Learn about the best way to onboard new employees and use a project template for it.

How to Onboard a New Employee the Right Way

Employee onboarding is one of the essential parts of the employment lifecycle. It is the process of integrating a new employee into a company and its culture, providing all the necessary information for him/her to become a productive member of the team. Onboarding spans from the minute the offer is made to the time the employee begins to be fully productive in a role.

 

Onboarding new hires should be a strategic process that might last even up to one year. HR and recruitment experts claim that employee's first few days and months experience is crucial to ensuring high retention.

Why is it essential?

First impressions matter – 28% of employees leave their job within the first three months of starting due to unsuccessful onboarding process and adaptation period. A solid onboarding process has a positive effect on the satisfaction, engagement, and performance of new employees. It leads to a faster integration of new employees. It has a positive impact on employer image as well – new employees will share their positive or negative impressions of the company within their direct network.

For managers, the gains of the proper employee onboarding process include:

Better job performance;


More significant commitment to the organization;


Reduced stress;


Higher job satisfaction;


Better retention (and associated cost savings).

Apart from the general information about the company, mandatory compliance training should include items like health and safety training and fire safety awareness. General company processes and procedures, business practices are considered essential to explain. They are often presented in an online reading form. Other onboarding focus areas are the technology and tools necessary for job duties.

The three crucial elements of successful onboarding

There is no one-size-fits-all process for successful onboarding. Onboarding programs may vary by organization, depending on size and culture. However, there are three main elements to be outlined, that are shared amongst the most successful onboarding processes:

Operational: 

Make sure that new employees have the right materials and knowledge (such as clarity and business jargon) to do their job well.

Social: 

Make new employees feel 
welcome, build, and promote 
valuable relationships with 
colleagues and managers, 
and feel part of the organization.

Strategic:

Ensure that newcomers know the organization (structure, vision, mission, goals, key developments, culture) and identify with it.

Getting started with the onboarding process

Some organizations prefer a more structured and systematic approach to new employee onboarding (learning platforms, videos, presentations). In contrast, others conduct this process on the spot so that employees struggle to figure out what is expected of them.

 

Defining your own onboarding process, it is highly recommended to prepare all the activities in advance. Think of the process as a whole – what should it be like?

You might find the following questions helpful:

When will the onboarding start and how long will it last?
What impression do you want to make on a new employee at the end of his/her first day?
What do new employees have to know about the culture and environment?
What role will be played by HR and the direct manager, co-workers?
What kind of goals do you want to set for new employees?
How will you gather feedback on the program and measure its success?

Once these questions are answered, HR professionals and upper management can devise a plan of action to help new employees adapt to company policies and workflow quickly. 

Before the first day

Hiring teams should be ready for the employee's first working day. The first part of the onboarding process is called transactional onboarding, and it is focused on completing all the necessary forms and documents, e.g., insurance forms, non-disclosure agreements. At this step, the orientation schedule should be ready. It is essential to coordinate with key stakeholders (co-workers and managers) and notify them of the new hire's start date.

The main tasks that have to be done before the first working day could be:

(workstation, email access) 

(furniture, keys, access card, etc.)

First day

It is crucial to keep in mind that the first day is a massive challenge for any employee, even a more seasoned one. There is a lot of new information, papers to sign, new rules, people and an unknown environment. The main task for the HR team and direct managers is to try to decrease the employee's anxiety level. 

There are a few key things that can be done to ensure the new hire's success:

Introduce the employee to the team


Take on the tour around the office


Assign training material

Induct into company culture


Assign a mentor

Take out to lunch

First week

When the employee has settled in, got to know the team, and feels comfortable in the workplace, the first task/project should be assigned to him/her. The manager has to explain the expectations for the following week, month, and the projects. It is important to share at least a high-level plan for the first quarter/year, the information on upcoming projects, and predicted workflow. Creating a friendly environment, the team, the manager, and the mentor should be prepared to answer the employee's questions and make sure that he/she feels comfortable.

First month

During the first month, it is highly recommended for HR to have a first-month check-in to make sure that employee feels safe, comfortable, happy, and engaged. It is important to make sure all the paperwork is done. For a manager, it is an excellent time to provide constructive feedback, emphasize employee's strengths and point out weaknesses (if any). The manager can explain long-term goals and provide reading material for personal growth. It is always appreciated when a manager encourages social interaction with the team during this time, e.g., organizes informal meetings/events.

 

If there are trainings and testing sessions planned for the position, then the first month is a suitable time to complete them. Make sure that such sessions are scheduled in advance, so that the employee is prepared.

Probation period

Probation might be defined as a trial period, when the new employee is exempt from some contractual obligations. Usually, this period lasts up to three or six months, which is stated in the employment agreement. Probation periods most commonly end with a review meeting between a new employee and his/her manager. At such meeting, the manager will assess the new employee's work performance and decide whether he/she will continue the work in a team, or not. If the decision is favorable, then it is passed towards to HR department, and the new employee continues duties as a regular company employee. 

Probation period

Probation might be defined as a trial period, when the new employee is exempt from some contractual obligations. Usually, this period lasts up to three or six months, which is stated in the employment agreement. Probation periods most commonly end with a review meeting between a new employee and his/her manager. At such meeting, the manager will assess the new employee's work performance and decide whether he/she will continue the work in a team, or not. If the decision is favorable, then it is passed towards to HR department, and the new employee continues duties as a regular company employee. 

In most companies, the end of the probation period equals the end of the onboarding procedure. In general, by the end of the probation period, an employee is ready to work independently and perform his/her primary job responsibilities.

Measure the success of your onboarding process

Know your strong and weak sides and eliminate the mistakes in the beginning. Ask for feedback on your onboarding process so that you can improve the process for future hires. An onboarding survey helps organizations to test the effectiveness of their onboarding processes. It measures the onboarding success by monitoring throughout 10-25 days of the employment start date. This way, early signals can be acted upon during the onboarding process.

 

Keep in mind that a standardized and automated onboarding process leaves more time for understanding the organizational values, exploring the workplace, and making new friends, instead of burying it under paperwork. Select a suitable tool to manage your onboarding process. A good onboarding tool should give new employees the motivation to explore the new organizational territory without a hint of hesitation.

If you want to design a smooth and enjoyable
new employee onboarding process –

try our Employee onboarding template.

It provides a good example of your process organization, which you can use as a basis for your project.

How to use this template?

Create a new project and choose the Employee onboarding template to start. All Infolio templates include some demo content. Feel free to remove it once you've familiarized yourself with the concept.

 

Create the task for each new employee and group them by their working departments, e.g., "Development", "Sales", "Management". Don't hesitate to remove the example and add your lists with just a few clicks.

Group tasks by Status to track the onboarding activity checklist (e.g., "Open", "Before day 1", "Day 1", "Week 1", "Month 1", "Probation passed"). In this view, you can easily add new statuses to your workflow or rearrange existing ones. Update the status of any task by dragging and dropping it to the corresponding column.

Switch to the Table view, to add any additional information and see it at a glance. Mark, when the hardware is issued, the security training has been passed, the documents signed, and many more. Use custom fields to include and data specific to your organization/company.

To see how responsibilities are distributed within your recruitment team, group the project by Assignee. In this view, you can reassign tasks quickly by dragging and dropping them between columns.

If you need any further help or if you have suggestions about how to improve

this template, don't hesitate to let us know!

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