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HR 101: The full guide to employee onboarding

Frank Mittag

It's no secret that first impressions are crucial for running a successful business. But the impression made on consumers isn't the only one that matters.

All too often businesses overlook how important the onboarding process is for retaining qualified employees. Onboarding is different from orientation. 

Onboarding guarantees your company completes the proper paperwork prior to an employee's first day. This puts new hires on the right track for a productive start. 

Did you know that 17% of employees reported leaving a company due to a lack of onboarding support? Don't lose valuable hires because of a disorganised onboarding process.

Keep reading to discover the importance of onboarding and how it's done!

Getting started with employee onboarding

What most people don't realise is that the onboarding process begins long before the employee's first day on the job.

When done right, onboarding prepares both the new hire and the employer for a smooth and successful transition. 

The first day

All too often, the pressure to perform on the first day is placed squarely on the shoulders of the new hire. Not only is this unfair but it's impractical.

The proper onboarding process is performed by the current staff for new employees. Which is why the "Before First Day" checklist is directed at your company's onboarding team.

You must do several things before the employee's first day including filling out the necessary paperwork and creating email and log-in information. This onboarding checklist helps you get the basic procedures out of the way so you can focus on more important things.

New hires should walk into an organised and structured work environment. An effective onboarding process shows new employees that you're a professional, well-run company.

Another component of a successful first day is social interaction. Preparedness helps new hires feel comfortable and welcomed in the office. 

Luckily, kiwiHR's onboarding checklists guarantee you'll have everything covered when it comes time to welcome incoming employees.

First day for managers

In business, first impressions are everything. And as professionals, you and your managers want to make a good impression on your staff from the beginning.

The best way to do this? Introduce employees to the company resources, culture, and policies from the start. This includes going over employee handbooks, resources, best practices, and expectations. 

You also want new employees to feel welcome and eager to start work with your team. Give them a tour of the building, introduce them to the staff, and at the conclusion of the day, ask if they have any questions.

Positive company culture sets the tone for the entire employee experience.

Set tasks for new hires

While you want to ease new hires into the work environment, that doesn't mean you can't task them with small jobs from the onset. After all, teamwork is likely an important part of your business mission.

After going over the company policies and procedures (and addressing any questions or concerns), give the new hire a simple job. Make sure it's something that helps familiarise them with your company's software and tools. 

All new employees will adjust at a different pace. Make accommodations for your staff's individual learning curves. For most, around a week is an adequate amount of time to learn the system and routines.

You can set a due date for this process using kiwiHR's onboarding checklists.

First month

After the new hire has settled in, it's time to offer constructive feedback. Following the first month of work, you can share your observations including areas for improvement and jobs they excel in.

How have they adjusted to the rules and regulations? Are they properly using the software? How are their inter-office interactions?

The more detailed feedback you can offer, the better. This gives employees the opportunity to address specific issues and improve.

Don't forget to offer praise, as well. Tell new hires all the things they're doing right. This not only boosts confidence and morale, but new employees can use their strengths to help address some of their weaknesses. 

Did you know that 20% of staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment? Don't let your new hire become a statistic.
Introduce all incoming employees to your company's perks and benefits as an incentive. Also, offer them clear direction on your expectations. This eliminates any confusion or misunderstandings.

Other tips for successful employee onboarding

Each company's onboarding process will look slightly different. But the basic principles remain the same – preparation, proper training, and a warm welcome go a long way.

Here are a few additional tips and tricks to keep in mind when designing your onboarding process and checklists.

Put it in writing

Unfortunately, words are often open to interpretation. Even when you think you've fully explained processes and procedures to new staff, they might be confused. And in some cases, afraid to ask for clarification.

To avoid any confusion or mistakes on the job, be sure to put everything in writing – from policies and procedures to your company culture and mission statement.

For both new hires and managers performing the onboarding process, goals and objectives should be written with detail and provide actionable steps. This also ensures consistency across the board.

Put names to faces

This tip is especially helpful if you run a large-scale business. Create a chart detailing every staff member in-house. Include pictures, positions held, contact information, and even hobbies or talents.

This makes it easier for new hires to make connections and create relationships without feeling shy or uncomfortable.

Assign a mentor

When you hire someone to fill a certain role, set them up for success by pairing them with a mentor. Choose someone who can act as a mentor for your new employee.

Mentors offer one-on-one training and the opportunity to share their expertise and experience within the company. Just be careful who you choose – the last thing you want is for staff to pass on bad habits.

Onboarding made easy

Onboarding is made easy using kiwiHR's expansive and detailed checklists. Not only will you save time but you'll ensure productivity from day one with kiwiHR's onboarding checklist templates.

What makes kiwiHR's onboarding checklists even better is the ability to adapt them to your specific company needs. This means creating an individually-designed onboarding process that works best for you and your staff.

Ready to learn more about how kiwiHR's checklists can transform the onboarding process for you? Check out our pricing page and or a free trial today!


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