by Unboxed Staff | March 8, 2021 | 5 Min Read

Employee Onboarding Best Practices: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

Virtual onboarding session

Employee onboarding is a vital part of engaging and retaining the talent you hire. A poor onboarding process can lead to financial and productivity losses in your organization. On the other hand, a good onboarding process can reap many benefits in the short- and long-run.

Is your organization implementing employee onboarding best practices?

Do you know what the best employee onboarding experiences include?

Have you considered, “What is the best employee onboarding process for my team?”

Employee onboarding is often confusing and misunderstood. Knowing and integrating corporate onboarding best practices into your onboarding process will help new hires acclimate to their positions quickly.

If you’re looking for an employee onboarding guide and effective onboarding practices, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’re talking about the ideal onboarding process you need and what the best-in-class onboarding programs include.

Ready to start onboarding like a pro?

→ [Download] Free Employee Onboarding Checklist ←

What Is Employee Onboarding?

Usually, employee onboarding gets boiled down to signing paperwork and showing a new employee around the office on their first day—but that’s just a fraction of the perfect onboarding process.

Yes, it’s essential to get the necessary paperwork filled out correctly. And of course you want to show new employees the office (for an in-person work environment), meet the team, etc. But onboarding is most importantly about setting your new hires up for success so they can begin contributing as quickly as possible.

Effective onboarding practices guide new hires on a journey, starting before day one to the end of their first year (depending on the onboarding process you choose).

The best new hire programs integrate employees into the culture immediately, provide initial training, continuous learning, and walk alongside them for at least the first few months.

Why Is Employee Onboarding Important?

Did you know that voluntary turnover rates have increased by 88% since 2010? If this trend continues, more than one in three employees will voluntarily leave for new job opportunities by 2023.

“Uh oh,” is right. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but this is a big deal for your organization. Think about all of the time and resources you pour into finding, interviewing, hiring, and training employees.

When an employee quits, they don’t just leave a hole in their team, leading to decreased production; it also means that you need to find a new employee to take their place ASAP, which isn’t a cheap process.

So, what’s the best way to retain employees and not become part of the turnover rate statistics?

Implementing an effective employee onboarding program.

The bottom line: your bottom line. The best employee onboarding experiences help retain employees, saving you from reaching the bottom of your budget (who doesn’t want to save the company money?).

Now, it’s time to jump into some logistics of employee onboarding.

Employee Onboarding Best Practices

The best onboarding experience prepares an employee for their job duties, intros them into the work environment, includes them on the team, and provides continuous learning opportunities, so they can contribute new knowledge for years to come.

Creating and implementing the perfect onboarding process has three steps:

  1. Pre-onboarding preparation
  2. Day-one onboarding implementation
  3. Continuous onboarding

Let’s walk through these three new hire onboarding best practices and some key ingredients to make them happen seamlessly.

1. Pre-onboarding Best Practices

A big misconception with onboarding is that it starts on day one when the new hire comes into the office (or logs on remotely given our “new normal” workforce).

The onboarding process should start as soon as the employee accepts an offer. HR, management, and everyone else involved in onboarding should begin preparing them before the employee ever begins working.

Here are some tasks that you can set in motion as soon as you hire an employee:

Starting the onboarding process as soon as the employee is officially hired (in-person or online) allows you to begin orienting and training them immediately.

→ [Download] Free Employee Onboarding Checklist ←

2. Day One Best Practices

A new employee’s first official day of work is a big deal. It’s like a first date: it will be their first impression of the team, the company culture, and what’s expected moving forward. You want it to be informative and enjoyable.

Getting to know the job and the work culture is valuable right from the start. Day one is a time to set expectations and introduce objectives, which will give new employees clarity about their duties and responsibilities. 

Social interaction with other employees on the team is also necessary. With an in-person work environment, you can gather the team in a conference room or all go out to lunch together. 

In a remote environment, you may need to get more creative. One idea is to set up a Zoom meeting with the whole team and use a food delivery service to send lunch to your new hire. Then, everyone can eat lunch together and talk. You could prepare with some virtual games or questions to promote intentional interaction in case the conversation goes flat.

Every new employee should finish day one with a clear understanding of their role, expectations, career opportunities, company culture, and team. 

3. Continuous Onboarding Best Practices

Onboarding shouldn’t stop after day one or even after one month. The best employee onboarding experiences last at least three months but can last up to 12 months. A longer onboarding process can lead to a greater chance of employee retention.

Below are a few ideas to get the ball rolling for a continuous onboarding process.

Ramp Up Production

Work with managers and other employees to find ways to get new hires involved and producing early. Giving your new hire some action steps and goals to accomplish over the first few weeks will help them acclimate to their role and feel like they’re already contributing.

Provide Custom Training

Training your employee is necessary for long-term success in their role. Make sure that you’re providing new employees with the role-specific training they need. 

Custom training provides engaging and interactive content to help employees retain information. Better training that starts early and continues throughout their career will make employees more productive, confident, and proficient at work.

Assign a Mentor or Coach

In tandem with training, assigning a mentor or coach to new employees can go a long way in retention rates and career growth. A coach makes an employee feel valued, pushes them to do their best, and provides a go-to person for questions. It also gives employees someone to talk with when they encounter an issue or problem at work.

Check-in Regularly

One of the most effective onboarding practices is checking in with your new hire regularly and asking for feedback. Schedule regular meetings at the one-month, three-month, and six-month marks (or some other pre-determined interval). Regardless of how often you meet with your employee, they’ll benefit from being asked about their experience so far.

→ [Download] Free Employee Onboarding Checklist ←

The Best-in-class Onboarding Programs

Employee onboarding plays a significant role in the success of any organization. When you follow employee onboarding best practices, you’ll provide an excellent employee experience. 

Effective employee onboarding practices quickly align new hires with the company culture, getting them connected faster. Remember, the best employee onboarding experiences start before the employee enters the office (figuratively, if you have a remote workforce) and continues for three or more months.

Not quite sure how to create and implement the perfect onboarding process for your company?

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we’ve helped organizations like yours understand the need for a custom onboarding experience. Our approach makes onboarding fun and gets new employees geared up faster. Don’t lose employees early in onboarding because your process is outdated—upgrade your employee onboarding experience today.

Request a demo of our employee onboarding training to see how you can start engaging employees earlier and retaining them longer.

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