work Onsite
The main difference in onboarding remote hires is they lack the ability to interact with their peers, managers, and HR in person. Most of the onboarding process with remote hires is done via email, telephone, and virtual meetings. But remote hires should not be treated differently from onsite hires. Their manager should schedule virtual meetings periodically. An initial virtual meeting with the new hire and their coworkers should be planned within the first few days of the remote new hire starting so they feel like they are part of a team, even though everyone cannot be onsite in the office. We recommend the remote hire be onsite, if possible, their first few days so they can receive in-person/onsite training which is more effective than remote training.
Measuring the Success of Your Onboarding Program
Phew, you made it through the onboarding process. Whether you took our advice or decided to outsource this HR function, now how do you know if the program was successful for the new hire? Heather admits “I measure the success of my onboarding program by the happiness of the new hire after their onboarding experience. It is fulfilling when the new hire expresses their thankfulness to me regarding their onboarding experience. I always keep in contact with the new hire to make sure they are enjoying their new role and offer to contact me anytime they have questions.” This frequent interaction with the new employee shows loyalty and appreciation for new staff. Hopefully, in turn, this new hire is excited to work for a caring company and feels exceptionally prepared for their new role. Further down the line this process could aid in employee retention practices.
Follow us on social media here:
Contact Flex HR today to ensure your Human Resources are in the right hands.