Onboarding is the strategic process of giving new hires the insights + tools they need to be productive in a new team - while integrating her with the organisation + it’s culture. The process could last a day to a year. Researchers say that organisations who carefully onboard new hires, carefully inducting them into their culture - tend to have a higher retention rate.
Onboarding should ideally begin at hire - not on the first day.
Before the first day: reach out to new hires via email + maybe a phone call to show excitement with them joining the team. Highlight the activities they would be engaged in on their first day.
Before Day One: i. assemble their cross-functional onboarding team and introduce their point person or “buddy”; ii. make sure you and the new hire’s supervisor are aligned on role, goals, and responsibilities; iii. get all the legal forms and documents filled out; iv. prepare employee's workstation; v. give access to any tools, devices, doors, etc. they will need; vi. create accounts for them on any software they’ll need to do their job; vii. send any manifestos, handbooks, or articles you usually have new hires read; viii. prepare benefits package including a summary of FAQs; viii. provide a copy of the job description with responsibilities.
The first day: on the first day - focus your objectives on: i. setting expectations; ii Introducing objectives
You want new hires to have clear ideas on what their role entails + the duties, responsibilities + challenges that come alongside. New employees need to also know your company’s expectations + how these expectations tie into the overall mission + vision for the company. It is also critical to introduce them to their co-workers + build interactive activities throughout the onboarding process. Rapport is super essential to great team work - ask professional footballers.
To inspire currently employees to want to work with new colleagues - it’s critical to clearly define roles to ensure existing employees are not threatened, or worried about their roles / contributions at the company.
On Day One - Checklist: i. make sure your team knows they’re arriving and have the hiring manager ready to greet them; ii. formally welcome them to the team and make introductions; iii. take a tour of the office; Start their training material workflow; iv. have them scheduled to meet with management to revisit expectations; v. review company culture; vi. make sure they meet their point person, in person.
In Week One - Checklist: i. get them going on their first real work project; ii. go over expectations for the following month; iii. schedule at least one touch point to collect feedback and answer questions; iv. encourage them to communicate with their point person.
In Month One - Checklist: i. have several touch points with you, management, and their point person already planned; ii. explain long-term, high-level company goals so they are aligned on direction and culture; iii. provide reading material for personal growth; iv. set up a few small events to encourage them to socially interact with the team; v. ask for feedback on your onboarding checklist.
In The First Few Months - Checklist: after the first month - People Operations / HR should check in with new hires to ensure they are engaged. It’s also critical to begin reviewing + giving helpful feedback. Give new hires only the tools + information they need to produce good work in their role. Mentors +/or buddies would help train + coach new hires to be effective + productive; while giving insightful + detailed feedback.
After Three Months - Checklist: i. schedule an informal performance review; ii. review past and future assignments to ensure alignment; iii. review former performance goals and set new expectations; iv. give and ask for feedback again; v. check employee progress on training; vi. discuss end of probationary period and expectations afterward; vii. check in on how they’re feeling about company culture and how they fit into it.
The First Three to Six Months: 87% of employees are still not fully committed to their new companies within the first 6months. Being invested in the growth + development in your employees.Periodic detailed feedback + applause for growth should be given to help stimulate growth + development.
After Six Months - Checklist: i. conduct a six-month performance review; ii. review employee goals and progress so far; iii. set goals and objectives for the next six months; iv. check that employee has received all necessary training; open the door for honest feedback; v. make sure they still feel a strong cultural connection.
After The First Year: onboarded employees should now be transitioned to employee engagement + retention. In these 12months - your new hires should ideally have understood your company’s culture, accepted + adapted to it. They should be putting out productive work + engaged, comfortable + happy working alongside you + their colleagues.
After One Year - Checklist: i. conduct a yearly performance review; recognise their first year at the company and review how they met expectations; iii. discuss goals, projects, and plans for the upcoming year; iv. discuss compensation and raise policies; iv. ask for—and listen to—feedback on your onboarding checklist and company culture; v. congrats, you made it to the year-one milestone! Look forward to the next awesome year of working together.
Key takeaways: i. set clear expectations; ii. ask for feedback; iii. integrate culture at every opportunity.
References: i. SHRM: New Employee Onboarding Guide; ii. HelloSign: How to Build the Ultimate Onboarding Checklist.