When hiring a team, it’s important to select the perfect candidate for your business. However, it’s almost equally as important for that newly hired candidate to get a great first impression. Your onboarding process is what will make or break your connection with that employee. 

Your onboarding process is a big deal when it comes to employee satisfaction and retention. In fact, a recent survey found that 79% of managers think it should be a top priority to successfully assimilate new hires into the company culture. 

Furthermore, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a business for three years if they felt they had a great onboarding experience, according to another study

In this article we’ll cover how to onboard new employees with an easy and seamless process as well as how to take initial steps to form a productive and positive relationship with the new team member. 

Step 1: Establish a process 

Before hiring anyone, there should be a clear, concise onboarding process in place. Compile a written manual with actionable steps for a general approach to onboarding every employee, regardless of any potential unique handling an employee might require. 

Set up a checklist. The list should include not only administrative tasks such as setting up a company email address, but also follow-up plans such as adding check-in meetings for a week and month in advance. 

Here is an example of what your checklist may look like: 

  • Before first day
    • Prepare necessary documents
    • Approve employee paperwork
    • Lock down goals and projects of role with supervisor and provide detailed responsibilities to employee
    • Prepare employee workstation
    • Give access to necessary tools, i.e. online databases, etc. 
    • Create necessary accounts i.e. email address
    • Assign required reading, such as employee handbook and training manuals
    • Prepare benefits package 
  • First day
    • Welcome to the team 
    • Give tour of workplace
    • Assign training material 
    • Lay out expectations
    • Introduce to company culture
    • Assign mentor
    • Go to lunch 
  • First week 
    • Give first project or task 
    • Explain expectations for the month
    • Go over paperwork together 
  • First month
    • Set up check-in meetings 
    • Discuss long-term goals
    • Encourage social interaction among coworkers 
    • Review onboarding process over next 60 days 

Step 2: Make the employee feel welcome 

Your new employee should be welcomed by your entire team and treated as an essential and exciting edition, regardless of the role he or she is fulfilling. The most important part of making an employee feel welcome is to make them feel valued, comfortable, and included. Keep it light, keep it friendly, and remember that onboarding is all about human interaction.  

Prepare your new hire 

Before the first day, send the new hire a welcome letter with all of the necessary information to make them feel prepared to walk into the doors for the first time as an employee. Lay out the working hours, acceptable dress code, and schedule. 

Providing the details before the first day can help reduce first day jitters because they won’t be burdened with the nervousness of asking too many questions. 

You should also send benefit documents and forms in advance so the employee can review and complete any necessary steps before they start the job. This way you can reduce the amount of time taken up with paperwork on the first day. 

With more time cleared up, you can set up short meetings with anyone the new hire will be working with so they can get acquainted and learn more about the business and role. 

Assign a mentor

Designate a point person that helps guide the new hire through tasks and helps them acclimate to the workplace culture. This point person should make them feel comfortable at lunchtime, and be available to answer any questions the new hire may have as they familiarize themselves with their role within the company. 

Visually represent your team 

Put names to faces instead of simply providing an organizational chart with names printed on it. Whether you introduce your new hire to each employee individually or even just give photos to help the new hire learn each person, adding a visual aspect to a list of employees will reduce your new hire’s anxiety about meeting new people and approaching them for help. 

Personalize the experience 

While your onboarding process should be laid out beforehand, each employee is different and you should avoid making your new hire feel like there’s a lack of connection. 

Tailor your approach to each employee, and give mentors the rundown on the new hire’s previous experience and other details so they can figure out the best way to communicate with them. 

Step 3: Lay out the rules 

Now that your new hire is somewhat acquainted with the culture of your business and the team members he or she will be working with, it’s time to inform—without overwhelming—the employee on the procedures and policies that are crucial to your business. 

Review the employee handbook 

As mentioned before, it’s best practice to send the new hire your employee handbook before their first day. However, it’s a good idea to highlight some important aspects, including benefits, and organizational charts. 

Review policies 

Make sure your employee knows all of the policies they’re expected to follow, such as time and attendance, vacation days, personal conduct, and more. This is another good place for your new hire’s mentor. Have them go over the most important sections and provide examples on how they fit in with the workplace. 

Leave time for questions 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when presented with an onslaught of rules and regulations. Break up the policy and process explanations and give the employee a few moments to clarify and ask questions about each segment. This way they’ll retain the information better and have a clearer understanding of what’s expected of them. 

Step 4: Get cultural 

Bringing your new hire up to speed on the company culture as fast as possible is the best way to make them feel comfortable and ease their transition. It’s not the easiest thing to lay out to a newcomer, as it usually relies on unspoken rules, but it’s often crucial to an employee’s performance. 

Make time for social interaction 

Have a group lunch hour on your new hire’s first day, or a more informal get together after work, such as a happy hour. This will give your new hire a chance to get to know their team on a personal level. 

Encourage your new hire to participate in optional bonding activities and social get-togethers as much as possible so they have a larger chance of learning the company culture and forming a connection with the rest of the team. 

Highlight company values and history 

Another way to connect your new hire with the company culture is to share your business’s story. Print out a copy of your business biography, as well as your value statement, to show exactly what you and your team stand for. This will give them more purpose and fulfillment to their job if they connect on a deeper level. 

Step 5: Ask for feedback 

Feedback is an important step in your onboarding process as it helps you improve any areas in which your process is lacking from an employee’s perspective. 

After your new hire has been on the job for about three months, collect feedback from him or her on how the process went. What worked? What did not work? As you review your onboarding experience, take a good look at the feedback you received and consider making changes where needed. 

Bottom line 

Regardless of what industry your business is a part of, a great onboarding experience is crucial to crafting a successful team. There may be several factors to consider when building your business’s process, but the extra work and dedication will pay off and result in a well-bonded, efficient, and (most importantly) happy workforce.