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How do you perform the best employee onboarding process every time?

by | 14 Aug, 2018 | People

Your new employee onboarding process is one of the most important things to get right. It sets the tone for your relationship and your new employee’s expectations for the role and your organisation. Think about it:

Scenario A
Everyone has a different experience. Antony walked in to a box of chocolates on his desk, was taken out to lunch with his manager, and then his colleagues invited him to after work drinks on Friday. Alan was subjected to a 2-hour ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentation about your products/services, which he now can’t remember because he was busy just trying to remember everyone’s names. And Alice walked into a room of unfamiliar faces staring back at her, where no-one said ‘hello’ because no-one was even expecting her.

Scenario B
All new employees are sent a pre-joining letter setting out expectations for their first day (what to wear, where to park, nearest places for lunch), they’re greeted in reception by their manager, taken to a desk that has their favourite biscuits on, they’re taken out for lunch with the team, and given a number of small presentations over the course of the first week to bring them up-to-speed on your offering.

Obviously scenario B is the preferred route. But why is it so hard to achieve? After all, it’s just a number of simple steps:

  • Send a pre-joining letter using a template
  • Find out new the new employee’s favourite biscuits
  • Purchase biscuits
  • Send a notification to the team informing them about the new hire, and communicate when they’re starting and what they’re responsible for
  • Book time in the relevant people’s diaries to give template presentations during the first week
  • Book a table for the team lunch on the new employee’s first day
  • Get the manager to greet the new member of staff in reception
  • The manager to formally introduce the new hire to the rest of the team

5 steps to a great onboarding process

Establishing a good, repeatable onboarding process isn’t difficult:

1. Write it down: it doesn’t matter what you write, what order you write it in, or even if you miss things, but just write it down. Now you have a starting point to improve upon.

2. Involve the team: you could perform an employee survey asking what the best things were about their induction, or what they think would make someone entering the business feel welcome.

3. Invite your peers to collaborate: ask other managers across the business to contribute, adding/deleting steps, re-ordering things, attaching templates for the pre-joining letter or presentations they share with new starters – after all, this needs to be a template onboarding process that can be rolled out to any person, at any level in any department.

4. Make the process visible to everyone: it’s no use having a complicated flow diagram locked away on a shared team site on your intranet that no-one ever looks at. Find a way of making your process known to everyone, and simple for them to follow.

5. Encourage feedback: processes are a moving target and should be continuously improved so that your new employee experience gets better and better. Get the team to share their favourite restaurants in town for that first day lunch. Ask for ideas on what other goodies to put on the desk with the biscuits – a cup of tea in a branded mug?

Dream big

When a new employee joins your organisation, it’s your chance to show why you’re the most fabulous company in the world, so throw everything you can at it. You might be tempted to set parameters, such as a budget per head, but all this does is constrain people’s thinking.

Tell your team that anything is possible, and they’re empowered to make it happen, and you’ll see the ripples throughout your organisation. Your team isn’t stupid, they’re not going to run off and book a luxury cruise for everyone. But they might book a night out in an escape room with dinner and drinks, which as well as providing the ultimate onboarding experience:

  • Keeps your wider team happy, motivated and feeling like their contribution matters
  • They’re likely to post about it on social media, which positions you as a great company to work for and builds your reputation
  • The new employee is more inclined to give you a top-rated Glassdoor review
  • It’s a great team building exercise and demonstrates that anyone new isn’t a threat
  • Demonstrates your company values at play

If you have ambition to be the best, the secret to success is onboarding a great team that want to make your vision a reality.


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