Is your company ready to welcome new employees? Does your company have a well-rehearsed onboarding phase? Do your onboarding practices assist both your organization and your new employees? If not, read on to learn some of the best practices for successful onboarding for new employees. 

Begin early. 

Traditionally, onboarding would initiate once an employee clocked in for the first time. Today, you can enhance your new employee’s first day by beginning the onboard process as soon as they’ve agreed to take the job. Without being overwhelming, giving further information about the company, policies, and more can ease your new employee into their new job. Here’s how: 

  • Have HR send out a welcome email about company policies and procedures.
  • Ensure that the employee’s new manager is welcoming and has met them either virtually or in person before they begin. 
  • Set up an integration portal so the employee can begin filling out any necessary forms before their first day. 
  • Design a well-managed integration plan that offers new hires the opportunity to become established and confident in their role. 

The first day

Ensure that the first day for your employee is welcoming and interactive. Have your new employee feel involved with their team, and don’t overwhelm them with lists of duties. Show them where to go, where the essential rooms are, and an overview of necessary information on the computer like their log-in, company chats, and any other details that are imperative to your business. 

At lunch, have an experienced employee or two take them out to lunch. Introduce them to other key employees they’ll interact with in their job, especially including those that aren’t on their team. Be welcoming but not overwhelming, which is especially important to individuals who are inexperienced or new to the workforce. 

The next two years

That’s right, two years. While many companies insist on a two week training period, it’s actually better to give your employees two years for onboarding. You want your employees to be loyal to your company, well-trained, and efficient. 

The strength in a long onboarding process is that each employee, whether they realize it or not, arrives in your company brimming with purpose and ideas. A long onboarding process improves their performance and morale, thus allowing each new hire the opportunity to grow and develop their ideas better, becoming an integral part of your company. 

Other companies that promote a lengthy onboarding process include L’Oreal and Zappos. For Zappos in particular, a five week onboarding gives the company and new hires time to ensure they’re a good fit for each other. This relaxed atmosphere is beneficial to both employers and employees, and allows new hires a sense of loyalty to the company that they may not gain otherwise.  

Like Zappos, Netflix also focuses on a reliable onboarding process that encourages people to form great teams which will benefit the company. Additionally, Netflix also encourages new hires to begin right away with large projects that they’re interested in, unlike other companies that will offer new employees a simple job that may or may not be in their interests. Additionally, Netflix offers each new employee a mentor who will support them throughout their time with the company. Each of these are small changes that are actually quite effective in onboarding new employees. 

The downside to short onboarding process 

The usual short onboarding processes can have many downfalls: 

  • Poor performance due to shortened training 
  • Poor morale due to lack of experience 
  • Often shorter time with the company due to lack of loyalty and training 
  • Each lost employee represents a substantial loss of time and financial input 

How do you know if it works? 

Your company may not be the same size as the larger companies that utilize a lengthy onboarding process, and the time involved may seem a bit extreme at first, but there are ways to improve your onboarding right now. Here’s how: 

  • Ask for input. From old and new employees, ask for their input and gather feedback for how they think the onboarding process could be improved. 
  • Offer a redo. If a new employee is struggling or just feels uncertain, offer them the opportunity to redo their onboarding. It may be just the thing to give them some added confidence and inspiration. 
  • Be creative. Your company may not need two years to onboard each new employee, but you may decide that 18 months is perfect. Work creatively and experiment to determine what is best for everyone involved. 

Following these tips to improve and redesign your onboarding program can lead to great things with your great employees. A successful onboarding process vitally improves the culture of your workplace, which in turn improves the entire business. 

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