New Employee Onboarding:

Best Practices to Get New Hires Up to Speed Quickly

Modern businesses face a new challenge in the digital world — getting new employees up to speed quickly. With technology playing a more significant role in the workplace, having a solid onboarding process is more vital than ever.

There's a fine line between throwing new hires into the deep end and overwhelming them with too much information. The goal is to set them up for success without bogging them down.

Besides, remote and hybrid work models are blurring the lines between new and veteran employees. So, how can you create an employee onboarding process that works for everyone?

This chapter will cover best practices for onboarding team members in remote, hybrid, and on-premise settings. We'll also look at common onboarding mistakes and how to avoid them.

On-Premise: A New Look Into an Old Setting

While technology has changed the workplace, some aspects of onboarding remain the same — especially if your company is on-premise.

For example, you'll still need to introduce new hires to their team, review job expectations, and provide training on company culture and values.

The big difference is that you'll need to be more intentional about your onboarding process. 

That's because there's less face-to-face interaction and more opportunity for things to get lost in translation.

Here are a few best practices for onboarding in an on-premise setting:

Get the team involved

Team involvement isn't just another buzzword — it's essential for a successful onboarding experience. 

When new employees feel they're part of a team, they're more likely to be engaged and productive. Still, 66% of U.S. employees felt disengaged in 2021.

How can you get your team involved in the onboarding process?

One way is to create an onboarding buddy system. Assign new hires a buddy who can help them acclimate to the company culture and answer any questions they have.

You can also involve your team by having them help create onboarding materials. Ask for input on what information is most important for new employees. Doing so will help you tailor the process to your specific situation.

Improve face-to-face experiences

On-premise has one significant advantage over remote or hybrid workplaces — face-to-face interactions. Use that to your advantage by incorporating more in-person experiences into your onboarding process.

For example, you could start with a half-day of in-person orientations, allowing new hires to meet their team and get a feel for the office. You could also use this time to review company policies and procedures.

Another way to improve the employee experience is to host regular lunch-and-learns. 

Lunch-and-learn events are a great way to introduce new employees to the company culture and values. It's also a chance for them to get to know their teammates in a relaxed setting.

By incorporating more face-to-face experiences into your onboarding process, you can help new employees feel comfortable and part of the team.

Tap into the right technology

Being on-premise doesn't mean you have to forgo technology. Various tools can improve the onboarding process.

For example, you can use a learning management system (LMS) to deliver online training. LMS systems are especially helpful if you have employees in different locations.

You can also use an employee portal to centralize your onboarding materials. This way, new hires can access everything they need in one place without having to search through email threads or ask their teammates for help.

A document management system allows you to store all your onboarding materials — from job descriptions to company policies — in one place. It's a great way to keep your process organized and ensure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Some other helpful technology tools include:

  • You can use video conferencing software for team meetings, training sessions, and one-on-one check-ins.
  • Streamlining the onboarding process can be difficult. Project management software can help by allowing you to assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress.
  • HRIS systems automate various onboarding tasks, from sending offer letters to tracking new employee compliance.

By incorporating technology into your onboarding process, you can make it more efficient and streamlined.

Dump the paperwork

Digitizing your onboarding process is especially important when it comes to paperwork.

Ditching the paper can help you save time and money. It also makes it easier for onboarding new employees and helps them access the information required.

For example, you can use an online form builder to create digital versions of your onboarding paperwork. This way, new hires can fill out the forms electronically.

You can also use an e-signature tool to have employees sign documents electronically. This is a great way to save time and avoid the hassle of printing, scanning, and emailing paperwork, which can often get lost in the shuffle.

Digitizing your onboarding paperwork can help you improve your process and make it more efficient.

You can automate various onboarding tasks, like sending offer letters and tracking employee compliance.

Make it a two-way street

Onboarding isn't just about orienting new employees to your company. It's also about allowing them to provide feedback and ask questions.

Ensure you create a two-way communication channel, so new hires feel comfortable speaking up. You can do this in various ways, such as:

  • Hosting regular check-ins: Check-ins allow new employees to ask questions and provide feedback. You can also use them to identify any areas where new employees may need additional training.
  • Open communication: Encourage new hires to speak up if they have questions or concerns. Let them know that there's no such thing as a stupid question.
  • Setting up an anonymous feedback system: An anonymous feedback system can be used to collect feedback from new employees throughout the onboarding process. This is a great way to get honest feedback and identify areas that need improvement.

Hybrid Work Model: Best Practices for Remote Onboarding

The pandemic has forced many companies to adopt a hybrid work model, with employees working remotely and in the office. If you're one of these companies, you may be wondering how to best develop a remote employee onboarding process.

Here are a few tips:

Organize your remote onboarding process

Picture this: You've just hired a remote worker.

They're all set to start on Monday. But when Monday rolls around, there's no clear plan for their onboarding.

Your HR team is scrambling to figure out what needs to be done and who's responsible for doing it. A week goes by, and the new team member is still in the dark about their job.

That isn't an ideal situation for anyone involved.

To avoid this scenario, ensure your remote onboarding process is well-organized, which means having a clear plan of what needs to be done and who's responsible for it.

You should also create a timeline for onboarding, so everyone knows what to expect. This will help ensure that the process runs smoothly and that no one is left in the dark.

Treating your onboarding process like a project will help you stay organized and on top of things. Instead of having one person responsible for the entire process, assign specific tasks to different team members.

Rather than relying on email or instant messaging, use a project management tool to keep everyone on the same page. You will avoid miscommunication and improve the overall efficiency of your remote employee onboarding process.

Get creative with your onboarding content

Just because your employees are remote doesn't mean they can't benefit from an engaging onboarding experience. You may need to get even more creative with your content to capture their attention.

For example, you could create an interactive video tour of your company's remote work setup. This would give new hires a chance to see what their workspace will look like and get a feel for the company culture.

You could also create a welcome package for new remote employees. This could include a company t-shirt, coffee mug, or notepad.

Schedule a virtual happy hour or team-building activity, so new hires can get to know their co-workers. Doing so will help them feel like they're part of the team and make the transition to a remote work environment more manageable.

Some other ideas include:

  • Tap into gamification: Use games and quizzes to make learning fun and engaging. For instance, you could create a quiz that tests new hires on company policies or procedures.
  • Include a mix of content: Don't just rely on text-based content. Use videos, images, infographics, and other types of content to keep things interesting.
  • Make it personal: Add a personal touch to your onboarding content. For example, you could include a handwritten note from the CEO in each new hire's welcome package.

Make compliance a priority

Various compliance issues need to be addressed during the onboarding process. This includes sexual harassment training, I-9 verification, and drug testing.

It's vital to make compliance a priority from the start. This sets the tone for how you expect employees to conduct themselves.

One way to do this is to build compliance into your onboarding process. For example, you can require all new employees to complete sexual harassment training within their first week on the job.

You can also make compliance a part of your onboarding materials. This way, new employees are aware of your expectations from the start.

Set up a mentor program

A mentor program can be a great way to help new employees adjust to their new roles. This is especially true for remote employees who may not have as much interaction with their co-workers.

Each team member is paired with a more experienced employee in a mentor program. The mentor can provide guidance and support as the new hire settles into their job.

Mentors can answer questions, offer advice, and help new hires feel more comfortable in their new roles. They can also provide a welcome distraction from the sometimes overwhelming onboarding process.

If you don't have the resources to set up a formal mentor program, you can still encourage more experienced employees to reach out to new hires. You could do this through a simple email or an announcement at a team meeting.

For example, you could email everyone in the company, introducing the new hire and asking if anyone is interested in mentoring them.

You could announce your next team meeting, asking if anyone is interested in being a mentor.

You can even build a rewards program for employees who mentor new hires. This could include gift cards, extra vacation days, or a bonus.

Develop an Effective Onboarding Process

Fundamentals and best practices are vital for any business owner or manager wanting to create an engaging and effective employee onboarding program. 

Ensuring that your process covers all the key areas, you can help your new hires hit the ground running and become productive team members.

With some planning and creativity, you can set up an onboarding program to help your new employees feel welcome, engaged, and prepared for their new roles.


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