HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

10 Best Practice Tips for Effective Onboarding—Part 1: The Early Days

An employee’s first hours, days, and weeks with your organization set the stage for a positive relationship. That’s why onboarding is such a critical step in the process. So, how can you take steps to ensure that the process is as successful as possible from both the employee and the organization’s perspectives? Following are some best practice tips for effective onboarding.

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  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that onboarding can’t start until the employee is physically on your premises. Most prospective employees are anxious to learn as much as they can about their new organization and the people they’ll be working and interacting with. Today’s technology makes it possible to connect and engage with employees from the moment they accept your offer. In fact, Aberdeen Group has found that integrating onboarding throughout the recruitment process can help companies achieve best-in-class performance.
  • In any event, it’s helpful to streamline the routine paperwork, and many organizations get this accomplished online before the first day of work
  • If you do take the traditional route of beginning the onboarding process after the employee is officially on board, try to start as soon as possible on his or her first day on the job. In fact, starting on the first day can have a big impact on an employee’s productivity and readiness for the job
  • Get the essentials out of the way first. New employees want to know about their jobs, obviously. But, first, they have a number of other “housekeeping” types of questions that you’ll want to make sure to cover: where are the restrooms, where is the breakroom, how do they get in touch with key colleagues (e.g., phone directory, chat groups, etc.)? Hint: You can gain insights into these important “little things” by asking other employees what they wish they had known, but didn’t, when they were first hired.
  • Provide plenty of time for interacting, networking, and “getting to know you” activities. Don’t make your onboarding process an exercise in show and tell, with all of the showing and telling being done by talking heads. Get new employees involved—with each other and other members of the team—to help them start building relationships.
  • Take steps to ensure new employees feel welcome—and welcomed—right out of the gate. Make sure someone is at the door to greet them on their first day. Have a work space set up for them equipped with the basic supplies they will need. Consider offering welcome gifts—flowers, a coffee mug, lunch certificates, or other welcoming gestures. Ask a colleague to be available to take the new employee out to lunch or invite him or her for coffee. These small gestures can go a long way to easing the stresses of the first day on a new job.

 Best practice onboarding doesn’t end after an employee has been on the job for just a few days or weeks. Next up, some best practice tips for approaching onboarding from a more long-range point of view.