7 Tips for Optimizing Your Employee Onboarding Process


According to this Forbes article, 20 percent of all employee turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment. One of the major contributing factors to new hires quitting so fast is a poor employee onboarding process.

Your onboarding strategy influences the employee journey and experience, and building an exceptional program will greatly improve employee retention. For most employers, onboarding is a boring, overwhelming process. But it doesn’t have to be.

With a Gallup study showing only 12 percent of employees strongly agree that their organization is doing a great job onboarding new staff, what can you do to improve your employee onboarding process?

Best Practices to Improve the Employee Onboarding Process

Considering that it can take up to 12 months for a new hire to perform at full capacity, an effective onboarding process plays a crucial role in every company’s new hire plan. Keep in mind that onboarding has a direct influence on employee morale and can improve performance by up to 11.5 percent, according to Recruiting Roundtable.

Below, you’ll find useful tips to create an optimized onboarding plan and set each team member up for success.

1. Personalize the Onboarding Experience

You need to understand that each employee is unique and must therefore personalize their experience as much as possible. In addition, each division, department, or team will be working on different matters.

That’s why it’s crucial to create an onboarding process that’s adaptable and supports a personalized experience.

For example:

  • If you allow remote work, you’ll need to specify the start and end times for remote workers, which is likely different from those of on-site workers.
  • The process will be different when onboarding an executive, a contract worker, or a fully remote employee.
  • Training will be different, based on the department, employee’s learning style, and employee’s approach to work.

Creating a personalized onboarding experience will make the new hire feel more valued and better supported, compared to a standardized program.

Along those same lines, consider providing a structured approach that helps new hires understand priorities, roles, and expectations. Here are some of the areas to focus on:

  • What are the department’s or team’s goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs)?
  • What are their individual KPIs?
  • Provide an overview of their potential career path
  • Discuss management style and approach
  • Offer details about bonuses, PTO, performance appraisal, and so on
  • Discuss the chain of command and how decisions are made in the organization
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Giving new employees an in-depth look at how they should approach things and how processes are run helps ensure things go smoothly.

2. Engage New Hires Early On

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is failing to maintain regular communication with the new hire. They wait until they report to work to start the onboarding process. What you don’t know is that top talent receives multiple offers, and you can easily lose them to competitors if there isn’t effective communication in place.

A good onboarding process starts right at the moment you find a qualified candidate. You should maintain consistent communication and support to the candidate between the period they accept the offer and their first day on the job. Not only will this make them feel valued, but it will also help make their first day less overwhelming.

3. Implement Automation

HR managers have a lot on their plates, and doing everything manually can be tedious and time-consuming. Not to mention, HR won’t have time to connect with the new hire. By aligning artificial intelligence (AI) into your onboarding platforms, you create an effective system that walks employees through all the procedures.

Such systems can answer the high volume of questions that are asked repeatedly, like how to fill out an invoice, where to park, and so on. What’s more, since it’s AI, it’s smart enough to learn things about you and tailor the answers to suit you best.

Automation gives HR managers more time to focus on welcoming new hires and establishing that critical human connection. It also helps them build stronger relationships that will help improve employee retention.

4. Provide Your New Hire with a Buddy

Assigning a mentor or buddy to your new hire can go a long way in reducing first-day anxieties and helping them adapt more easily. Consequently, they will feel more welcome and likely to become more productive faster.

Having a peer in a new working environment helps one feel more relaxed and connected. Plus, they know who to reach out to with questions or issues. What’s more, a mentor provides an opportunity for growth and development.

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However, before assigning your new hire a mentor or buddy, be sure to check in with them to ensure they have the time, knowledge, and interest to become a mentor.

5. Provide Interactive Onboarding

While training materials are a must-have to bring new hires up to speed, they don’t make for great weekend reading. Including videos, images, webinars, and quizzes make them more engaging and easier for employees to comprehend.

Videos are a great way to communicate your company’s culture and show what it’s like to work there. A recent survey shows that 83 percent of employees prefer to watch videos when learning something new. Screenshots can also do wonders when sharing information, company culture, and knowledge.

6. Share Company Culture Early On

While your company vision, mission, values, and culture should be shared in the employee handbook, consider “walking them” through it all. For example, if your mission is to create a sense of belonging, you need to convey the corporate culture consistently. Plus, your new hires should experience it.

Remember, the onboarding process gives you a chance to align your company goals with those of the new employee. Streamlining the process promotes a positive experience, helps them understand the purpose of your company, and familiarizes themselves with the various platforms you use.

Take an example of a time tracker. You must help the new staff member learn how to use the tool, the benefits of using a time tracker, and who to approach when they have issues with the platform. The same goes for all other productivity apps that you use in your organization.

7. Constantly Review Your Onboarding Process

Another excellent way to optimize your onboarding process is to solicit feedback, learn from it, and make changes accordingly. Find effective ways to collect feedback from employees, managers, department heads, and buddies. For example, you can send out anonymous surveys where you ask questions like:

  • What areas of the onboarding process did you find most interesting?
  • What are some strengths and weaknesses of the onboarding process?
  • What needs to be adjusted?
  • How can you describe the buddy system?
  • Do you feel like the onboarding process is tailored to your departmental goals and objectives?

Asking these questions will provide insightful data that can prove beneficial in improving your employee onboarding process. Most importantly, consider making changes to the process based on the feedback. This way, employees will feel heard and involved.

Retain Top Talent by Optimizing Onboarding

A personalized and interactive onboarding experience for new hires can provide a positive first impression, one that will pay off for employers and employees. Most importantly, strive to keep the program up to date by gathering feedback and reviewing it regularly.


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