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Updated Jan 03, 2024

Owning Your Onboarding Process Is the Key to Success With New Hires

Your team culture includes how you work with one another, so it’s important that new hires are empowered to do their jobs.

MIranda Fraraccio
Written By: Miranda FraraccioContributing Writer
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The way you train an employee at the start of their new role can lay the foundation for their success, or it can lead to their failure. Their path can depend on your organization’s onboarding process, the way you train new hires through tasks designed to familiarize them with their new role.

When a company neglects the onboarding process, new hires are left to figure things out for themselves. Although throwing an employee into the deep end can demonstrate their resourcefulness, it leaves them feeling unsupported and ignored rather than independent. In contrast, a well-planned onboarding process can lead to higher retention and productivity.  When employees are trained on company procedures early on, they have adequate time to become comfortable in their new position. 

The importance of a successful onboarding process

Proper onboarding processes — which are separate from employee orientation and generally longer — set new hires up for long-term success, extend employee life cycles, and help them feel comfortable with their new positions faster. According to studies by Bamboo HR, employees who went through a successful onboarding process were up to 18 times more committed to their workplace. This proves the benefits companies can reap from implementing an onboarding process.

It helps new hires with the acclimation period.

While some studies show it can take three to six months for a new hire to acclimate to their role, a thorough onboarding process — one that goes beyond the basic paperwork and administrative information — can decrease the amount of time necessary to get new hires up to speed. That’s because a good onboarding process allows new hires to familiarize themselves with the company’s goals, procedures, philosophies and culture in a systemized way. This is better than overwhelming them with tasks immediately. 

An onboarding process provides a comprehensive overview of employee expectations, along with what the employee can expect in return from the company. It also demonstrates the new hire’s true purpose in their role. Through this process, employees can increase their productivity while being confident that they are producing the work that’s expected of them.

TipBottom line
The acclimation period will vary based on the employee, the company and how complicated the new role is. Entry-level jobs and experienced employees slipping into familiar roles usually need less time to adjust, while cross-functional roles require more time.

It keeps new hires engaged with the company.

A successful onboarding process can set the scene for new employees by demonstrating exactly what the company is working toward and how the employee fits into the equation. Armed with this information, new hires can better understand their role and the goals of the company. This fosters a culture of engaged and empowered employees.

Employee engagement is crucial to a company’s success, and an employee onboarding process is a great way to promote engagement among workers. Employees want to know that they are working toward a common goal and that they are part of the solution. By demonstrating how each person’s role impacts the business’s overall goals, companies ensure their employees are more dedicated and motivated to make an impact. 

It reduces employee turnover.

Companies struggling with employee turnover should take a closer look at their onboarding process, as this may be the key to determining why a company isn’t retaining employees. 

The purpose of an onboarding process is to set an employee up for success by providing them the resources, training and tools they need to get their job done. If new employees don’t feel supported as they learn the ropes, they will quickly lose motivation in their role and feel as though they aren’t the right fit. This can lead to high turnover for a company, which is extremely expensive — replacing one employee can cost businesses anywhere from one and a half to two times their annual salary, depending on their role and industry, according to Gallup

How to conduct a successful onboarding process

Studies show that 31 percent of new hires quit within six months, according to Zippia. When conducting onboarding remotely, the pressure to get it right is even higher — you cannot lean on surface-level onboarding activities like a tour of the office.

The following tips will help you ace your onboarding.

1. Contextualize job duties using previous collateral, work or technology.

Take a look through your previous client presentations, work summaries and collateral. Chances are, these materials can provide a ton of valuable information for a new hire.

It is also essential that new hires get acquainted with the tools they will use before their first day on the job. Before your new hires start, work with your IT department to set up their email, software, Slack and any other tech tools. Make sure they have everything they need to hit the ground running on day one.

If they are going to handle social media, make sure they have the proper credentials. If they are going to be handling SEO, make sure they have the SEO logins. IT can provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to get all these resources set up, or your company can develop an in-house technology onboarding document that you share with all new hires.

Onboarding documentation can offer a dive deep on SEO and social standards, answer any FAQs, house emergency passwords and feature other miscellaneous information that is crucial to the job. In turn, new hires can begin applying the information they learn to real and simulated scenarios to get more comfortable in their roles.

Being proactive in any situation is never a bad thing. By pulling together pertinent information ahead of time, you can focus on the important stuff right away.

2. Find overlap in must-do tasks and training opportunities.

Regardless of whether your new hires are recent graduates or seasoned pros, don’t be afraid to give them hands-on work. They can learn a lot about a client or your processes by completing some of your more straightforward tasks, such as shadowing a meeting and taking notes or completing some portions of client onboarding.

In addition to familiarizing new hires with company norms, this approach will also free up other team members to handle more complex work. It offers a way to allow new employees to gain a solid understanding of your company while also being immediately useful.

Part of owning the onboarding process means taking an active role in being clear about the purpose of a task, and how it helps both the new hire and the company as a whole.

3. Be ready to troubleshoot.

New workplaces naturally come with mounds of questions and concerns. However qualified and experienced a new hire might be, employees who are more seasoned and familiar with company processes are invaluable resources to answer questions during the onboarding period. To own onboarding, leaders and longtime employees need to be available to troubleshoot and answer any questions that might cause confusion.

That availability can materialize in many ways. You can answer questions in real time, either in person or through a messaging platform. You can establish in-person or virtual office hours dedicated to answering any lingering questions new hires might have. For remote employees, a reliable videoconferencing tool like Zoom or Cisco Webex can help replicate that in-person experience. Scheduling individual check-ins with these new hires is a good way to ensure new hires feel heard and to keep managers and leaders accountable for answering any necessary questions.

Though a remote setup is nothing new for some companies, organizations adjusting to new standards of hybrid and remote work must take an all-hands-on-deck approach. That means being ready, willing and able to answer any questions new hires might have to make their adjustment — and your company’s workflow — stay smooth and uninterrupted.

Owning your onboarding process and deliberately planning a smart approach versus throwing your new hire into the job without any prep takes work. But it is a worthwhile investment that will help your new hire quickly get up to speed and feel like a valuable team member.

4. Move at a comfortable pace.

When onboarding new employees, remember that everybody learns at their own pace. Don’t overwhelm your new employee with work on day one — gradually provide them with more assignments over time so that they feel comfortable working with your standard processes and procedures. Allow employees to understand their new role by providing educational resources and training and by providing them contacts in case they have any questions. 

Investing in your new employees early on and ensuring they are thoroughly trained can have a positive impact on their professional development and productivity, leading to cost-saving benefits for your company. 

Did You Know?Did you know
Companies with a proper onboarding process saw a significant increase in new hire productivity, as they provided those employees with sufficient training and support to learn their roles, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

5. Get the paperwork done immediately.

Avoid roadblocks on the new hire’s first day by finishing employee paperwork — including tax forms, payroll documents and noncompete or nondisclosure agreements, if applicable — before their start date. Provide the employee with any necessary documentation in advance to ensure timely paperwork filing, and request any pertinent information from them that will enable you to prefill forms before they begin. 

Provide the new hire with an employee handbook upon arrival and offer them resources in case they have questions. Delaying these tasks can cause trouble for an employee on their first day, and it can prevent them from learning how to perform their new position. 

6. Assign the new hire a mentor.

Help new workers adjust to their new roles by assigning an experienced peer to be their mentor. Establishing a mentorship program for your new employees can improve company culture by encouraging a personal connection between coworkers and providing new hires with a friendly face they can count on to answer questions and receive one-on-one support. 

Though most employees have a manager to oversee their work, having a mentor allows the employee to talk through problems with a peer in a more casual and open setting. Mentorship can happen in-office, with educational sessions and regularly scheduled meetings, as well as outside of the office, such as during lunch dates or outings. 

Christine Alemany contributed to this article.

MIranda Fraraccio
Written By: Miranda FraraccioContributing Writer
Miranda Fraraccio is a writer with bylines on several B2B publications. She got her start working in different sectors of the music industry, before transitioning to focus on other creative projects, including writing, audio production, and creating visual content.
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