For many companies, a new year might mean that there’s an opportunity to hire new employees.
While initially exciting, recruiting can be an exhausting process, and interviewing can feel tedious. By the time those processes are “over” (are they ever really over?), it’s not unlikely that hiring managers would leave the thoughts of employee onboarding behind.
While this is understandable, it’s a mistake. Onboarding is the second most important HR practice after recruiting, in regards to economic influence on a business. In other words, onboarding is an incredibly important step in hiring new employees. It shouldn’t be put together at the last moment, let alone forgotten about completely.
Whether you’re starting your onboarding program up for the first time or looking for some new, unique ideas, 2020 is the year to get it right.
Onboarding ideas for 2020
Traditional onboarding often entails boring paperwork, endless PowerPoints, cringey videos from the 90s, and uncomfortable icebreakers. In other words, it’s not always a great experience for new employees. And while this process might be at the bottom of your to-do list to improve, know this: great employee onboarding can improve retention by 82%. That’s no small number.
There’s more to your company than those monotonous activities, and it’s never too late to get a little creative in order to show that off.
Below, we’ve listed some of the ways to make onboarding a more exciting process for both new employees and their hiring managers.
1. Check off the basics
Before you come up with any wild ideas for how you can incorporate your company culture into onboarding, it’s important not to forget the basics of onboarding.
Things such as going over company policies, providing new employees with IT equipment, and check-ins are an absolute must. Make sure that these things are prominent on your onboarding checklist—while these things might be the least exciting part of the onboarding process, they’re absolutely imperative for the success of any employee.
2. Don’t wait until day one
The anxiety behind a new job is real, and not hearing from an employer in between their acceptance and their first day doesn’t help.
In order to alleviate some stress, start onboarding before they walk through the door. A helpful email from HR outlining what to expect their first few days, a quick phone or video call with their new manager so that they can introduce themselves, providing them with access to onboarding software to encourage communication, or even a virtual tour of the office are some of the ways that you can reach out to new hires to keep them out of the dark.
3. Make their first day one to remember
First impressions matter. While you may think that you giving your new employee their job is a first impression, the true test comes on their first day. Creating a friendly, warm, welcoming environment won’t go unnoticed, but if you truly want to blow them out of the water, do the following:
Provide them with some swag. Neatly placing a branded out water bottle, T-shirt, and even a few branded stickers or office supplies to get them started will be the first step to getting an employee truly feeling like part of the team.
Take them out to lunch. Giving new hires a chance to get to know yourself and one another in a less rigid environment makes it easier for them to create casual relationships first, which can then be molded into professional ones later down the line.
While these things feel standard, you’d be surprised at how many companies prefer to have their employees spend their first day filling out paperwork and being sent home early. While that might sound great for some people, it’s not as much fun as telling someone that you spent the morning designing your own custom Bitmoji to be slapped up on the office wall (that’s what G2 did for us!)
4. Keep it creative
One of the most common things that people experience in the onboarding process is boredom. Referenced above, those PowerPoints and paperwork are often necessary, but don’t have to be the only way that you can teach new employees about what it means to work for your company.
Redesigning your employee handbook with some desktop publishing software to make it more friendly, colorful, and attractive is a step to consider; while the information itself can be dry, you’d be surprised what a great infographic or two could do for your new hires.
Physically creative materials are plenty, but if you really want to impress, take the time to make a more meaningful, interactive, and creative experience for new employees.
Replacing icebreakers with scavenger hunts around the office or assigning “quests” like finding the coffee machine or giving the CEO a high five before lunchtime are more than just fun; they encourage collaboration, communication, and teamwork, right off the bat.
5. Introduce them to the team
As technology consumes our lives, it seems that a quick email or Slack message may be all you have to do as an employer to introduce a new employee to the team.
But now, more than ever, it’s important to make things personal. There’s no better way to do so than by taking the time to introduce your new employees to their team with good, old fashioned verbal communication.
Slack and email are fast and seemingly intimate, but they don’t prompt a conversation in the same way that good, old fashioned face-to-face interaction does. By setting up a meeting or even a quick lunch with a few team members to join your new employee, you’ll expose them to new people, give them a chance to ask questions to those who will have the same goals as they do, and begin to build more relationships than they would if they were introduced over a screen.
If you have remote employees and onboarding has to take place via a video conferencing tool, make sure that you’re engaging all employees. Ask everyone to keep their video on and try to encourage all participants to chat and contribute. Consider having a virtual lunch with their new team members where each member conferences in and chat while eating lunch, almost replacing the water-cooler chat that in-office team members get.
6. Assign them a mentor
Even with that in-person introduction, there’s a chance that your new employee may not feel comfortable approaching those same people with questions.
Assigning a mentor to new employees can prevent the event of questions being left unanswered. Having that mentor set up some 1:1 time with that new employee for their first few weeks as they settle in to talk anything feedback, company, and culture can make a world of difference in someone’s confidence.
7. Rotate managers amongst associates
If you’re hiring a manager, it’s never a bad idea to create a program in which they can meet multiple employees in other roles, both higher and lower in the hierarchy than them.
While managers can be onboarded in the same way as an associate in the beginning, it’s important to make sure that they are exposed to the employees who will be working under them and incorporate an educational experience in which they’ll learn the ins and outs of the company, from the bottom up. The day-to-day tasks that they’ll be assigning those below them are just as important as learning internal communication skills with those above them, and week one is as good a place to start as any.
8. Rotate associates amongst higher-ups
It’s just as important for a new associate to become familiar with company management as it is the other way around.
Setting up meetings for a group of new hires with their department manager and even C-Suite executives can help them feel more at home and comfortable asking questions, while providing higher level employees an opportunity to share stories, tips, and experiences to help new hires adjust to their new environment.
9. Don’t stop after week one
Onboarding isn’t a one week process, and it might not even be a one month one. Research has shown that it may take six to 12 months for an employee to feel like they have completely onboarded into a company. Being transparent with employees, providing training opportunities, scheduling check-in meetings on a regular basis, and giving them chances to transition smoothly from one stage of their career into the next are all part of the onboarding process that hiring managers are responsible for. Have them keep track of their training progress throughout the first week, month, and year with a project management tool.
10. Ask for feedback
Whether your company’s onboarding process lasts two weeks or two months, it’s always important to ask for feedback. Although you and your team have taken the time to design the process that new employees go through, they’re the ones experiencing it. Some may wish that something had been explained sooner, some may prefer to have a vegetarian option at lunch, and some may prefer more time to do one activity than another.
Be open to all input that these new employees are providing you, and keep track of what they’re saying. You can even create a survey with both qualitative and quantitative options to present to higher-ups at the end of a new process.
New Year’s resolution: create a great onboarding program
A new year doesn’t just mean new hires – it means new experiences. Providing both your new hires and your hiring team with something fresh to implement and participate in can motivate not only new employees, but your more seasoned ones to work harder, smarter, and have a sense of belonging where it matters most.
By Daniella Alscher, Guest Contributor
Daniella Alscher is a content marketer at G2.com with a focus on marketing automation and graphic design. When she’s not working, she’s hanging out with a good book, watching an intriguing cultural documentary, or eating a PB&J.
What are human resources techniques for keeping the best employees?
- Improve your hiring practices
- Create a structured onboarding program
- Provide a career path
- Respond to employee feedback
- Review performance fairly and often
- Improve work/life balance
- Create an outstanding employee experience
Create a Strategy
In this age of job-hopping, you have to get serious about retention. A haphazard approach will fail. Develop a retention strategy and then weave it into your corporate culture.
Improve Hiring Practices
If you attract higher quality candidates, you’ll have a head start for future retention efforts. Technology and training is key. If you have the resources, hire talent acquisition specialists instead of HR generalists. They can give you a competitive edge in today’s labor market. They will also know how to use the most effective recruiting software. Pay as much attention to the candidate journey as your customer journey. A good ATS provides the best hiring experience. That leads us to our next topic: HR software.
Use Software to Shorten Your Time-to-Hire
If you aren’t using an applicant tracking system (ATS), this should be your first priority. You can’t keep good employees if you can’t hire good employees. And the best employees are hired first. You can’t hire faster without better technology.
An ATS also expands your hiring pool. Especially if your company has multiple openings at a time. ATS’ can quickly advertise on more places online. When you cast a wider net, you will have more options.
The ATS will quickly isolate the best candidates to concentrate on. You can schedule interviews for your finalists. ATS’ speed up decision making with collaboration tools.
The result? You can make an offer before your top pick is snagged by your competitor.
Write Better Job Descriptions
This is a foundational hiring process that many companies neglect. Spend time crafting highly-detailed postings. An effective job description targets the employees you need. This jumpstarts the filtering process.
Improve Your Interviews
Good interviews identify the best candidates in a systematic, non-biased way. A good interview will include the following:
- Two-sided evaluation: let the candidate ask about your company and whether it reflects their values
- Skill validation: make sure the candidate has the skills they list on their resume
- Behavior assessment: ask the candidate to relate experiences that will reveal desired attributes
- Cultural fit: use the experiences shared to decide if the applicant will thrive in your company
- Sell your company: throughout the interview, express your corporate values and company brand
- Structured scoring: create a system that will remove ‘gut feelings’ as a factor (Don’t eliminate an applicant based on an impression.)
Strengthen Your Employer Brand
Identify your values and mission. Solicit feedback from current employees. Make sure you are portraying an accurate picture of your corporate culture.
Read current/former employee reviews on Glassdoor and other evaluation sites. For good or ill, peer reviews are more important than company-created marketing. Use the negative feedback to fix problems.
Express your culture and values consistently across your recruitment marketing. Inspire current employees to be brand champions.
Consider Non-traditional Employees
If you are struggling to find conventional full-timers, consider non-traditional employees. Some of the best workers would rather freelance for several companies. If you need a niche skill, a contractor may provide more expertise. They’ve probably worked for similar companies in your industry. If so, you will benefit from their diverse experience. (And they may be more cost effective.)
Is there a talent shortage in your industry? Some companies hire formerly-retired employees part-time. If you need highly-educated specialists and aren’t having any luck, this may solve your problem. These so-called ‘boomerang’ employees can also serve as mentors for younger employees.
Create a Structured Onboarding Program
It’s well-documented that structured onboarding improves retention. Use an automated onboarding system to help you.
Take away the stress of the first day by telling them in advance where to park and how to clock in. An automated system can send them a welcome email with all pertinent first-day information.
Ensure their manager or someone on their team greets them at the door. Make sure everyone on their team introduces themselves the first day. Set up their workstation before they show up.
Let them complete new-hire paperwork online at their convenience. Onboarding software with e-signature simplifies this.
Don’t cram everything into the first day or week. Prioritize establishing a relationship over completing processes.
Nurture Your Best Employees
Never stop asking for feedback. Train your managers to maintain communication. Especially with employees that are relatively autonomous. Make sure improving the employee experience is part of your culture.
If you have an HR portal, include an anonymous suggestion box for timid employees. As with the peer reviews discussed previously, make changes in response to negative feedback.
Provide a Career Path
If your best employees can’t advance in their career, they aren’t going to stick around. Use ongoing training and mentoring. Promote from within. Your current skilled employees are your best source of future managers and executives.
Conduct Fair Performance Reviews
Structured performance reviews are as important as structured onboarding. Make your process transparent. Keep everyone on a level playing field. Evaluate often. Train your managers on best practices. Human resources software with performance review tools can help you up your game.
Improve Work/life Balance
Schedule flexibility is as important to millennials as a decent salary. Non-traditional schedules and flexible work arrangements aren’t a zero-sum game. Flex-time and work-at-home days can boost productivity if implemented appropriately. And they improve the employee experience significantly. This, in turn, strengthens your company brand.
An automated scheduling system will help. You can easily create and manage non-traditional schedules that keep employees happy. (Without lowering productivity.)
Effective Human Resources Is Your Best Retention Strategy
The Human Resources team shapes every aspect of the employee experience. Hire the best HR professionals. Give them the technology and resources they need to execute a successful hiring and retention strategy.
ApplicantStack Human Resources Software
SwipeClock ApplicantStack provides industry-leading products that help HR professionals improve employee retention. For more information about ApplicantStack Recruit and Onboard, visit ApplicantStack human resources solutions.
Onboarding a new employee can be quite challenging and time-consuming. Every phase of the employee onboarding process is important, so make sure to have a new hire checklist to onboard your new employee. You can use the following outline as a guide, however, every organization will have its own unique requirements. These tasks will need to be adjusted for the type of employment (full time, part time, seasonal), but having an initial, general list will provide a good starting point for different positions. We have outlined a new employee onboarding checklist to make it less daunting.
Create a list of tasks that new employees will need to complete and that current team members will need to work on/setup prior to the new employees first day. Example tasks to put on new hire checklist could include, but are not limited to:
Prepare any State & Federal tax forms that need to be completed. Some of these forms might require input from multiple individuals. Having a system in place where these can be created and completed online can save time and resources. The ability to upload these forms form a library can be beneficial to any busy HR professional.
Having a system in place to easily upload and create fillable forms can make this task much easier.
Prepare any job-related forms that will need to be completed and/or signed by the employee or current team member.
Gather any health insurance forms and benefits information
Identify any computer or other peripheral needs that need to be set up prior to the employee arriving on the first-day
Order any technology equipment
Order phone and create new extension
Obtain a new photo ID
Order business cards
Order any materials/supplies needed by the new employee
Make any arrangements for parking/transportation
Add new employee to relevant email lists Identify any socialization tasks such as a tour of facilities or welcome lunch/meeting
Put together any supporting documents and links to any videos. These should be items that do not require any input or signatures. Example supporting documents might be included on a new hire checklist include, but are not limited to:
Welcome message for new employees
Any training material or videos that will need to be watched Benefit packages to review
Assign tasks from the new employee onboarding checklist to current team members and new hires. An automated process for task reminders is an invaluable tool. Having the ability to set deadlines with reminders will ensure that the tasks will get done. It is also helpful to be able to visually see the progress indicators that show any outstanding tasks.
Assign all tasks to any relevant person with a due date
Order assignments according to time needed to complete tasks and dependencies between tasks
Create email remainders
new hire checklist Monitor completion of tasks on the
Establish clear communication with the new hire. Having an employee portal to facilitate the new hire checklist can make this much easier. An employee portal can be viewed as their own virtual assistant that can help the onboarding process run smoothly. Here are some items to include when using a portal:
Their manager’s contact information
new hire checklist
List of tasks from the Any materials that they need to review and/or sign (from Steps 1 & 2) A progress indicator and list of deadlines to help the new hire complete all the tasks
Review your plan and make necessary tweaks for the next employee. Don’t assume that one new hire checklist is going to fit all employees! Luckily fully-automated tools such as ApplicantStack Onboard allow for on the fly updates and customizations.
Ready to implement your new employee onboarding checklist? Download a copy of our checklist here:
New Employee Onboarding Checklist