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Design Your Company’s Onboarding Around These Best Practices

Posted by Paul Huffman on May 5, 2021

Once you complete the hard work of recruiting a great candidate, it’s time to onboard them. This is not the time to lose focus! How your company handles onboarding can have a major impact on morale, retention, and productivity.

Glassdoor recently found that high-quality onboarding can improve employee retention by a whopping 82%. But they also found that 88% of organizations don’t feel confident in their onboarding processes.

Is your company ready to set up a better onboarding procedure? Here are some tips recommended by HR experts.

Give the newbie a buddy

Their anxiety-provoking career search is over, but now your new hire has to deal with the challenge of integrating into a new company. Make it easier by assigning them a buddy or a mentor. A peer-level buddy can help your new employee find the bathroom and access their HR profile. A senior-level mentor can keep an eye on how the new employee is adjusting while being a resource for strategic questions and career nurturing.

This step can make a huge difference in the retention of top talent. For instance, one study found that “high-performing organizations are nearly two-and-a-half times more likely than lower-performing employers to assign a mentor or coach during the onboarding process.” Mentors and buddies can yield benefits long after the first 100 days, too. Onboarding is a long process and becomes interwoven with retention. When a new hire has a deep relationship with other employees from Day 1, they are more likely to raise difficult questions with their team rather than leaving the company to grow their careers elsewhere.

Make sure everyone else is on board, too

Sometimes a new hire comes on as a result of restructuring or growth. This can result in resentment or confusion from team members regarding who is responsible for what. Don’t let your new employee be the scapegoat for company anxiety. Instead, before they arrive, work with their new team to clarify titles and responsibilities.

If the new person is replacing someone, make sure all previous documentation is ready and available for them. It’s not very nice to have to wade through a previous employee’s mess on your first day. Avoid this by setting a company-wide expectation around documentation.

Automate everything

Nobody wants to drown in a pile of paperwork on their first day. Instead, get Human Resources to impress new hires with a seamless, digitized onboarding process. Your new employee should be able to breeze through essential forms in no time at all. If possible, get someone to set up their phone, desk, and computer before they arrive for their first day.

It’s also important to automate opportunities for feedback. Employees shouldn’t have to ask for meetings with their managers in the first few months. Schedule regular meetings for feedback during the first 100 days so that new hires can relax in anticipation of a weekly chance to ask questions and check in about their performance.

Dazzle them

Treat your new hire to lunch on their first day. Give them a welcome basket with branded goodies. Don’t set up any false expectations, of course, but it’s okay to give new hires a bit of a show. You’re grateful that they’ve chosen to grow their career with your company, and Day 1 is the time to show it.

Keep in mind that top companies dazzle new hires more than once in their onboarding processes. On Day 1, a branded coffee mug and team lunch can make an impact. But don’t forget about Day 15 or Day 30. Involving senior leadership is a great way to improve a new hire’s perception of the company. Not all executives can be available for face-to-face interactions with every new hire, but your company should consider asking all senior leadership to carve out a few minutes for new-hire duty.

It’s never too late to implement onboarding at your organization. In fact, even if you’re not planning for any new hires right now, you can still begin designing a great onboarding experience for future employees. By implementing the right mix of front-end charism and back-end preparation, you can create an onboarding process that will delight all your new hires right from Day 1.


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