What does your company do after hiring a new employee? Is there a structured onboarding process in place?
Organizations with a strong onboarding procedure improve new hire retention and productivity significantly.
My name is AJ. I’ve scaled and sold my business for seven figures. And one detail that ensured my team worked cohesively was adequately onboarding new employees.
After many years of perfecting the employee onboarding process, I’ve compiled this guide to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes I did!
What should you do first with new hires? Let’s dive into the best onboarding processes for your business!
SBB Featured Partners
Best For Small Businesses
Best All-Around CRM
Best Budget CRM
What is Employee Onboarding?
Employee onboarding provides new employees with the resources they need to transition into their new position seamlessly.
Starting a new job with a new company is a lot of change for anyone, and onboarding helps take the stress off the new hire’s shoulders.
To put it simply, the onboarding process helps new hires feel more comfortable and confident with their new job duties with the company.
Additionally, onboarding gives employers a chance to make a good first impression.
Therefore, an effective onboarding procedure isn’t solely designed for new hires; it’s also meant for managers and your HR team.
Implementing an onboarding procedure has many benefits, which I’ll cover in the next section!
Why Create an Employee Onboarding SOP?
Alongside helping new team members feel more comfortable in their new job, there are several other reasons to create an onboarding procedure.
For example, some of the benefits of implementing an effective onboarding process include the following points:
- Increases the likelihood of the employee satisfaction
- Sets new hires up for success in their new position
- Improves employee retention significantly (less employee turnover)
- Encourages productivity
- Reduces the number of training sessions
- Introduces new hires to the team culture
- It makes a new employee’s first day less stressful
- Contributes to the company’s success
While it may seem like a waste of time to have an extended hiring process, the time and money it saves make it worth it in the long run.
Is Employee Onboarding Only for New Hires?
You can utilize an onboarding program for existing employees moving to different positions within the company.
Shifting jobs means these employees must change their responsibilities, desk space, and possibly even schedule.
An onboarding procedure ensures they understand their role clearly and sets them up for success.
Of course, onboarding processes for current and new hires will be different, as you don’t need to introduce details like company culture to an existing team member.
How Long Should Employee Onboarding Take?
Most HR professionals agree onboarding new employees should take at least three months.
Further, it has been proven that when companies make onboarding a continuous process for an employee’s first year, they increase employee retention and engagement.
One of my biggest mistakes with my first company was offering a poor onboarding experience. I thought one to two weeks was enough time to explain expectations and welcome new hires.
However, I quickly learned my team, and I needed more time to thoroughly welcome and get new employees used to their role in the company.
What Should Be Included in Your Onboarding Program?
The things included in your onboarding process depend on your company’s industry. Still, here are some general elements to include.
Safety and compliance training are necessary for a good onboarding experience.
Safety training can include things like:
- Fire safety
- Sexual harassment training
- Diversity and inclusion training
- OSHA safety protocols
- Workplace health and safety
Creating a safe work environment is critical, and emphasizing workplace safety communicates to new hires that you take it seriously.
Technology and Systems Training
The technology available at an employee’s desk and within the company is only helpful if they understand how to use them.
Technology and systems training can include the following details:
- Setting up their computer
- Creating a work environment at their desk or home
- Introduction to project management systems
- Training on any software or technology they’ll regularly use during their job
Employees can hit the ground running and jump into work immediately when they understand how to use the technology and systems.
SOPs and Best Practices
When onboarding new hires, you must introduce them to the company culture and standard practices.
For example, this training section should include:
- Standard dress code
- Employee manual
- Company Policies
- Employee benefits
- Paid time off information
- Sick time information
Employees shouldn’t have to guess what’s acceptable in the workplace or how your company operates. Before their first day, each employee should have this information.
Technical Skills Training
Technical skills training includes the things a new hire needs to be able to do to complete their job effectively.
It would be inefficient and unsafe to throw an employee to work without them understanding what they’re doing or how to do it.
Ensure you provide employees ample time to learn and master technical skills, as they will feel more confident in their job.
Lastly, technical skills training differs depending on the job description. Therefore, there isn’t a universal standard for what technical skills training should entail.
The last thing you should include in your onboarding program is a company culture overview.
This overview can include things like:
- How and when meetings occur
- Communication expectations
- A schedule of regular events
- Social happenings within the company
Allow new hires to get a feel for the “company vibe” and determine where they’ll fit in.
When employees emotionally connect to their job and co-workers, they are likelier to continue working with the company.
Introducing company culture on the first day can help forge these bonds.
How to Onboard a New Employee
Here is the seven-step process I utilized to onboard new hires before selling my company. Depending on your company, you may have to tweak a few details!
Step 1: Start Preboarding
The first step is preboarding, which happens after an employee accepts the job offer and before their start date.
Employee Position Contract
Email each new hire their employment contract to ensure they understand their position, take the role seriously, and have time to review any legal matters.
Additionally, a contract ensures you cover your legal bases.
Ensure you keep a copy of this contract for your records and advise your employees to do the same.
Employee Offer Letter
An employee offer letter is an official offer of employment.
Another way to think of it is as an invitation to work for your company.
Employee offer letters contain essential information, including job description, expectations, fireable offenses, pay, etc.
New Hire Paperwork
You should also ensure every new employee completes the necessary paperwork before starting. Completing this paperwork ahead of time ensures an efficient first day.
The most critical forms small business owners need include the ones listed below.
A W-4 is one of several tax forms a hiring manager needs from a new hire. This form allows employers to withhold the correct federal income tax from a new hire’s pay.
- I-9 Form
An I-9 form verifies a new hire’s identity and employment authorization in the United States.
- Health Insurance forms
Health insurance forms tell you about a new hire’s coverage, monthly payments, and other insurance-related details.
- Direct Deposit Forms
Direct deposit forms ensure an employee’s paycheck reaches the correct bank account.
- Non-Compete Agreement
A non-compete agreement is a contract that says an employee agrees not to compete with an employer after the employment period is over.
Employee Field Guide
An employee handbook or field guide provides new hires with information about your business, including its mission, vision, values, the company’s history, etc.
Onboarding programs must have a first-day agenda, ensuring new team members know exactly what they can expect.
First-day agendas make starting a new position more relaxed.
First Week Schedule
You should also provide new employees with an overview of their first week so they can hit the ground running with anticipation and confidence.
Usernames & Passwords
Ensure each new hire has a list of the usernames and passwords to the software and other programs they use daily.
Provide new hires with all the necessary equipment to complete their job effectively.
When you have these materials ready before their first day, it saves time.
Lastly, have the other team members in your company welcome the new person. This gesture helps the new hire feel appreciated, even if it’s simple.
Step 2: Give Your New Employee a Tour
Giving new hires a tour of the office and their workspace allows them to feel more comfortable with their surroundings.
Additionally, a tour makes it easier to navigate their work environment.
Step 3: Run Through Your Employee Field Guide
Although you may provide a company handbook beforehand, reviewing these details in person is essential.
A field guide can include details like:
- Working hours
- First week expectations
- Company values
Step 4: Make Team Introductions
While giving them a tour, introduce the new employee’s team.
Team introductions help a new hire make friends at work and assimilate with the company culture.
Step 5: Have a Manager’s Lunch
A new employee’s manager should take them out for lunch on their first day, allowing them to get out of the office and get to know their manager better.
Step 6: Workspace Setup
After lunch, give each new employee time to set up their workspace, log in to their computer, and get used to the software systems.
Step 7: End-of-Day Recap of Onboarding Process (Happy Hour)
A new hire’s first day is filled with a lot of new information. Therefore, it’s essential to reconnect at the end of the day, possibly with a happy hour.
A one-on-one meeting allows new employees to ask questions and express concerns.
Tips for Employee Onboarding
Check out these additional tips for proper onboarding. And feel free to customize these to fit your culture and industry better!
Set Onboarding Goals
Before onboarding new employees, ensure you have a plan and goals to help you measure success.
While your first onboarding procedure may be flawed, it will help improve the process for future hires.
Personalize the Experience (Swag Bag)
A great way to welcome and reduce employee turnover is by offering a personalized onboarding process.
Giving new hires company swag like water bottles, key chains, or t-shirts helps welcome them and get them excited about working for you.
Create an Onboarding SOP
Having a predetermined onboarding program to follow each time you have a new hire saves time and money.
With a standard operating procedure, your hiring managers know how to onboard new employees.
Outline a Path for Professional Development
Another effective way to reduce turnover is by getting employees excited about their future with the company.
An easy way to do this is to outline a personal development path.
Ask new employees what their goals are (both personal and within the company) and make a path that will help them get there.
Doing this will build trust and loyalty between you and the employee.
Delegate Onboarding Responsibilities
Ensure you rely on other team members to help with the onboarding process.
Delegating will take some effort off your shoulders and allow new hires to meet and work with key team members immediately.
Use Onboarding Tools
Lastly, use onboarding technology to improve employee onboarding programs.
One of my favorite programs is Trainual because it’s easy to use and effective.
Trainual is a simple way to make training virtual by uploading videos onto the cloud.
Leaders can create content about company policies, how to use the company portal, and other onboarding activities and share them with new employees.
Trainual saves time during the onboarding process.
Setting aside time to onboard new employees is a must-have procedure if you want to reduce turnover rates and improve loyalty.
The most crucial part of onboarding is ensuring new hires feel welcome, comfortable, and confident in their new role with the company.
Are there onboarding strategies you use that we should have mentioned? Let us know in the comments section!
Frequently Asked Questions
An onboarding checklist allows hiring managers to organize the steps to guide new hires through their first months at a company.
Preboarding tasks, first-day outlines, introductions, and ample training time make for an effective onboarding process.
The key to successful onboarding is providing a personalized experience for every new hire. Personalized experiences ensure new hires feel welcome and motivated to start working with the company. Another key to success is ensuring new hires have all the information and tools necessary before their first day.
The six Cs of employee onboarding include compliance, clarification, connection, culture, confidence, and checkback. These elements are necessary for a solid and efficient onboarding process, especially if you want employees to feel confident and productive.
Preboarding, onboarding, training, and transitioning are the four phases of onboarding a new hire. Preboarding occurs before an employee’s first day. Onboarding and welcoming is the employee’s first day on the job. Training time varies based on the person and the position. And transitioning is an ongoing process for the first year of employment.