How to Create an Effective Onboarding Process

  • Recruitment/HR
onboarding a new employee
Kiran Virk

Kiran Virk, Head of Talent Acquisition

(Last updated )

Welcoming a new employee into your workplace is more than just a formality; it’s the beginning of their journey with your company. By having a well-thought-out onboarding process, employers can help new hires fit into their roles faster and become productive members of the team.

The best employee onboarding process accomplishes several things. For one, it gives new hires a positive impression of your company, your organization’s culture, and its core values. It further sets clear expectations of what new employees should fulfill in their roles and keeps them motivated and engaged to do well at work. It’ll also reduce the turnover rates of new staff and help retain them for the long term. 

What is an employee onboarding process? 

An employee onboarding process welcomes new hires into your organization and integrates them into your workplace. It’s an orientation period that helps new employees adjust to their new positions and work environments. The best employee onboarding processes are usually structured to make new staff feel well-equipped, informed, and prepared for their daily responsibilities. 

What to include in an employee onboarding process

You should always design an onboarding process based on the needs of your business and what is required for new employees to succeed in their roles.

Here's a breakdown of what’s typically included in a new employee onboarding process:

Orientation: Introduce the company's culture, values, mission, and overall vision to the new employee. This sets the tone for their role within the organization. The orientation should also instruct employees on proper workplace conduct, responses to certain health and safety incidents and emergencies, and how to report hazards. 

Mandatory paperwork and documentation: Employees can use the onboarding process to complete all necessary paperwork, including employment contracts, tax forms, benefits enrollment, and company policy agreements, such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). 

Professional references and background checks: If you haven’t conducted reference checks on an employee yet, you can use the onboarding period to do so. Depending on the nature of the job, you may need to conduct background checks, which may include criminal record checks, credit checks, or drug tests.

Emergency contacts: Request information about the employee's emergency contacts, including names, relationships, and contact numbers in case of an emergency at the workplace.

Meeting the team: Introduce team members, supervisors, key personnel and staff to the new employee. This will help them understand team dynamics and encourage them to collaborate with their colleagues.

Training for the role: Use the onboarding to provide training specific to the employee's role. This may include covering technical skills, software usage, safety protocols, and any other relevant skills or knowledge they need to succeed in their position. 

Buddy systems: Assign mentors or buddies to guide new hires. These mentors can offer support, answer questions, and help newcomers integrate into the workplace more smoothly.

Feedback and evaluation: Gather feedback from new employees about their onboarding experience. This feedback helps improve the process and address any concerns.

Continuous improvement: The onboarding process should be regularly evaluated and improved. Ideally, you want to make updates and refinements based on your organization’s changing needs and employee feedback. 

What are the benefits of onboarding employees?

A proper onboarding process adequately prepares new employees for their new workplaces and job responsibilities. Here are some of the benefits of having an effective onboarding process in place:

Positive first impression

Onboarding is an employee's first impression of your company. A well-structured process ensures that new hires feel welcomed, valued, and excited about their new roles. They’ll also feel more engaged with your organization.

Improves productivity

A proper onboarding process accelerates the time it takes for new employees to become fully productive in their positions. It minimizes any learning curves, gets them up to speed in their daily tasks faster, and lets them contribute to projects and assignments right away. 

Increases retention rates

Employees who had a positive experience with an onboarding process are more likely to stay with the company. With proper introductions and orientations, new employees will feel included in your organization and their work environments. By having a well-planned onboarding process, you can reduce the turnover rates of new employees, which can be costly and disruptive to your business operations. 

Skill development

The onboarding process is an opportunity to provide new employees with the necessary training they need to carry out their job duties, especially those related to workplace health and safety

How to create an induction plan

An induction plan serves as a roadmap for the initial days, weeks, and sometimes months of a new employee's tenure with a company. Your induction plan can vary based on the new hire’s position, your company culture, or operational needs. But, in general, you should provide a timeline and routine for the employee to follow. 

Here are some suggestions of what you can include in an induction plan:

Design a timeline

Create a schedule that outlines the activities and milestones for the employee's first week, first month, and beyond. This provides a guideline for the employee to follow and keeps them productive at work.

Provide resources and equipment

Gather all the resources, materials, and equipment the new employee will need to perform their job effectively. Ensure their workstation and/or laptop are set up and ready for their first day. Give them the necessary security access, keycards, IDs, login credentials and accounts they need to begin their tasks.

Welcome package

Prepare a welcome package that includes essential documents, such as employment contracts, work agreements, benefits information, and employee manuals and handbooks. You can also give new hires any company-branded free merch, like stationery, water bottles, and office supplies.

Company policies, leadership, and culture

Educate the new employee about your company's leadership team, policies, values, culture, and code of conduct. This helps them integrate into the company properly and gives them an understanding of appropriate workplace behaviours.

Engagement activities

Consider including some optional team-building exercises or fun engagement activities to help the new employee build relationships with their future coworkers. These activities can be an icebreaker and eliminate any tension the employee may have when entering an unfamiliar work environment.

How to onboard a new employee remotely

With the increased availability of remote work options, employers can hire and onboard new staff virtually. It’s equally important to onboard remote workers just as you would an onsite employee since remote work can feel isolating and lonely. Remote employees who don't feel supported or connected to the organization may become disengaged, which can lead to reduced commitment to their work.

Here are some steps you can take to onboard a remote worker:

Prepare in advance

Ensure that all necessary equipment, software, and accounts are set up before the employee's start date. This includes providing them with a company laptop, email access, and necessary login credentials.

Virtual welcome meeting

Host a virtual welcome meeting via video conferencing. This meeting should include introductions to team members, a brief overview of the company culture, and an explanation of the remote work setup.

Technology orientation and IT support

Schedule training video calls to help the new employee become familiar with the tools and software they will be using for work. As well, offer remote IT support for technical issues the employee may encounter while setting up their remote workspace.

Regular check-ins

Schedule regular one-on-one video calls with the new employee to check their progress, address any concerns, and provide feedback. Encourage them to pitch ideas, voice issues, and offer suggestions related to their work.

Team meetings and collaboration tools

Encourage remote employees to join team meetings and virtual events to foster a sense of belonging and connection with colleagues. You may also want to use collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or project management software to facilitate communication and cooperation.

Provide feedback

Give constructive feedback to help the remote employee improve and grow in their role. You can use this opportunity to set clear performance goals, expectations, and establish a timeline for regular evaluations.

How to improve your onboarding process

Your employee onboarding process should be flexible to changing workplace practices, trends, and industry requirements. For most businesses, here are a few ways to optimize your existing onboarding process:

Map out the onboarding journey: Start by mapping out the entire onboarding process from the time the employee accepts the job offer to the end of the probationary period. Identify key touchpoints, responsibilities, and objectives at each stage.

Personalize the experience: Tailor the onboarding experience to individual employee needs and roles. Not every employee requires the same information or training.

Set clear expectations: Provide new employees with a clear roadmap of what they can expect during the onboarding process and beyond. Ensure they understand their roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations.

Use HR software: Try using HR software to streamline administrative tasks, such as paperwork, documentation, and compulsory e-learning. This frees up time for other parts of the onboarding process.

Provide pre-boarding resources: Send essential information and resources to new hires before their start date. This can include company policies, forms, and a schedule for their first week.

Solicit feedback: Collect feedback from new hires about their onboarding experience. Use this information to make continuous improvements. During the onboarding, you can encourage employees to ask questions and voice concerns. This helps address any issues early on and builds trust. 

Extended onboarding: Consider extending the onboarding process beyond the first week or month. Some organizations have ongoing onboarding programs that last several months to ensure employees are properly oriented and trained for their roles.

Review and update the process: Regularly review and update your onboarding process to reflect changes in your company culture, technology, best practices, or to meet the latest employment standards and guidelines. This includes providing mandatory training on workplace health and safety, harassment prevention, and other OHS topics.

Do you need help creating an effective employee onboarding process?

Peninsula Canada is your HR partner in creating an effective employee onboarding process. Our experts can help you develop workplace policies, essential HR documentation, and ensure compliance with employment legislation. Contact us today at 1 (833) 247-3652 to learn more about our services.

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