Onboarding experience when starting work at a new company is always exciting, but it’s also a bit challenging. There are new people to meet, different processes to learn, and a new environment to get used to.
Let’s face it, new beginnings are always, more or less, hard.
That’s why the best companies have established employee branding strategies and steps to slowly introduce people to their new workplace and ultimately deliver a smooth and gradual onboarding experience.
In case you’re not familiar with the process of introducing new employees to your organization, or you’re not sure how to do it properly, you needn’t worry.
You’ve found the right place to come. We will teach you and go through the best onboarding experience practices together.
For starters, we need to establish a definition.
What Is Employee Onboarding Experience?
The process of introducing new employees to a company is referred to as the onboarding experience. You see, starting at a new place always goes hand by hand with doubt, uncertainty, and lots of questions, and this is where good onboarding can help.
People need time to get used to their new environment and colleagues. The main objective of onboarding is to allow employees to settle in and get comfortable with their surroundings.
In fact, many of you probably already have some kind of onboarding process in place, but is it the best one possible? Furthermore, you might be eager to know how to improve the experience and make new people feel at home from the start.
Shall we proceed to review some practical steps then?
11 Ways to Develop an Excellent Onboarding Experience
Now it’s time to elaborate on each step.
1. Preliminary Introduction
The best employee onboarding experiences start before the employee’s first day at work. Prior to day one, you can prepare a plan for the person’s first week, including the tasks they are expected to do. This can make them feel needed, busy and useful from day one.
Additionally, you should prepare all the necessary documentation and set up their workstation with all the required equipment.
What’s more, you can send a welcoming email or video to your new employee, and get the HR department to create a personnel file and other appropriate documents.
Also, it’s good to let your team know beforehand that a new member of the team will be joining them, explain what’s the role the person will have in the company, so you can manage their expectations.
Here are the steps to take for a preliminary introduction:
The purpose of these preliminary actions is to get your new employee excited about his/her new company even before the actual first work day.
Sometimes, weeks and even months pass from the job offer to the actual first day of the person, and this is when you should use the opportunity to introduce yourself and broach company information gradually.
2. Present the Company
If you’re serious about your business, you should always use the opportunity to present your organization to new people. The same goes for onboarding new employees.
Tell them about the history, achievements, people, vision, values and goals of the company. Inject them with your passion and enthusiasm. It’s the perfect time to share further information.
This could help them feel pride and zeal about their new workplace, and may also spark a story or two of their own. If it does, listen to what they have to say, as this could be a valuable connection at the very beginning of their work journey.
How do you present your company to a new employee?
3. Give Them Space and Time
It’s important to strike a balance between welcoming your employee and leaving them time and space to progress at their own pace.
Of course, it’s not always easy to reach a balanced approach. You might be unconsciously overwhelming the person with non-stop information, documents, and introductions.
On the other hand, you might bore or make the newcomer anxious, if you don’t prepare them enough.
Keep in mind that everyone processes information in different ways, and one of the best ways to make someone feel wanted and welcomed is to allow them to settle in, and digest the information about their new role within the company.
4. Welcome Gifts
Does your company have welcoming gifts for new hires? Everyone loves presents. They are exciting and could create an awesome and lasting first impression. Plus, it’s an opportunity to develop your branding.
The gifts don’t need to be something super expensive or fancy, instead, go for simplicity – less is more, after all. For example, a t-shirt with the company logo, a pen, a plant, a notebook, or a gift card are all good welcoming gifts.
Some companies have unique products in their welcome kits, like ice cream cone candy, tower fans, bamboo charging stations, or even custom socks, so feel free to use your creativity and imagination.
5. Get Paperwork Out of the Way
Don’t you just love it when you get dozens of papers to read and sign?
No need to answer, it was a rhetorical question. No one likes to fill out documents, but it’s a necessity for new employees.
You have to do what you have to do.
But what you can do to make the process more pleasant, you ask?
Just get it done and out of the way.
The sooner, the better, meaning it’s a good idea to schedule paperwork as one of the first points of the daily agenda. Make sure to leave enough time for the person to read the documents before signing – half an hour should suffice.
6. Add a Personal Touch
It’s always better to do things with personalization in mind, instead of relying on generic and template-based approaches.
Naturally, personalization is highly dependent on multiple factors, however some of the best onboarding experiences feature a meet and greet session with coffee and snacks in your office kitchen or fun room.
This immediately lifts the mood and gives the new hire a chance to connect with co-workers and introduce himself. What’s more, you could schedule lunch with them and generally let them know you’re excited to have them on board.
These are all good steps to create an awesome and memorable first day at work experience.
7. Engage With Learning Tools
Great onboarding programs involve utilizing a variety of learning tools: video, animation, webinars, games, etc.
There’s an abundance of specialized software you can take advantage of to diversify the onboarding process and to promote greater engagement.
Another helpful practice is to let your new employees shadow experienced workers to get a feeling of how the work is done.
As the saying goes: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.”
Depending on the position and job requirements, you may want to create training videos and online courses for new staff, and why not gamify the process with Kahoot.
8. Support the Process Throughout
The first day at work can be frustrating and long for a new employee, especially if you don’t provide them with enough support. A bad onboarding experience would be to meet them in the morning, guide them to their desk, and then leave them alone throughout the day.
The ideal case scenario would be for managers to take the time and ensure the new person has settled in, feels comfortable, and has enough tasks to do.
You can enhance the onboarding experience by celebrating the small victories. This will help the employee gain confidence, and feel they’re making an impact.
Readers Also Enjoy: 7 Tips for Better Communication in the Workplace – DevriX
9. Assign a Mentor
Another good onboarding practice is to assign a mentor to help out the new employees during their first weeks at the company.
It could be for shadowing, as we mentioned earlier, or simply a dedicated person whom the new employee can always turn to if they need anything.
Not only does this provide a practical introduction to workflows and procedures, it also creates a possibility for the newcomer to bond with his/her teammates.
Additionally, this ensures the person doesn’t worry about who and when they can contact, thus eliminating unnecessary anxiety.
Assigning a mentor also renders the entire onboarding process less stressful and formal. It’s good for both parties, since the mentor could feel appreciated and motivated to teach.
10. Involve Leaders and Managers
One of the most important people in the onboarding process of a new employee should be their manager. Encourage them to actively participate in the procedure – their support may very well turn out to be crucial to the workers’ future success and long term development.
On top of that, managers can share personal and team goals, and key performance metrics. They also have the opportunity to present their management style from early on and guide the employee towards professional development.
11. Gather Feedback
Onboarding is a process which is as important for the new employee, as it is for you, as an employer. Therefore, you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to ask for feedback and find ways to improve the process.
It’s best to offer multiple channels of communication, in order to obtain proper feedback. Have an option to receive feedback anonymously, in person, via email, etc. so that everyone is comfortable enough to share their thoughts and suggestions.
A good method is to have surveys each month, and set up an additional, more informal, meeting with the recruiter once every couple of months.
Delivering an onboarding experience that makes new employees feel welcome is not an easy task. You may require some time and proper feedback, in order to get things right.
Practice makes perfect, therefore don’t stop until you become a shining example of how the best onboarding experiences are conducted.
And now, you’re onboarding for this onboarding experience article has come to an end. What’s your take on everything? Is there anything you’d improve?
Do let us know in the comments below. Thanks!