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What is Onboarding for New Employees?

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What is Onboarding for New Employees?

Attracting and retaining top talent has become a priority for organizations across all industries in today's competitive business environment. Providing a comprehensive and efficient onboarding procedure is essential for ensuring the success of new hires. This article examines the concept of employee onboarding, its significance, and the various factors contributing to a successful onboarding experience. In addition, we will discuss best practices and strategies for adapting your onboarding process to accommodate remote employees. By instituting a well-thought-out onboarding process, organizations can position their new hires for long-term success, thereby enhancing employee retention, productivity, and company culture.

What is Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is a comprehensive and systematic procedure designed to integrate new employees into an organization. This process assists newly hired employees in comprehending their duties, responsibilities, and company culture, thereby preparing them for success within the organization. Typically, employee onboarding programs combine formal and informal activities, such as training sessions, mentoring, and social events. Effective employee onboarding can enhance employee retention and productivity, as well as the work environment as a whole.

Discover effective global hiring and onboarding strategies in this comprehensive article.

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Employee onboarding vs. employee orientation

Although both employee onboarding and employee orientation are essential components of integrating a new hire into an organization, it is essential to distinguish between the two.

Orientation is the initial event or succession of events that occur at the beginning of a new employee's employment. It typically lasts a day or a few days and centers on providing essential information about the company, its policies, procedures, and expectations. During orientation, the new employee is introduced to the company's mission, values, and objectives, along with pertinent logistics such as office layout, safety protocols, and human resources procedures. The primary purpose of orientation is to facilitate new hires' rapid familiarization with the organization and its fundamental operational structure.

In contrast, the employee onboarding program is a more extensive and prolonged program designed to completely integrate a new employee into their role, team, and the organization as a whole. Beyond the initial orientation, onboarding focuses on the new employee's professional development, cultural integration, and long-term success within the organization. Depending on the role and scale of the organization, the onboarding process can last from a few weeks to several months.

Onboarding a new employee should incorporate orientation as one of its initial stages. By beginning with a comprehensive orientation, the new hire can gain a solid foundational understanding of the organization, laying the groundwork for the subsequent more in-depth onboarding activities. In the subsequent phases of the onboarding procedures, new employees should be provided with opportunities to interact with their team members, develop a sense of belonging within the organization, and acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their duties.

Why is employee onboarding so important?

Employee onboarding is crucial to the success of the new hire and the organization's overall health. Its significance derives from the fact that a well-designed onboarding procedure can provide the following benefits:

Increased employee retention

Positive onboarding can influence a new employee's decision to remain with a company over the long term. When the new hire feels welcomed, supported, and valued immediately, they are more likely to stay loyal and committed to the organization. This feeling can result in decreased employee turnover and associated costs.

Improved productivity

The onboarding procedure equips new employees with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to perform their tasks effectively, resulting in increased productivity. By providing thorough training and ongoing support, organizations can assist the new hire in becoming more productive and efficient in their positions, thereby contributing to the company's overall success.

Discover 13 secret tips to maximize productivity for your global remote team here.

Improved company culture

Well-executed onboarding processes reinforce the organization's culture by ensuring that new hires understand and align with the organization's values, mission, and goals. By immersing new employees in the organization's culture from the outset, organizations can cultivate a more cohesive, engaged, and committed workforce.

Enhanced job satisfaction

When new employees feel supported and clearly understand their duties and responsibilities, they are more likely to report greater job satisfaction. This can result in increased employee engagement, motivation, and workplace morale.

Accelerated competence

An effective onboarding process allows new hires to swiftly adapt to their roles and the company's culture, allowing them to reach their full potential more quickly. This accelerated learning curve can ultimately benefit the organization by reducing the time required for a new employee to become a completely contributing member of the team.

What are the phases of an onboarding process?

Each phase of the employee onboarding procedure is designed to facilitate the new hire's transition into their role and the organization as a whole. The following phases provide a comprehensive approach to effectively integrating new employees:

Pre-boarding

This phase begins when the new hire accepts the job offer and continues until their first day of employment. During this period, organizations should complete the necessary documentation, conduct any pre-employment screenings or assessments, and provide the new hire with pertinent information about their start date, work schedule, and initial expectations. Employers can make new hires feel welcome and engaged before their first job day by initiating the onboarding process early on.

Orientation

As stated previously, orientation is a crucial element of the employee onboarding process. During this phase, new hires are introduced to the company's values, mission, objectives, policies, and procedures. Orientation also assists in familiarizing new employees with the company's organizational structure, fundamental operational procedures, and any pertinent logistics, such as office layout, safety protocols, and human resources contacts.

Integration

New employees become immersed in their function, team, and company culture during this phase. Integration typically involves job-specific training, mentoring, and opportunities to develop relationships with colleagues. By providing a conducive environment for new hires to learn and develop, organizations can facilitate their adaptation to their new positions and cultivate a sense of belonging within the organization.

Ongoing support

This phase entails continuous learning, development, and feedback to assist the new employee in achieving organizational success. During this phase, regular check-ins, performance evaluations, and opportunities for skill development are crucial. By providing ongoing support and direction, businesses can ensure that new employees remain engaged, motivated, and productive beyond the initial onboarding period.

Steps for a successful new employee onboarding process

Creating an effective employee onboarding procedure requires careful planning, execution, and ongoing evaluation. The following steps can help organizations develop a successful onboarding experience for their new hires:

Develop a structured onboarding plan

Outline the goals, timeline, and activities for the employee onboarding procedure. This plan should cover all phases of onboarding, from pre-boarding to ongoing support, ensuring that new hires receive a comprehensive and consistent experience.

Communicate expectations clearly

Ensure that new employees understand their roles, responsibilities, and expectations from the beginning. This can be achieved through written communication, orientation sessions, and one-on-one meetings with supervisors or managers.

Assign a mentor or buddy

Pair new hires with experienced team members who can provide guidance, support, and advice during their initial weeks or months with the company. This mentorship relationship can help ease the new employee's transition into the organization and promote a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Provide comprehensive training

Offer general and job-specific training to help new hires excel in their roles. This can include formal training sessions, online courses, and on-the-job learning opportunities. Providing a mix of training formats can cater to different learning preferences and ensure that new employees acquire the necessary skills and knowledge.

Foster social connections

Encourage team-building activities and social events that help new employees connect with their peers and the company culture. Organizations can support the new hire's integration and overall job satisfaction by promoting a sense of community and belonging.

Monitor progress and gather feedback

Establish regular check-ins with new hires to assess their progress, address concerns, and gather feedback on the onboarding process. These touchpoints help identify areas for improvement and ensure that new employees feel supported throughout their transition.

By following these steps, organizations can create a successful onboarding operation that supports the new hire's immediate needs and sets them up for long-term success. In turn, this can lead to improved employee retention, productivity, and a stronger company culture.

Onboarding Best Practices

Implementing onboarding best practices can help organizations create a more effective and seamless employee onboarding process, leading to greater employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity. Here are some key best practices to consider when designing and executing your onboarding program:

Personalize the onboarding experience

Recognize that each new hire is unique, with different backgrounds, skill sets, and learning preferences. Tailor the onboarding checklist to the individual needs of each new team member, providing them with the most relevant information and resources to help them succeed in their roles.

Make onboarding a priority

Ensure management and human resources are committed to providing a supportive and engaging onboarding experience. Allocate sufficient time, resources, and personnel to develop and implement a comprehensive onboarding operation that effectively integrates new employees into the company culture and sets them up for success.

Start onboarding before day one

Begin the onboarding procedure as soon as a new hire accepts the job offer. This pre-boarding phase can include completing the necessary paperwork, providing new employees with essential information, and creating a welcoming atmosphere demonstrating the company's commitment to its success.

Provide comprehensive training and development opportunities

Equip new hires with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their roles by offering both general and job-specific training. Additionally, provide ongoing learning and development opportunities to help employees grow and advance within the organization.

Encourage open communication and feedback

Create an environment where new employees feel comfortable asking questions, seeking assistance, and providing feedback on their onboarding experience. Regular check-ins and open lines of communication help identify any areas of concern or opportunities for improvement in the onboarding process.

Continuously evaluate and refine the onboarding process

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your onboarding program, incorporating feedback from new hires and adjusting the process to meet the evolving needs of your organization. Continuous improvement ensures your onboarding process remains relevant, efficient, and engaging for new employees.

Adapting your onboarding to be remote-friendly

In an increasingly digital and remote work environment, it's essential to adapt your employee onboarding process to accommodate new hires who may be working remotely. By creating a remote-friendly onboarding operation, you can ensure that new employees feel connected, supported, and fully integrated into the organization's culture, regardless of their location. Here are some strategies for adapting your onboarding process to be remote-friendly:

  1. Utilize video conferencing tools: These tools, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, can help bridge the gap between in-person and remote interactions. Conduct virtual orientation sessions, training, and team meetings to ensure remote employees feel connected to their colleagues and engaged in the onboarding operation.

Discover the best tools for maximum remote work productivity here.

  1. Provide digital resources: Make all necessary onboarding materials and resources available online for easy access. This may include employee handbooks, training materials, and company policies. Additionally, consider creating a centralized hub or platform where new hires can easily find and access these resources.
  2. Establish a virtual mentorship program: Assigning a mentor or buddy to each new hire is crucial for their success, regardless of whether they work remotely or on-site. Pair remote employees with experienced team members who can provide guidance, support, and regular check-ins through virtual communication channels.
  3. Develop remote-friendly training: Ensure that training sessions are accessible and engaging for remote employees. This may involve creating online courses, offering live virtual training sessions, or providing recorded webinars. Additionally, consider using interactive elements, such as quizzes or group activities, to keep remote new hires engaged in the learning process.
  4. Schedule regular check-ins: Establish frequent virtual touchpoints with remote new hires to ensure they're on track and to address any concerns or challenges. These check-ins can be done through video, phone, or instant messaging, depending on the employee's preferences and availability.
  5. Encourage virtual social interactions: Plan remote-friendly team-building activities and events to help remote employees feel included and connected to their colleagues. This can include virtual coffee breaks, online game nights, or remote team lunches.
  6. Set clear communication expectations: With remote employees, communication can sometimes be challenging. Establish clear expectations regarding response times, communication channels, and meeting attendance to ensure remote new hires are fully involved in the onboarding program.
  7. Offer support for remote work setups: Assist remote employees in setting up their home office environments to promote productivity and comfort. This may include providing guidance on ergonomic best practices, offering company-sponsored equipment, or reimbursing expenses related to their remote work setup.

Checklist for a Successful Onboarding Program

A well-structured and comprehensive onboarding checklist is crucial to new hires' success and an organization's overall growth. The following is a detailed checklist for implementing a successful employee onboarding operation.

  1. Prepare a structured onboarding plan, including goals, timelines, and activities.
  2. Communicate expectations and responsibilities to new hires.
  3. Offer comprehensive training and development opportunities.
  4. Assign a mentor or buddy to provide guidance and support.
  5. Foster social connections through team-building activities and events.
  6. Monitor progress and gather feedback regularly.
  7. Personalize the onboarding experience to cater to each new employee's unique needs.
  8. Make onboarding a priority for management and human resources.
  9. Create a welcoming environment for new hires.
  10. Continuously evaluate and improve the onboarding methods.

Onboard your global team with Skuad

An effective employee onboarding operation is essential for organizations striving for long-term success. By implementing a comprehensive and personalized approach, businesses can ensure that new hires feel welcomed, supported, and equipped with the tools and resources necessary to excel in their roles.

Skuad is a global employment and payroll platform that enables organizations to hire and onboard anyone anywhere in the world easily. 

With Skuad, you can build a compliant onboarding operation so your new hires can hit the ground running in no time. If you have found the talent you love, leave the rest to us. Contact Skuad experts today to know more.

FAQs

Does onboarding mean I'm hired?

No, not always. The process of integrating a new employee into a company is known as onboarding, and it can take place either before or after the official hiring decision. Being hired is not a given, thus going through the onboarding process is not a given either.

What are the 5 C's of onboarding?

Compliance, Clarification, Culture, Connection, and Check-back are the five C's of onboarding.

Is onboarding the same as hiring process?

No, the hiring process and onboarding are not the same. The term "hiring process" refers to the selection and presentation of a job to a candidate, whereas "onboarding" refers to the process of integrating a new recruit into the organization and assisting them in becoming engaged in their new role. Normally, onboarding happens after a worker is employed.

About the author

Catalina Wang is a Human Resource Consultant. She manages recruitment, onboarding, and contract administration staffing for many organizations and remote teams. She’s passionate about efficient HR management and the impact of tech on hiring practices.

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