Employee Onboarding Process: Overview & Easy-To-Use New Hire Checklist

Onboarding, or the process of inducting and assimilating a new employee into a company, is a critical task for organizations. Making sure that your new employee feels part of the business and is up and running as quickly as possible will impact on their productivity and improve your overall staff retention rates. Get the process wrong and you could find yourself spending valuable time and resources on replacing an employee that leaves prematurely. And the truth is that streamlined, consistent onboarding processes are easily achievable by adopting a systematic, methodical approach. The end result is an enhanced experience from both the perspective of the individual staff member and the business as a whole. In this post, we look at what makes for an effective employee onboarding process. We then summarize all the steps you need to take in a downloadable, easy-to-use new hire checklist. Finally, we consider how an intranet can support effective onboarding and provide some practical ways in which the intranet makes things easier.

Onboarding Definition

Before we can get started on setting out the elements of an effective onboarding process, we need to be clear about the definition of onboarding. Sometimes referred to as induction or orientation, basically, onboarding is the process a new employee goes through to learn about and adjust to a new job and organization. It goes beyond the obvious aspects such as having a functioning workstation from day one, or a warm and friendly greeting from colleagues. These will, of course, play a big part in taking the stress out of the process for any new employee. However, formal onboarding is more about the mechanisms the organization have in place to ensure new employees quickly become productive team members through acquiring the required knowledge, skills, and behaviors.

Benefits Of Effective Onboarding

employee onboarding definition

The accepted wisdom is that the total cost of losing an employee is roughly 1.5 to 2 times the annual salary. For a manager making $80,000 a year, that’s $120,000 to $160,000 in recruitment and training expenses. The math is really quite simple: retaining existing employees is more cost-effective than recruiting new ones. And an effective onboarding process provides an essential foundation for a long and productive relationship between employer and employee.

There is also a range of other hidden costs to consider. These include:

  • The costs due to lost productivity as it will take a new recruit time to achieve the productivity levels of an existing staff member.
  • A drop in customer service and possible errors as the new hire will typically take longer and will be less adept at solving problems.
  • The knock-on effect of the employee leaving on the morale and productivity of other team members.

In fact, research tells us that an effective onboarding process can achieve the following:

  • 52 percent increase in staff retention rates
  • 60 percent increase in time to productivity for the new hire
  • 53 percent increase in overall customer satisfaction.

Having a comprehensive onboarding program, therefore, makes good sense and will save your business money in the long run. It is also an essential first step on the path to ongoing productive employee engagement. And organizations with a highly engaged workforce have double the rate of success of companies with lower rates of engagement. What’s more, businesses, where staff members feel engaged, have 22 percent higher profitability than those businesses with low engagement rates. The truth is the return on your investment with a good onboarding program is almost a given.

Effective Onboarding For Organizations

new employees fileWhen it comes to the needs and priorities of the business, what are the key elements of an effective onboarding process? Well, whether you hire new staff members regularly or only once in a while, your requirements are still the same: a streamlined, consistent process with no room for omissions. Every time a member of staff joins or leaves an organization there’s a whole host of paperwork to be completed and a number of different departments to be notified. It’s easy to miss a step so that a new staff member could arrive on day one only to find they haven’t been set up on the computer system, or worse still, don’t even have a chair to sit on. Getting new recruits up and running as quickly as possible has got to be the top priority.

And so from an organizational perspective, a quicker and smoother onboarding process with fewer opportunities for omissions or errors is the primary objective. The overriding aim of any onboarding process has to be getting the new hire up and running and being productive as quickly and easily as possible.

Effective Onboarding For Employees

How about the needs and objectives of the employee, what are the key elements of an effective onboarding process? Well, from the employee’s perspective, their needs are not dissimilar to that of the organization. They will want the onboarding process to be clear, comprehensive and easy to access. And they too will be keen to be up and running as quickly as possible.

A new hire checklist provides a great foundation for the incoming employee. They can easily see what’s required and when and it instills a sense of the importance and value the organization places in providing the new employee with the best possible start.

In addition, an onboarding portal on the company employee intranet is the perfect repository for all the information and form filling that the new recruit needs to be aware of. It’s much easier for the new employee. Rather than having to go to multiple sources, there is only one central reference point for all their onboarding needs.

onboarding knowledge searchFrom the perspective of new members of staff, therefore, a straightforward, comprehensive onboarding process that provides the tools of the trade as well as helping them to become assimilated as speedily as possible will be their main focus. To this end, having everything they need to know in one central location like the intranet, supported by an advanced search functionality that makes it super easy to find stuff will be a major boon to the new hire.

Onboarding Process

It’s a good idea to begin the onboarding process before the employee is even physically in the workplace. Many businesses have been capitalizing on the natural eagerness of new recruits and have been using technology to begin the onboarding process as soon as a job offer has been accepted. In fact, integrating onboarding into the recruitment process generally means that the employee can hit the ground running from day one. You could, for example, include lots of information on the workplace and your company culture on your website or in a recruitment pack so that candidates can begin the onboarding process before their start date.

In addition, it’s essential to note here that successful onboarding isn’t just a one-off classroom type event. The most successful onboarding programs are carefully crafted and are long term. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the best companies to have 90-day onboarding processes in place. Some even continue to the employee’s first annual review on the anniversary of their start date.

Employee Onboarding Checklist

So, what makes for a successful onboarding process? What steps do you need to take? Well, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that successful onboarding is more than just showing the new hire where the bathrooms are, introducing them to a few colleagues, handing them a copy of the employee handbook and then leaving them to get on with it. Onboarding is more about creating a supportive, nurturing environment and encouraging the employee to align their personal brand with the company’s vision and values. It’s about integrating the employee into the company and ensuring they prosper and grow within the organization.

staff onboarding process

A new hire checklist is always a good idea. It enables you to take a step back, carefully consider all the required steps and helps to ensure you provide a comprehensive solution.  There will be certain tasks that need to be completed on day one such as providing a workstation and desk supplies along with setting up access to the company network. Other tasks such as meeting key colleagues can be completed in the first week and there will be additional longer-term onboarding objectives that need to be completed within the first 90 days.

Below is a sample onboarding checklist template.  You can use it as a starting point for developing your own new hire checklist.

We’ve also made this checklist available as a Word document and PDF file downloads as follows: New-Hire-Checklist-Template.docx / New-Hire-Checklist-Template.pdf

 

New Hire Checklist Template

Task

Date Completed & By Whom

Before The New Hire Starts Work

  • Send a welcome email detailing who they need to report to & when and any parking or access arrangements. Include links to required reading & key company background information so new hire can begin onboarding process
  • Advise the team of the impending arrival of a new staff member
  • Select one colleague to act as the new hire’s sponsor – their main go-to person in the workplace
  • Select a workstation & order any desk supplies or equipment such as cell phone & business cards
  • Create accounts & provide access to any tools they may need

New Hire’s First Day

  • Welcome the new recruit & introduce them to their sponsor & team
  • Orient the employee with office facilities including bathrooms, kitchens, lifts, meeting rooms etc.
  • Introduce the new staff member to company systems such as the intranet & phones
  • Complete all paperwork such as logging on to the network & intranet, bank details, tax forms, HR forms etc.
  • Advise new hire of company history & introduce company mission, vision & values
  • Ensure sponsor takes new hire out to lunch

During The New Hire’s First Week

  • Set up a meeting between the employee & their direct supervisor to set out expectations & short-term goals for the employee
  • Ensure that new employee understands what’s required & how business workflows & processes impact on their role
  • Assign the new recruit with appropriate project responsibilities & tasks
  • Introduce the employee to other key personnel both internally & externally if appropriate
  • Devise any necessary training program or professional development opportunities
  • Encourage networking & social interaction with the team through a shared lunch or morning tea in local coffee shop

During The First 90 Days

  • Carefully monitor employee’s job performance & provide timely constructive feedback
  • Schedule regular one-on-one meetings for two-way performance review conversations, ask for feedback on how things are going
  • Acknowledge the employee’s successes & provide positive encouragement
  • Set up additional job-specific training & professional development if required
  • Monitor how well the sponsor has performed their duties & how effective the sponsor system has been, make any changes to the policy if necessary

At The First Annual Review

As well as formally reviewing the employee’s performance, seek feedback on the success of the onboarding program in terms of:

  • How well it met the needs of the employee
  • What aspects of the program did not work well
  • How onboarding could be improved

 

An onboarding checklist such as the one above sets a solid foundation for the new hire. Expectations are clear from the outset, the employee is made to feel welcome and has the necessary support every step of the way. Get the onboarding process right and you will have a measurable impact on the employee’s level of satisfaction and engagement as well as their overall tenure in the company. Get it wrong and you could find your investment simply walking out of the door, so spend time on refining this checklist to suit your organizational requirements.

Intranets Make Employee Onboarding Easy

The bottom line is that onboarding is a critical business process. It’s the start of a hopefully long and positive relationship with the employee. Not only does effective onboarding mean that your employee quickly becomes a productive, fully functioning member of the team, it also means that they are more invested in the company and are, therefore, happier, more satisfied and so tend to stick around for longer.employee onboarding formQuite simply, a comprehensive onboarding program will have an impact on overall employee engagement as well as recruitment and retention. The positive effect on your organization’s bank balance will also be most welcome!

The easy-to-use new hire checklist we have shared will ensure your onboarding process ticks all the right boxes. Use it to get your new hires on the road to success as quickly as possible.

In addition, make sure that you utilize your intranet in support of the onboarding process. Here are just a few of the practical ways in which an intranet makes things easier.

Automated Processes

Automated new starter forms on the intranet can be used to notify all relevant personnel of the new arrival, highlighting any lead-in times and dependencies. So whether it’s IT setup, organizing payroll, ordering a new phone extension, getting business cards printed or making sure the new employee has a desk and a chair to sit on, the intranet will routinely route the online form through to the correct department for action. What’s more, Barry in IT will automatically be notified of the two-week lead-in for ordering a new laptop. In this way, when the new employee actually starts, everything they need will be in place from day one so that they can be productive right from the outset.

Make The New Hire Feel Welcome

The arrival of the new staff member along with a summary of their responsibilities can be announced to the rest of the organization on the intranet news feed. Co-workers will then know to look out for that employee and can make them feel welcome. In fact, the staff member could be encouraged to complete an employee profile before they start work to introduce themselves and give a short summary of their career and areas of expertise.

Employee Directory To Support Good Working Relationships

How many of us have had experience of starting a new job, being introduced to several colleagues before promptly forgetting everyone’s name? It’s a common and very embarrassing situation for many new hires, but it’s also an easy fix with an online employee directory. An intranet-enabled staff directory with photos as well as a short biography means that the new hire can put a name to a face as well as understanding where that colleague fits in the organization. And once, the new hire becomes an old hand, the employee directory will become an important tool for facilitating joint working and collaboration across the business.

Support Ongoing Training And Development

online employee learningOnboarding usually involves an element of training and development. Learning the ropes, imparting knowledge and developing an understanding of the company culture can be made easier for the new hire by using the intranet platform. When it comes to learning styles, there are a variety of ways in which individual staff members prefer to acquire new knowledge. The great advantage of the intranet is that in a single platform, it can cater to all those different learning preferences. Take your pick from podcasts, how-to videos, wikis, surveys, and checklists as well as more traditional media such as manuals and standard operating procedures. What’s more, the 24/7 nature of the intranet means that new hires can complete training modules outside the constraints of the usual 9 to 5 office setup at a time and a place that fits in with their schedules.

Aside from formal training and development, much of a new hire’s first few days are taken up with passively reading lots of information. Why not make it more interactive with quizzes, podcasts, videos or webinars on the intranet? These are all innovative and engaging ways to convey the large volumes of information that new staff members typically need to take on board.

Obtain Employee Feedback

employee feedbackOnboarding needs to be a process of continuous improvement. Feedback from participants will be integral to reviewing and refining the system on a regular basis.  The insights of those staff members that have already gone through the onboarding process will be fundamental to any review. Online surveys and polls are a great tool for harvesting feedback and insights from employees that have experienced onboarding. Utilize the employee intranet’s quizzes and surveys tool and ask for views on what aspects went well and what parts of the process could be improved. In addition, you may want to consider making the survey responses anonymous so that staff feel free to give honest, unbiased feedback.

Summary

These are just a selection of the ways in which an intranet can support effective employee onboarding in your business. Are you interested in finding out more? The team at MyHub is happy to discuss your organization’s needs in relation to onboarding. Our super easy to set up and manage cloud intranet templates will support effective staff onboarding as well as delivering a whole host of other businesses benefits as well. Contact MyHub for more information or a free demonstration of how a cloud intranet can help. Why not even sign up for a 14-day no-obligation trial and discover the many business benefits that an intranet has to offer employee onboarding.

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2 Comments

  1. Do you have sample forms/templates for this?

    Reply
  2. Hi Dave, one of our support team will reach out to very soon on this.

    Reply

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