Ideal employee onboarding process. Expert Tips
📌 Onboarding and integrating new employees is one of the most important areas that HR leaders in any company should pay attention to.
Just look at the statistics to understand the power of effective adaptation for organizations and leaders:
Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. (Glassdoor)
Best-in-class companies are 53% more likely than others to undertake pre-boarding, by starting the employee onboarding process before a new hire’s first day. (Enboarder)
People who had a negative new hire onboarding experience are twice as likely to seek a different opportunity in the immediate future. (Digitate)
Just remember yourself on the first day of any new job. Even when it's a great company that you want to get into, the early days can always be considered a "survival game".
True, as fun as the process is, new hires often experience moments of discomfort. And the task of HR is to minimize discomfort as much as possible.
We offer you to look at these significant processes through the expert opinions of our guests, HR specialists from different companies around the world.
Petra EhrlicherPartner, Finding Heads International GmbH
For over 30 years Petra has worked in various HR positions with professional experience in retail, industry, government service, and pharmaceuticals. She has experience in L&D, recruitment, strategy, and HR transformation, as General HR Officer, Leader, and HR Director and self-employed as Headhunter and Coach.
Currently, as the global owner of group opportunities for employer branding and the leading employer brand in Switzerland, Petra is responsible for the entire candidate and employee journey both domestically and internationally with a team of 14 EB specialists from an international innovative service provider.
Petra: For me, onboarding on the candidate journey is one of the most important touchpoints, as the relationship with the employer is still very fragile, especially in the initial sequence.
From the very first moment, we build trust through information and basics such as company history, assignment of a buddy, as well as a whole week of personal cultural and professional onboarding, both digitally and in person with event sessions and also getting-togethers.
Informal topics such as dress code, corporate language, do's and dont's and most important stakeholders are also very important, as new colleagues always feel insecure here in the first few days.
A strong outside-in view must always be taken into account, i.e. not "this is the way it is with us" but "the new colleague needs this information in this quality and quantity", whereby overloading is to be avoided at all costs.
The transition from the outside to the inside must be sensitive and people-centered, and not put the needs of the company in the foreground.
Onboarding is a long-term process with many touchpoints and the more emphatically one proceeds here, the greater the success in terms of performance, motivation and long-term loyalty.
One more thing is very essential to me personally: the new colleagues are loaded with so much new information in the first days that proactivity with regard to excellent onboarding must come from the company and not be expected to ask the right questions to the right person at the right time from the Newbies.
Because how should that be possible? Here, the responsibility clearly lies with the company, because a question and answer- ping- pong must be prevented at all costs. No one can deliver perfect performance in a new company and a new working environment from day one, but requires time and support.
Companies invest a lot of money and resources in recruiting, and often too little attention is paid to the first few days of work during onboarding. Because this is also where image and reputation take place.
People always ask you in your personal environment: "well, how was the first time in the new job?" and we all want the answer: "great, I'm already looking forward to tomorrow" - that is what an excellent onboarding needs to be.
AO: Petra, tell us about your vision or personal experience.
I had my best onboarding experience in a smaller company where I was invited to lunch before my first day of work to meet my closest colleagues. I was also asked to write my own introduction and was given a tour and introduction by the CEO. Then the CFO took half a day to tell me about the company's philosophy, business goals, history and most important cornerstones.
What impressed me most was that I was given computer access to selected subject areas before starting work, so that I could get used to it and look at some topics. That shows great trust.
The entire onboarding then took almost a year, self-directed, I had a topic plan that had already been filled out with contact persons and areas for the first few weeks and which I had to work through. After that, only the topics that I had to design myself were inserted. Even when visiting customers, I was included and taken along. A great experience.
Sophia DusiHR at advalyze GmbH
While abroad during her undergraduate studies, Sophia developed a passion for HR.Since she has been working in the field of personnel management, every day she tries to make her colleagues feel better in the company.
Sophia: Our Onboarding already starts before the start of the contract, actually with the signature of the contract itself.
We want the new employee to get the feeling that we are really looking forward to their start.
We already set up all accounts and IT beforehand, send a welcome present (as a booklet) and order a team hoodie. We are always available for questions and even invite people to team events that take place in the meantime.
We also have a buddy program in place. The buddy is responsible for the social and team integration and is supposed to last even beyond the onboarding process.
During the first week, the new employee gets to meet all team members in small groups in a virtuell get to know, is introduced to tools, structures and tasks and gets to work already within the first week.
After 4 week, we meet again for an onboarding feedback to see what went well and ask for suggestions to improve the onboarding.
In an ideal world, I would like to welcome everyone again in the office, currently we are still mostly remote. Before corona, the CEOs were taking the time to go out for lunch with the new joiner/s in the first week.
Actually, other than that, I think that our onboarding process is already quite good and works really well.
Nilima GandhiHR and Recruitment Manager at Synfioo GmBH
Nilima has about 10 years of experience in the gamut of HR and recruiting in various cities in the world. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in Leadership Management. Nilima brings the best of the academic and corporate world together.
Nilima: 2021 has been a special year for Synfioo. From an onboarding perspective, we saw a 70% hike in our new joiners compared to the last year. This was a perfect opportunity for me to review our internal processes and fine-tune them.
Considering remote hiring, one of the most important processes that needed attention was Onboarding!! Corona pandemic forced us to operate from home but on the other hand, it allowed us to widen our geographical boundary and hire people from across the world operating from several locations and time zones.
Now the next task was to onboard these new hires and assimilate them into the teams. Mostly virtually!!
For sure, we knew that we wanted it to be a two-way experience for both us and our new joiners in getting to know them and helping them to get to know us effectively.
In general, for most HR professionals one crucial challenge here is to bring all the supervisors, hiring managers, teams on the same page.
As many a time, the focus is different for different levels, mainly not on settling in but on getting the new hires to start contributing.
I recently read an article by Sonja Gittens-Ottley, where she says
“An inclusive onboarding experience is like adding someone to your game of musical chairs: You can’t add someone new without stopping the music and adding a chair. Creating a meaningful experience means slowing down, making adjustments, and including your new hire.”
I felt it was apt to explain inclusion in our teams, where we believe in taking time, planning, fine-tuning, giving time, and making the new hire part of us.
Keeping our vision in the center, we revamped our onboarding process matching the current need and speed but also making sure to create a momentous, memorable, motivating, and meaningful experience for all our new joiners.
We now follow a standardized onboarding process across functions and the crux of it is jotted below. It is inclusive but not limited to the pointers mentioned.
We have devised a department-wise onboarding plan which works as a bible for all our new joiners.
It covers answers to all the potential questions a new joiner may have, starting from strategic level goals, vision, organizational plan to departmental POC’s details, links related to various information, key performance indicator to the exact itinerary for the first three months with the clear expectation from the new joiners at the end of each month.
The itinerary also includes inter-team introduction calls and coffee meetings with the co-founders.
We follow a two-layered buddy system. Here we assign a “Mentor” (from the same team), whose role is to assist the new hire in understanding the daily tasks, decoding the strategic level decision, client expectations, or similar topics. To cushion this, we assign a “Buddy” (must be from another department), who is their first friend in the new environment.
They regularly have coffee/beer chats to discuss any and everything happening in new hires’ journey.
We send out the most personalized introductory email for every new joiner. We do not try to be formal here. Our focus of the introduction email is to get to know the person candidly.
There is a lot of preparation behind each intro email from finding basic information about the new hire’s profile and experience to getting to know the background and fun facts about them makes it more special. At Synfioo, we speak the language of memes :)
We are all meme lovers, and most of us are also creative meme generators. It may sound funny, but seriously we do have a dedicated channel for showcasing our talent, sharing, and laughing together. The new joiner can find them from our onboarding presentation to introduction emails. In no time, he/she learns to speak our language and starts using the latest trend in their company presentation.
It is simply a fun “Synfioo way” to decode complex things and add a personal touch to the journey.
In our supply chain and logistics industry, timing is the key. One can find that cascaded down in all our processes. In onboarding, it not only holds true for sharing the information, processes, introduction to different teams, and vision but also to start expecting new joiners to contribute. Having patience and timing it correct brings a win-win situation for both us and the new hire.
For each of our new joiners, first six months is an opportunity to lay up the strong foundation upon which a long-term career can be built.
Feedback plays another pivotal role in new hires’ journey. We have a dedicated time allotted for 1:1 feedback between the supervisor and new hire in the time interval of 30, 90, and 180 days.
It is for sure not limited to only these times. It is a two-way process where we also listen to the concerns of the new hire. This has been particularly effective in increasing the successful completion of the probation period for new hires, ultimately meeting organizational goals.
📌 By the way, at AcademyOcean we also have an internal meme generator program. Each employee can create a meme about his colleague. We even vote for the best meme of the month :)
Alyssa Alillana Director of Human Resources, Privato Hotel Group
Alyssa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology major in Research and Measurements and spent her early working years in the Retail and Food & Beverage industry. She became part of the pre-opening team of Privato Hotel until she was promoted as the Head of Human Resources at the age of 24.
Alyssa is now appointed with the role of Director of Human Resources, working for the 3 properties of the Privato Hotel Group. Passion and dedication feeds her motivation to keep going.
Alyssa: In a world where digitalization is very essential and innovation in Human Resources is highly evolving, adding a personal touch should remain constant in the onboarding process.
Automation is a key to free up more time to invest on the other strategies and engagement.
An ideal thing would be creating a standard but set an individualized approach and transformative experience that enables new hires to be excited to be on the loop and look forward to more interaction.
There's nothing more powerful than to be aware of their feedback as well in order for the HR specialists to gain an insight on what works best and what becomes the highlight of the culture of the team.
While complexity shall be avoided and simplicity in every onboarding procedure must have guided instructions, try to administer a bit of curiosity to initiate a drive to learn.
Lastly, don't forget to include a gist of information about the company's direction to inspire and give them an idea on where the new employee could have a perspective and grasp on it.
With our current practice, we have an employee site that serves as a one-stop area for all the things that a new employee might need for him/her to be equipped on the start date.
38% of companies have an online onboarding platform, and larger companies are more likely to utilize technology solutions. (HCI)
All forms were digital and directed to our drives and database already, it's so easy to use and very accessible. There is also a designated person in charge to welcome the new hire, show around the vicinity and conduct the orientation. Personal notes are also part of our welcome kit. I also see to it that I could approach them and give feedback on how their experience was during the onboarding process.
Thanks to our experts for sharing valuable information and thoughts with us!
So let's put all the tips together and create a Top Onboarding List together.
The most important tips to a successful onboarding process:
🔹 Prepare everything in advance: work equipment, accounts, etc.
🔹 Build trust with company information (history and cultures, dress code, corporate language)
🔹 It is very cool if it is customary in your company to give a welcome kit :)
🔹 Assign a buddy to help newbie understand daily tasks
🔹 Schedule a training process (automate it with LMS)
🔹 Distribute the load correctly (don't give too much information on the 1st day)
🔹 Guide the newbie through all internal processes (especially those that he will face in his position)
🔹 The adaptation process can last from 1 to 3 months. Not less.
🔹 Feedback is very important. Ask the newbie to rate their adaptation and suggest improvements.
So, you have everything you need to make your employees feel welcome and ready to start a new job.
AcademyOcean will gladly help your company automate employee onboarding. Do you want to know how? Talk to our expert 😉