What is a good onboarding process?

Here's how a good onboarding process can work wonders for your business' new employees

First published on Wednesday, Jun 24, 2020

Last updated on Tuesday, Nov 09, 2021

Hiring new employees isn’t only about getting them to sign their contract of employment.

You need to bring them into your business, explain your company culture, and offer support. This limits the chance of any issues during their probation period.

And that’s where a great company onboarding process comes in handy. So, let’s explore how it can work wonders for your business’ new employees.

What does “onboarding process” mean?

Okay, it’s the activity of integrating new starters into your business and helping to familiarise them with your goals and processes.

So, an HR onboarding process meaning is, basically, there to integrate them into your daily routine.

It also ensures they don’t make any mistakes with your policies. For example, if they don’t know your dress code and start turning up in flip-flops.

A more serious example is if you haven’t explained your mission statement, sick leave process, or clocking in and out system (our app Blip can help you out there, by the way).

You can also introduce them to your:

  • Company policies (such as your holiday days).
  • Terms and conditions of their employment.
  • Regular duties and responsibilities.
  • The location where they work.

But with thorough “organisation socialisation” (to give the fancier term), the onboarding process in HR can prevent any problems.

It’s, essentially, there to make life easier for everyone by encouraging and supporting a new employee during their early days in your business.

The application onboarding process

You can get everything moving during the application phase. This is the step-by-step approach you can take:

  • Launching your job spec (candidate generation—as in, finding the right professionals for your business).
  • Assessing candidates.
  • Holding interviews.
  • Deciding on who to employ.
  • Making a job offer.

It’s during the early assessment and interview stages that you can explain your company culture. During those steps, you can see if they’re a good fit for your business.

And once you hire someone, that’s when the rest of your plan of action can kick in.

The best onboarding process steps

So, you have a new starter and you want to integrate them into your team quickly and effectively. What do you do?

Well, it’s not a speedy procedure. In fact, if you rush through it the employee may not feel welcome at all. For some SMEs, the entire process can take up to a year.

But the first few weeks are crucial. So, an effective onboarding process for new hires will address:

  • What the new starter needs to know about the employer’s brand and company culture.
  • How your HR team and line managers can help.
  • How some of the new starter’s colleagues can help—such as anyone in a similar role.
  • The goals you’ll set the new employee.
  • How you’ll go about assessing their performance.

You can take a look at your business’ mission statement and overall the culture to see how to go about this.

If you’re a small business and don’t hire staff regularly, then you should still look to orientate the new starter. Even if you have a team of 10 or lower.

So, let’s have a look at some industry standard examples you can use.

Here’s a useful HR onboarding process template

You can, of course, create an onboarding process map that you feel suits your business. There’s not a one-size fits all approach here.

But it doesn’t hurt to have a decent understanding of how to go about a new employee onboarding process flow.

Especially during the first few days for a new starter. To help you out, here’s an example of onboarding process steps you can follow:

Day one: This may include an induction stage and introduction to daily life at your business. You can include a:

  • General introduction to your business—including a guided tour.
  • Check through your employee handbook.
  • Run through your policies and procedures.
  • Introduction to colleagues.

Day two onwards: This will include the work schedule and initial tasks to introduce the staff member in your business—you can plan this from the second day into the weeks ahead:

  • Discuss the first tasks to complete.
  • Have check-ins with the employee daily (or once a week).
  • Review their performance.
  • Answer any queries they have.
  • Encourage staff engagement.

You can change that schedule in any way you see fit. But remember the goal of all this and why you’re undertaking the steps.

The aim is to make the new starter feel welcome so they can complete their job to the highest standard.

This onboarding flow will help the employee feel comfortable in their new role and able to hit the ground running.

Employee onboarding process checklist

Simplifying the above step-by-step approach, you can create a checklist to follow. It’s a basic analysis of the stages ahead. And it can go something like this:

  • Make the hire official and submit a job requisition form to your HR team.
  • Complete a background check (if that’s a step your business takes).
  • Establish the schedule and job duties the new starter will follow.
  • Prepare and complete the relevant new hire forms.
  • Prepare your induction (and team introductions, maybe assigning a mentor).
  • Setup their working environment.
  • Prepare your training schedule.

You should also offer flexibility with the above, as your employee may have questions and requests about certain stages.

The business benefits of your onboarding process

The main advantage is it helps your new starter to feel at home. You can welcome them, get them up to speed with your processes, and they’ll get to know their colleagues.

For your business, this means they’ll be happy—and productive. That’s important as unhappy staff members may underperform in their roles.

Or if they don’t like what they’re experiencing during their probation period, they may choose to leave.

So, with an effective onboarding strategy, you can make sure you maintain a higher retention rate.

Other advantages include:

  • Positive PR—happy staff will rate your business highly, attracting more talent.
  • Improve your company culture—by integrating new starters thoroughly, you can avoid a toxic working environment where staff don’t get on.
  • Higher standards of work from staff aware of your policies and expectations.
  • Engagement with new starters straight away.
  • An improvement to your business’ growth.
  • Maintaining strong connections with employees.
  • Encouraging an open working environment based on communication and trust.

Onboarding software and tools

A human resource information system (HRIS) can help with speeding up the onboarding process.

It’s human resources computer software that lets your business establish a central resource for employee data.

It can simplify the process for you. Depending on your business needs, you can try out different varieties to help you and your new starter.

The different types will help you create:

  • Employee onboarding checklists: Find a template you like and download it to use across your business with your new employee onboarding process.
  • Integrated options: Many of these will let you handle inductions alongside payroll, benefits, attendance, and time management. So it’s worth picking a fully-integrated package.
  • Chatbots: These can guide new hires through various aspects of your business, such as company software.

Here at BrightHR, we have mobile apps and software to assist with onboarding.

The app functionality allows for a quick and seamless onboarding process, allowing the employee to feel bedded in more quickly.

Onboarding during coronavirus & for remote workers

With the COVID-19 situation uncertain, we may face future instances of lockdown. If that’s the case, how do you make your onboarding process work?

Well, you’ll need to make a few adjustments. But, overall, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t prove as effective as ever.

In this case, new starters will begin their role working remotely. So, you should look to:

  • Make a digital introduction to the rest of your workforce—you can do this with a company-wide email.
  • Setup the employee with communication tools, so they can have real-time conversations with their colleagues.
  • Provide training for the systems, tools, and resources that your business uses.
  • Hold virtual introductions across video conferencing software.
  • Provide business transparency on expectations and the policies you have.
  • Use an “orientation buddy” to mentor them through the early weeks of the job. This could be a colleague with a similar role.
  • Check up on the new start every other day to make sure they’re settling in properly.

You can also train them with your workplace health & safety expectations. Particularly about their workstation—that’s if they’re set to use display screen equipment a lot.

Of course, many of the above rules are applicable if you’re hiring remote working staff. Plus, if it’s a new starter working on your premises.

It’s the same approach whatever the scenario—make them feel welcome and make sure they know about your policies and company culture.

Need help with your induction plan?

Successful onboarding programmes can ease any concerns and ensure employees are able to hit the ground running and take ownership of their roles more easily. So if you need any help setting up your own process, get in touch today and we’ll help you establish your process for new hires. Call us on: 0800 783 2806.

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