An onboarding program is much like laying the foundation for a house. An effective onboarding program sets the groundwork for the new employee’s success and integration within the organisation. Meanwhile, a failing one or a weak foundation may lead to the employee’s instability and dissatisfaction in their role and can damaged their trust in the organisation.
Research by Brandon Hall Group shown that effective employee onboarding programs can increase
So, what does an effective onboarding program look like? We suggest an 8-step checklist!
Step 1: Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan
Successful onboarding begins long before the new employee's first day. Start by creating a detailed onboarding plan that outlines all the necessary steps and activities. This plan should cover not only the employee's first week but also their first few months on the job.
Step 2: Prepare for the New Employee's Arrival
Before the new employee walks through the door, make sure everything is ready for their arrival. This includes:
- Having their workspace set up with all the necessary equipment, tools, and supplies.
- Ensuring their computer and software are ready, with necessary accounts and access permissions.
- Preparing an agenda for their first day, week, and month, including introductions to key team members and departments.
- Sending a personalised welcome card during the new starter’s notice period
Step 3: Create a Warm Welcome
First impressions matter. Make your new employee feel welcome and valued from day one. Arrange a warm welcome that includes a meet-and-greet with their team members and a tour of the office. A small welcome gift or a personalised welcome message can go a long way in making them feel appreciated.
Step 4: Provide Comprehensive Training
Effective training is a cornerstone of successful onboarding. Ensure your new employee receives comprehensive training on their role, company policies, and procedures. This can include:
- Job-specific training to equip them with the skills they need to excel in their role.
- An overview of the company's culture, values, and mission.
- Training on software, tools, and systems they will use.
Step 5: Assign a Mentor or Buddy
Assigning a mentor or buddy to the new employee can be immensely helpful. This person can answer questions, provide guidance, and offer insights into the company culture. Having a go-to person for support and advice can make the transition smoother.
Step 6: Encourage Questions and Feedback
Create an open and inclusive environment where new employees feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback. Encourage them to share their thoughts and insights, as this can lead to valuable improvements in your onboarding process.
Step 7: Set Clear Expectations and Goals
Ensure your new employee knows what is expected of them. Set clear performance expectations and provide regular feedback on their progress. Work with them to establish achievable short-term and long-term goals to drive motivation and growth. Setting a clear career path for the employee is known to improve retention.
Step 8: Ongoing Support and Development
Onboarding doesn't end after the first week or month. Continue to support your new employees as they settle into their roles. Offer ongoing training opportunities and career development programs to help them grow within the organization.
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