If you’re adding new employees to your team, you probably realise how important it is to have a simple, but effective onboarding process. Starting a new employee well, sets the tone for their employment and can free up your time while allowing them to manage their own onboarding. There’s a lot to consider when onboarding a new employee, but if you have a good process, you can minimise the stress and demonstrate that you and your company are on top of your HR!
1. Communicate Before Your Employee’s First Day
Take this scenario: A candidate accepts a job offer with an agreed start date, and then nothing. This can be very disconcerting! To avoid creating this uneasiness, let the employee know that you’ll have a checklist for them to go through once they get started. Clarify any information you’ll need from them in order to make their start smooth (eg their preferred name for their email address). Also, be clear about what to do on their first day - the time you’re expecting them, the dress code, and what they should bring.
2. Use an Onboarding Checklist
There are many things that need to happen when you start someone new, and the more that you put these things into a process, the smoother the employee’s onboarding experience will be. A checklist might include things like; documents for employees to provide/upload, forms for the employee to complete (eg bank account details, emergency contact details), induction video/s for the employee to watch, documents for the employee to read, policies for the employee to sign, specific people for the employee to meet and more. This might seem like a lot, but laying this out in an organised checklist removes the stress and allows employees to work through the items one by one.
3. Create an Employee Welcome Kit
An employee welcome kit should be part of your onboarding checklist to help new hires feel welcomed. You can add things like your company handbook, frequently asked questions, and any necessary documents and procedures the new hire might need. Include any video recordings of company events and documents outlining the company vision and values.
4. Include Admin Items on Your Onboarding Checklist
You should also have a checklist of things that need to be done internally whenever you have a new employee starting - ideally, this will be on the same checklist. There are lots of things that need to be done when someone new starts. Some of these include; setting up their email address, adding them to Xero, setting them up in internal systems, sending out a welcome message, organising a welcome lunch, scheduling a probation review, checking all documentation has been provided, providing them with a computer, phone, and/or security card, and planning the employee’s first project/s.
5. Pair New Hires with an Onboarding Buddy
It may sound simple but this is a great way to make sure new hires are comfortable. This should be a peer rather than their manager, and preferably someone who has already worked at the company for a while. When an existing employee shows a new hire the ropes, they’re more likely to raise questions they might hesitate to ask their manager.
6. Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Surviving the first week is great, but don’t forget to keep checking in with new employees throughout their first year. Schedule 1:1 meetings with both HR and the new hire’s direct manager — they’re an excellent way to retain the employees you spent so much time finding and hiring.
7. Define Success for the New Hire
Don’t forget to let your employee know what success means in their role. Tell them how they can master their job and what they need to do. You’d be surprised how many employees aren’t told how to succeed at their jobs and what it takes to get there. A great way to do this is to create 30/60/90 day goals - the more specific you can be, the easier it is for them to perform and manage their own onboarding period.
8. Introduce New Hires to the Whole Team
Nothing replaces a warm welcome from the team — including senior management. It’s important that new hires feel connected to ALL aspects of the business and if they have a basic understanding of how the departments work together, they’ll perform better in their role. Think you’re too big for this? At Netflix, all new employees have an orientation with executive management and within the first quarter, they meet the CEO.
An onboarding process is something that should continue to evolve and expand over time. The important thing is to get started and document the items for both admin users and the new employee to do.
HR Partner is a simple HR solution that gives small and medium companies all the HR tools they need. It integrates with Xero to provide a seamless leave management experience, and includes a comprehensive Onboarding Checklist function that can be customised to suit your organisation. Over time, you can add to your onboarding process to make it a foundational part of your company processes.