11 Steps to Create an Employee Onboarding Experience Like None Other

Crawford Thomas Recruiting Blog

Did you know that the average cost of losing an employee is 33% of their salary?

The sooner an employee quits after hiring, the more disruptive and costly for your business.

One of the keys to making great employees stay is creating an onboarding experience like no other. Onboarding can present multiple friction points for new employees. It is also a key period for establishing first impressions.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies breeze over the onboarding process.

Don’t be that employer. Instead, read on for 11 steps you can implement to create a standout employee onboarding experience that engages and retains new talent.

1. Reach Out Before Day One

One of the top tips to kick off the onboarding process is reaching out to new hires before day one.

Not only should you send a thank you letter after their interview, but once interviewees are successfully engaged you should also send them a welcome email before they start their first day of work.

This will already make new recruits feel valued and appreciated right from the get-go.

You can also welcome new recruits into your organization through an electronic onboarding process.

2. Create a Positive First Day Experience

The next important step is to create a positive first-day experience. After investing in talent acquisition, the last thing you want is to drive new employees away on their very first day.

As the old saying goes, first impressions are everything. If you can create a welcoming environment for your new hire on their first day, this will go a long way to creating a positive first impression of your company.

One of the ways to make them feel welcomed and part of the team is by introducing them to as many people as possible, particularly the employees they will spend the most time working with. Also, make it a point to go beyond static introductions like “John this is Sue.” Instead, elaborate a bit about each person where possible.

For instance, you could say something like “Meet Sue, our resident coffee fiend, golf fanatic, and design mastermind. Sue, this is John, and like you, he also loves golf.”

These types of dynamic introductions pave the way for small talk. They give people an opening gambit and open up conversation starters that will help the new recruit and existing employees get to know each other.

Not only should you try and make new recruits feel welcome, but you should also ensure that the day one onboarding process is as streamlined as possible. Make them realize you were expecting them and prepared for them.

Part of this is ensuring that every one they need to speak with on their first day has an available time slot for them. The last thing you want new recruits to feel is that nobody has time for them.

3. Implement Mentorship and Job Shadowing

Another important step in creating an outstanding onboarding experience for new employees is implementing mentorship programs and job shadowing.

Job shadowing is a highly effective form of on-the-job training that gets new employees into the trenches with their co-workers. Instead of telling new employees how certain jobs get done, job shadowing shows them and gives them concrete examples to draw from. They will also have an experienced employee at their side to explain things as they go.

This not only helps new employees understand how to carry out different tasks, but it also gives them confidence in their new role.

Mentorship programs give new employees direction in their career path. It also demonstrates that your organization cares about their career growth.

Not only are mentorship programs great for new onboarding new hires, but they are also a cost-effect way to foster a learning culture.

4. Establish Clear Goals From the Beginning

A vital part of any effective onboarding program is establishing clear goals from the get-go.

Whether you are working with finance recruiters, marketing recruiters, executive recruiters, or just about any recruiter worth their salt, one of the things they will look for in applicants is self-motivation.

Self-driven individuals work best when they know what their long-term objectives and goals are. They typically don’t like employers and managers to piece feed them tasks and responsibilities.

Establishing goals from the beginning will give your new employees a clear path to work towards and measure their progress at the start. This triggers higher levels of motivation and job satisfaction.

5. Encourage Idea-Sharing and Open Dialogue

Another important step to a stellar onboarding experience is encouraging idea-sharing and open dialogue. What’s the point of putting effort into strategies for hiring great employees if you aren’t interested in their ideas?

Unfortunately, there’s often a pervasive idea that new employees aren’t worth listening to because they don’t have experience in the organization.

In reality, new employees may have very valuable insights to contribute. They can look at your strategies and processes with fresh eyes, and bring ideas and experiences from their previous jobs to the table. This can be highly advantageous and even allow for cross-pollination of insights between industries.

If you welcome idea sharing and open dialogue, this can also make new employees feel valued, respected, and like they are part of the team.

6. Bring Company Culture to the Forefront

If you want to provide your new employees with a cohesive onboarding experience you should also make a point to bring company culture to the forefront.

According to reports, workers value a strong company culture above higher pay. A recent study revealed that 56% of employees felt that good company culture was more important than salary. What’s more 75% of respondents said they would consider a company’s culture before accepting a job.

If your organization doesn’t have a strong company culture, now is the time to start building one. Creating a positive company culture can take time, and should be an ongoing focus.

One of the best ways to perpetuate and solidify a positive company culture is to share it with new employees and enfold them into it.

You can start by giving them any company culture documents to go through. You should also ensure that the entire onboarding process has the stamp of your organization’s culture on it.

For a start, make sure that all documents are branded. If you have a welcome box, this too should be aligned with your brand and company culture. The more you can imbue the onboarding experience with your organizational culture, the faster new employees will be able to assimilate it and become a part of it.

Besides these physical branding and cultural elements, you should also make sure new employees get a chance to socialize with existing employees. Socializing will introduce them to the culture in a far more effective way than any set of company culture guidelines.

Some ways you can encourage socializing are through organizing team lunches, team building activities, wellness activities, an after-work cocktail hour, etc.

7. Don’t Pressurize New Employees to “Hit the Ground Running”

If you want to create a positive onboarding experience for new employees, don’t make the mistake of pressurizing them to “hit the ground running.”

Integrating fully into a new company and role can take months. It is unfair to expect new recruits to get up to speed before they have fully integrated.

If new employees feel pressured to reach top performance right away, this can make their onboarding experience very stressful.

What’s more, pressure to perform immediately can actually work against them. Instead of being able to focus on learning the ropes, new employees who are under pressure will likely rush through these learning moments in an effort to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

8. Automate the Paperwork

Another top tip for creating an exemplary onboarding experience is to automate the paperwork process for new hires. This way employees can fill out their forms in their own time, and it won’t have to be a main focus on their first day of work.

There are a variety of tools and apps you can use for automating employee onboarding and paperwork. Some of these solutions cater specifically to the onboarding process, and others to payroll and general HR.

No matter what solution you use, ideally, you should send all necessary documents to new employees before their first day. That way once they arrive at work all of that will be out of the way.

This frees up a lot more time for core first-day onboarding activities, such as a guided office tour, introductions to other staff members, etc.

9. Get Things Ready for New Employees Before They Arrive

Another way you can streamline the first day and create a positive onboarding experience is by preparing thoroughly for their arrival.

There are a lot of small things you can prep that will streamline the first day. Doing this will not only save time, but it will also make new employees feel appreciated and welcomed.

For instance, make sure you set up their desk, computer, phone, and logins so their workstation is ready to go when they arrive. Organize things like email addresses, name tags, and stationary before the time, and ensure that the front desk is expecting them.

One of the most offputting experiences for a new hire is arriving at an organization where the receptionist hasn’t a clue who they are or where they’re meant to go.

Make sure someone is ready to meet them and show them around. You can also prepare a list of answers to common questions, such as:

  • Where can I park?
  • Is coffee provided?
  • Where are the bathrooms?
  • Where can I eat?
  • Can I take personal calls?

Another streamlined way to answer these types of common questions is in your employee handbook.

10. Prep Existing Employees

You should also prepare the rest of your staff to welcome the new hire. If other staff members are unaware that a new employee is joining them, they might be thrown off guard.

To ensure your new employee gets a warm welcome from everyone, send out an email to your staff ahead of time alerting them to the new hire, and sharing particulars like their name, their role, and any personal info such as their hobbies or favorite foods.

To give everyone a chance to get to know the new employee, you can also organize a team or company lunch or a get-together after work. This will give everyone a chance to mingle socially with the new hire.

All of these small touches can go a long way to making new employees feel appreciated right from the moment they arrive. Stats show that 79% of people who quit their jobs do so because of a lack of appreciation. Making new employees feel appreciated is essential for retaining them and creating a positive work environment.

11. Do Regular Check-Ins on Your New Hires

As we mentioned above, onboarding isn’t just a one-day affair. It can take many weeks or months for a new employee to integrate and operate at full capacity in their position.

Therefore, make sure that the onboarding experience extends beyond just the first couple of days. One way to do this is by conducting regular check-ins with new team members.

You can schedule periodic check-ins they can prepare questions and feedback for. Besides this, you can also make a point of informally checking in on new hires by swinging by and asking them if everything is alright.

If new employees are working from home you can conduct check-ins via one-on-one remote meetings. For informal check-ins, you can shoot them an email every so often, connect with them on the phone, or via collaboration software like Slack.

Create an Incredible Onboarding Experience With These Tips

A comprehensive onboarding process is essential for retaining the talent you hire and reducing employee turnover.

According to statistics, 76% of human resource leaders report that their onboarding processes are underutilized. What’s more, 24% don’t even have an onboarding process.

Differentiate yourself from the pack and use these tips to create an incredible onboarding experience for new hires.

Are you in need of new talent for your organization? Whether you are looking for reliable IT recruiters, sales recruiters, healthcare recruiters, engineering recruiters, or legal recruiters—we can help.

Crawford Thomas is a team of leading HR recruiters. We not only fill staffing needs, we partner with organizations to find out how their recruiting needs tie into their business objectives. Through this, we are able to meet your staffing needs in a way that achieves organizational success.

Start securing top talent by visiting our page for employers today.

Crawford Thomas Recruiting11 Steps to Create an Employee Onboarding Experience Like None Other