5 Ways to Improve Your Onboarding Process

Most managers are aware of how daunting the onboarding process can be; particularly if you’re onboarding a new employee virtually. 

At surface level, onboarding may appear to be primarily logistics, such as obtaining a new computer or creating an email address. While the logistics are important, other pieces of onboarding can set-up the new employee for long-term success.

These critical pieces include:

    • Clear definition of the role.
    • Getting the team involved early.
    • Building deep team relationships.

In order to excel at the list above and a long list of logistics, a company should lean on an intentional onboarding process that eases stress for all parties. 

Most companies are already doing this, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In their 2011 onboarding practice research, they reported over 80% of organizations surveyed stating they had formal or informal orientation programs

While most organizations have an established onboarding process, employees are entirely different than there were just a few years ago. It’s time for many to revisit their onboarding process and implement best practices for new technology and employee needs.

Whether you’re just getting started or already have a vetted system, these 5 tips can help improve your in-person and virtual onboarding experience:


Clearly Define the Role

Clear definition of the role during onboarding is a major factor in how successful an onboard is in the short and long term. 

Both internally and externally, it provides a better understanding for all involved in the onboarding process. On top of that, it generally improves employee experience, and supports the efficiency of an organization.

For the new employee, showcase what they will need to be successful, and how their success can lead to growth. It’s imperative that expectations and growth paths for this person are understood well. It’s also worthwhile to show the new employee where they fit in the organizational chart.

For the current team, share the information given to the new employee, and make their role in the organization clear. It’s much easier to collaborate and build an onboarding plan when the role is tightly defined. 


Get the Team Involved Early

Before the new employee steps through the (physical or virtual) doors on their first day, there’s significant planning to be done. 

A team-wide notice is an opportunity to ask employees to prepare for the onboarding well in-advance. This empowers the right team members to jump into the process as needed, and affords extra time for hand-written notes, relationship-building, and training plans.

It’s also an opportunity for team members to introduce themselves, offer a helping hand, and begin to build relationships with the new employee. This could take life in the form of in-office introductions, or something as simple as a virtual “hello!” on LinkedIn.

When current employees are involved earlier, onboarding and training are done much more efficiently.


Send a Welcome Package 

Being gracious and welcoming is the start to building a relationship with a new employee, and leads to them feeling equally as lucky to be a part of the team.

A unique way to display gratitude is with a welcome package. A welcome package is a thoughtful piece of onboarding that involves a box of relevant gifts being shipped to the employee’s house a few days before they start. 

A welcome package could include:

    • Hand-written welcome letters.
    • Company t-shirts, mugs, and other apparel.
    • Useful office supplies like pens, notepads, sticky notes.
    • Tech and gadgets like a laptop, tablet, or monitor.
    • Different variations of food and snacks.
    • Copy of the employee handbook.
    • New employee forms, such as:
      • I-9 form.
      • Direct deposit form.
      • Emergency contact form.
      • Compensation and benefits package information.
      • Company directory.

Sending a welcome package is a great kickoff for new hires. It creates positive momentum, excitement, and is a great tool for the virtual workplace.


Ease First-Day Anxieties

Day one can be stressful as it’s unknown territory for the new employee. Luckily, there are ways to ease anxiety and have everyone feeling ready and confident:

  • Setup hardware and software before the first day. 
  • For remote workers, assure that they have the accounts needed to communicate virtually before their first day.
  • Showcase how technology and platforms are used.
  • Have their desk setup nicely before arrival.
  • Clearly outline a training plan so the new hire knows what to expect for the first few weeks.
  • Introduce them to each member of their team and people they’ll work closely with. 
  • In virtual workspaces, set up one-on-one introduction calls with relevant team members.
  • Encourage other team members to reach out or introduce themselves.


Assigning a Work Buddy

The buddy system is a great onboarding and knowledge resource for new employees. In short, the buddy system involves assigning a new hire a workplace buddy for their first few months. This is an employee who guides new hires through the early stages of their onboarding and work.

They’re primarily responsible for offering advice and guidance, but will also be an encourager, and a general resource.

There are a few characteristics that a good work buddy has:

  • Honest, clear communication.
  • Positive outlook, drive & motivation.
  • Strong job performance.
  • Strong leadership & emotional intelligence.

These traits allow this person to be a single point-of-contact that can answer basic questions, maximize new hire productivity, and increase confidence.


In Summary

Assuring new hires feel prepared, valued, and welcomed in their first months is incredibly important. It leads to team efficiency, strong retention, and deep workplace relationships.

Investing time into refining and improving your onboarding process is incredibly pivotal. 

CPS Recruitment has a wealth of knowledge in employee recruitment and onboarding. If you’re looking to place new candidates, click here to learn more!

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