How to Create a Unique and Helpful Employee Onboarding Program
The onboarding process plays an important role in enhancing the employee’s experience. More than just an opportunity for new hires to be introduced to the organization, it is also the chance for employers to create a good first impression, improve their employer’s branding, and nurture their workforce.
So, how important is having a good onboarding program? According to Gallup data, 70% of workers who had excellent onboarding experiences believe they had “the best possible job.” Additionally, these workers are 2.6 times more likely to feel really pleased with their work and stay there.
With this data, companies should craft an engaging and memorable onboarding program for their new hires or improve their existing processes. This is especially important as “The Great Resignation” is causing disruptions across industries, with employees choosing to prioritize their overall wellbeing and job satisfaction in the new normal.
What Your Onboarding Program Should Consist Of
When crafting an engaging and helpful employee onboarding program, you must first learn the elements that can help give it structure. Some of the essentials of an onboarding program include the following:
1. A digital onboarding platform
The digital age has given organizations various opportunities to optimize most, if not all, of their internal processes, including employee onboarding. According to a 2021 study by Talent Board, 83% of employers already use an onboarding system to manage and execute their processes and activities.
With a digital onboarding solution, companies can save more time in orienting and training new employees, improve new hire satisfaction, and prevent inconsistencies and delays when sharing vital information with the onboarding participants.
2. Employee equipment
For your new employees to seamlessly join the organization, you must equip them with all the tools, systems, and documents they will need for the duration of their employment.
For instance, before their first day at work, they must already receive their service laptop or computer, along with the necessary software installations. With the help of your IT department, set up the work email of your new hires in advance as well so that they can easily log in to your company system on Day 1.
You can also provide new hires with the employee handbook beforehand for them to get a head start on company culture and policies.
3. Welcoming committee
Every onboarding program should have a welcoming committee that would help new hires feel welcome and connected with their new organization. Your welcoming committee can give new employees a tour of your office, introduce them to the rest of the staff, and discuss with them the company culture.
Your welcoming committee does not necessarily have to consist of people from the human resources department. It can include employees from different departments who can help raise the level of engagement during the onboarding process.
4. Designated point person or mentor
Aside from the welcoming committee, new hires should also be supported by a designated point person or mentor. This can encourage new employees to ask specific questions about the company or their job, as well as provide feedback regarding their onboarding experience.
Mentors can schedule one-on-one check-ins or informal lunch meetings with new employees during their first few weeks to help the latter get settled and comfortable.
How to Creatively Onboard New Employees
There is no formula when it comes to crafting a good employee onboarding program. You can be as creative as you want while still taking into consideration the bandwidth of your team and your company’s budget.
Here are some best practices you can apply.
Orient current employees about new hires
More than just accommodating new hires, the onboarding process is an opportunity for your current employees to prepare for new additions to their team, as well. Before onboarding, you can send out a mass email regarding the new hires, what their role and responsibilities will be, and what current employees can do to make them feel welcome.
Implement a phased onboarding process
According to Rick Gibbs, a performance specialist with HR solutions provider Insperity, rolling out the onboarding program in stages can help new hires adjust to their new company at their own pace and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed at the onset.
One way you can apply a phased approach to the onboarding process is by creating a deliberate and detailed timeline, which could take longer when orienting new hires virtually.
Provide an onboarding kit
Onboarding kits are not new. Companies such as Dropbox, Nike, and IBM provide their new employees with office supplies and other practical items to make them feel welcome in the organization.
If you have the budget, consider sending a welcome package to your new hires, as well. Your onboarding kit does not necessarily need to consist of tangible items. You can provide employees vouchers for a restaurant or recreational activities that fit their lifestyle.
Invite new hires to social events
Does your company hold happy hours? Do you organize simple team-building activities to establish camaraderie among employees? You can invite your new employees to these social events to help them socialize with their colleagues and show them that the company values play as much as hard work.
Regardless of whether your company implements a fully remote or hybrid work arrangement, you can still engage both new and tenured employees through remote engagement activities. You can hold virtual coffee breaks, play multiplayer games, and more.
Ask for feedback
You will never know if your onboarding program is effective unless you seek feedback. Doing so will not only help you improve your onboarding activities but also make new employees feel like their insights matter early on in their employment.
As evidence, Talent Board’s 2021 study shows that new employees who were asked about their candidate journey were 91% more willing to increase their relationship with their employer, leading to decreased employee turnover and improved retention. They were also more likely to refer their company to other people.
Soliciting feedback can be as easy as sending out an online survey or scheduling a meeting with new employees before, during, and after onboarding.
Execute an engaging onboarding program
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to onboarding. This process is your opportunity to make a good and lasting impression on your new employees, so make sure that your onboarding program aligns with your company’s values, goals, and bandwidth in manpower and funds.
Additionally, make sure all your onboarding activities focus on culture and connection as they are among the most essential stages of the onboarding process. As employee onboarding expert Talya Bauer, Ph.D. said, it is at the culture level where new hires are exposed to organizational values and norms, while the connection level is where they learn about their organization’s personal relationships and information networks.
Through strategic and intentional planning, your onboarding program can help you engage the right talents who can rally your company to success.
About the Author
M. Alan Shapiro is the CEO of Executive Boutique Call Center, an offshore call center and BPO services provider. Since 2008, he has been helping his clients’ companies grow by providing them with high quality and reliable outsourcing services from their two offices in Cebu, Philippines. He spends his free time snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and gardening.