As recruiters, we’re driven to find the perfect new employee to complement our teams. But it’s important to remember that locating our ideal new hire is only the first step. We want to make sure that they feel welcome, settle in quickly, and can make the most of their potential in their new role. This is where employee onboarding comes in.

Employee onboarding is the process of helping your new hires integrate into your company, and embed into their teams. This might seem like an optional task to be included when you’re not busy, but evidence suggests it’s essential.

The employee onboarding process has a significant impact on your staff retention levels. Research suggests that having a great onboarding process can boost the retention of new hires by 82%. Once you’ve found great new talent, onboarding is key to keeping them.

A streamlined onboarding experience also helps your new hire become productive more quickly. The best onboarding can make your new hire 70% more productive, because they quickly understand what is expected of them and have easy access to the help, advice, and support they need to excel.

A great onboarding process is comprehensive but also streamlined. This reduces your workload and keeps your new hire motivated and engaged.

The employee onboarding process

The best onboarding processes support your new hire from the moment you offer them the role to the point that they are fully embedded into your team. This will usually take a minimum of three months and may take a year or more.

Here are the typical stages of employee onboarding programmes and what you are trying to achieve at each stage.

1. Making the offer

Making (and receiving) a job offer should be an exciting moment. At this stage in the onboarding process, you aim to maximise your new hire’s excitement and show them how pleased you are that they’re about to join your team.

2. Waiting for their start date

The period between your candidate accepting your offer and their first day is essential for relationship building. Provide them with enough information to make them feel confident and emphasise that you’re not expecting them to review anything unless they want to.

3. The first day

The first day at a new job can make anyone feel nervous. Your onboarding process is essential to ensure that your new hire feels comfortable and confident and knows what’s expected of them. 

Try scheduling bookend meetings at the start and end of their first day to set the stage and then check how they got on. After that, make sure new hires know how to set up their computer and use their team’s tech and set up a team meeting to introduce everyone they’ll be working with directly. 

4. The first week or month

Creating a structure during the first few weeks and months helps your new hire develop the practices and habits that will enable them to excel. Your onboarding process needs to support them by clearly laying out the structure they need. 

Giving new employees an onboarding checklist to work through during their first month is a great way to familiarise them with their new role. This can include research tasks about the company and clients, tours of different parts of the office, and meetings with different people. 

Or turn that checklist into a scavenger hunt! This is a great way to go if you have a handful of people starting at the same time to help new employees bond and work as a team. 

5. Ongoing support

One of the key aims of the onboarding process is to provide your new hire with the training they need to achieve their potential. The main bulk of your onboarding process should be delivering the right kind of training at the right time.

While your new employees already have the skills for the job — that’s why you hired them after all! — they’ll need to learn how your organisation does things. As they take on more responsibility and work on a wider variety of tasks, make sure to train them on the appropriate processes. You can keep tabs on their knowledge in each area by scheduling regular check-in meetings (monthly is a good time-scale to start) to make sure they don’t feel like they’ve been thrown in the deep end in any particular area. 

6. Ending the process

It’s important for you and your new hire to be able to recognise when they’re fully integrated into the team. Your employee onboarding process needs to have a clear endpoint, preferably one that gives your employee a sense of genuine achievement.

Four ways to streamline the employee onboarding process

1. Avoid duplication

Taking on a new member of staff means admin and paperwork. Asking candidates to complete a tedious onboarding process is one of the most common recruitment mistakes. Make your process as streamlined as possible by only asking for each piece of information once.

Examining your entire recruitment pipeline will often highlight times when you ask for the same information at multiple stages. Removing this duplication frees up your time and provides your new hire with a seamless, frustration-free application and onboarding process.

2. Standardise and then customise your training plan

Training should be a large part of your onboarding process, but that doesn’t mean it should be labour-intensive, time-consuming, or unnecessarily complex.

Offering high-quality training is essential to attracting and retaining great talent. This is especially true for members of Generation Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012 who are starting to enter the workforce. Great training and development is a clear sign that you’re ready to invest in your staff, which helps them feel valued.

The training offered to each new hire depends on two factors: the role’s requirements and the candidate’s skills.

When advertising the role, create a training plan by linking it to the job description. Thinking about the skills and knowledge required to excel can also improve your job advertisements.

Once you have your dream candidate, compare your pre-existing training plan to their CV. If your new hire clearly demonstrates expertise in a specific area, check whether that training is necessary or appropriate. Adapting training plans to your candidates’ needs respects their time and shows trust in their abilities.

3. Share the responsibility

Ensure your onboarding process runs smoothly by making the right people responsible for each stage.

Onboarding a new hire is about integrating them into your organisation as a whole. They’ll need to liaise with different people and departments, including HR, finance, procurement, health and safety, and more.

Keep things running smoothly by having a named contact for each part of the onboarding process. This ensures that your new team member knows who they can ask for help throughout the company and makes it easy to get accurate information quickly.

4. Plan remote onboarding carefully

Like remote interviewing, remote onboarding needs careful attention to make sure it runs smoothly.

Sending your new employee their login details, new laptop, and any other equipment or information they need in advance makes it easy for them to hit the ground running. If they have the opportunity to test out their tech before their first day, that’s even better.

crooton can help you create the perfect onboarding experience

Great onboarding is the best way to make sure that you keep great talent once you’ve found it. If you’re still looking for your next outstanding new employee, don’t worry, can help! Head to the crooton blog to read more about candidate messaging, how to fix common talent pipeline problems, and how to help remote graduate trainees feel like part of the team

And for expert advice, get in touch with the crooton team today!