How to Create a Successful Employee Onboarding Plan

Did you know that most people form a first impression within the first minute of meeting someone new?

It’s a similar story when you hire employees. If you’re responsible for the employee onboarding process, you’re creating a first impression that will make or break your new hire’s experience with your company.

In fact, research shows that a great employee onboarding plan ensures that almost 70% of new employees will stick with your company for three years. On the flip side, a negative experience doubles an employee’s chances of leaving for a new opportunity.

In other words, if you want to keep the right talent, you’ll need the right process. Here’s what you should know to create the perfect onboarding experience.

Establish Your Goals

If you’re hoping to optimize your onboarding plan, start by deciding what you want to optimize for.

Do you need to reduce employee turnover? Are you hoping to analyze your retention rates? Do you need to address complaints you’ve gotten from exit interviews?

Whatever you decide, take some time to figure out what your goals for the onboarding process should be. From there, you can begin tracking your progress toward those goals in the long term.

Create and Send Out Helpful Documents

If you don’t already have an orientation program that consists of helpful workplace documents, now is a good time to start creating those files. Employees will need access to resources that map out the onboarding process, the company’s workplace policies, and other information they’ll need in the long term. An employee handbook, complete with where to find resources and helpful workplace tips, is also a good idea.

Note that creating these documents doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go over the information with new employees in person during their onboarding. Instead, this info can reinforce what employees learn during initial meetings and act as quick references when needed.

Make It Personal

Your onboarding plan should be repeatable for all new employees, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it personal!

Consider ways to make each employee’s experience unique. Some offices ask new hires to share fun facts as part of their introduction to the team. Others send out welcome packages or offer personalized company swag.

These simple tactics can help your new employees feel seen and appreciated from the moment they walk through the door—which can be a great help during any new experience.

Set Aside Time to Connect

Because introductions can get lost in the shuffle, it’s often a good idea to plan a formal time when you’ll introduce the team as a whole. Many employees will quickly get to know their immediate team members, but they may not have a chance to connect with the teams they’ll work with throughout the organization as well as the leadership team.

Here are a few simple strategies to work into your onboarding schedule:

  • Set up a new hire lunch with the employee’s manager and team
  • Set up introductory meetings with teams and coworkers they’ll need to communicate with
  • Schedule a quick meeting or lunch with any essential supervisors or leaders
  • Host a team-building event soon after the onboarding 
  • Consider asking a team member to mentor the new hire during onboarding

These introductions can be easier if you’ve hired employees as a cohort, but welcoming a single new hire is manageable as well.

Clarify Responsibilities

No one likes playing guessing games about what’s expected of them. On day one, schedule a meeting to sit down with new employees to clarify their role and responsibilities. This is also a good time to go over the employee handbook and any other company expectations.

If you haven’t already built out a career path, doing so can help flesh out your onboarding process. Your best talent will want to understand how to strive for the next level from the start, so a career path and personal development plan will be welcome information early on.

Use the Right Tools

Though having a detailed plan can help, it’s worth noting that today’s technology makes parts of the onboarding process easier than ever.

Online tools can help automate data entry and streamline the process while helping you keep track of your new hire’s progress. They can also make a huge difference in your new hire’s early experience. If you’re interested in the latest tools, click here for more.

Make Time for Routine Check-Ins

Having one-on-one meetings is crucial for all members of your team, but it’s especially important for new employees. This allows you to offer feedback, answer questions, and establish a habit of checking in. In fact, starting with one-on-one meetings in the first few days can be a great way to ensure that your new hire feels comfortable and appreciated from the start.

Gather Feedback

It’s important to give feedback to your new employees, but it’s just as important to get it. Once the onboarding process is complete, make sure to gather feedback about their experience. This can offer a fresh perspective on the process, helping you tweak and improve your plan when you hire employees in the future.

Make the Most of Your Employee Onboarding

Your employee onboarding plan should always be a work in progress, but the tips above can help you make the adjustments that matter. As you work with more and more new hires, you’ll start to get a better feel for the learning curve, timeline, and ways to increase their comfort level from day one. Make sure to continue gathering feedback in order to create a great first impression as the foundation for a long-term work relationship with your new hire!

Need more tips and tricks like these? Our other guides are packed with helpful insights, so be sure to check them out for more information.

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