Thoughtfully managing the first few months of a new hire’s employment with your company can lay the groundwork for a productive, successful, and long-term collaboration. Of course, onboarding (including preboarding) plays a critical role in this acclimation process. From providing the necessary training and company resources to facilitating mentorship and departmental support, well-handled onboarding leads to majorly improved outcomes for your employee and your business.
In this article, we’ll outline best practices for bringing your new employees up to speed so they can quickly contribute to your business, collaborate well with your existing employees, and make measurable progress in their new role.
Leverage Technology to Begin Onboarding Quickly
To improve employee experience and increase the likelihood of a seamless transition into a new role, organizations are increasingly using preboarding tools to prepare new hires for their first day of employment. With the right HR platform and software, it’s possible to electronically deliver (and offer) all of the following resources to a new hire days or even weeks before they officially begin work:
- Employee handbook
- Contact Sheets (Departmental and Company-Wide)
- How-To Guides for Use of Essential Company Software/Tools
- Training modules
- Virtual “Meet and Greet”/coffee meetings with colleagues prior to Day One
The major advantage of this approach is that it spaces out the presentation of onboarding materials that, if delivered as a “mountain” of paper on day one, risk creating a sense of overwhelm or simply slowing a new hire’s acclimation process. Instead, with enough breathing room, a new hire can process HR resources and training tools in the comfort of their own home and integrate the information and skills they need to be fully prepared for day one.
Encourage Engagement on Day One and Beyond
Once a new hire begins their first official day as a new employee, be sure to encourage your team members to actively include the new employee in any team meetings, outings (lunches, for instance), or simply invite their input, feedback, or original ideas related to new projects or problem-solving sessions. Alas, many of your existing employees can probably recall some dimension of onboarding that went poorly with a former company. It’s important to make sure each new employee feels welcome and appreciated for what they promise to contribute to the team moving forward. They should also feel supported and comfortable should they have any questions or constructive concerns as they work on early job tasks.
As an organizational leader or manager, it’s wise to connect the new employee with either an in-department mentor or an existing high-performing employee who is willing to support the employee’s transition into the company. Whether the new employee can benefit from a current employee’s technical experience, knowledge of the nuances of company culture, or some other skill, creating those connections early on can provide invaluable support.
Clearly Articulate Job Responsibilities and Provide Broader Context
It’s important to be direct and clear with any new employee about their job responsibilities and any specific expectations for their role. It’s also reasonable to provide each new employee a written description of their responsibilities to echo/reiterate what is verbally discussed in the first week of employment. This allows you, the employee, or their manager to refer to a common touchstone when evaluations occur or if any miscommunication or performance issue unfolds early in employment.
It's also essential to provide context for the new employee regarding how their role contributes to the overall success of the organization. Articulating this in a compelling and tangible way makes employees feel more integrated into the holistic processes (and successes) of the organization, which makes their workplace contributions more measurable and meaningful, to boot.
Schedule Regular Progress/Check-In Meetings
Whether you’d like to schedule conventional employee evaluation meetings or more casual check-in conversations to gauge a new employee’s progress, we recommend booking these meetings at 30, 60, and 90 days into employment. This not only creates a predictable cadence for discussions about the role and how the employee is progressing but also demonstrates an early investment in allowing the employee to share feedback about their experience.
New employees can often offer candid and objective observations about long-standing processes or inefficiencies that are due for upgrades or changes. Although your central aim is to make sure that your new employee is fluent with any necessary software, tools, procedures, protocols, and overall job responsibilities, you also want to demonstrate that the company culture is dynamic and collaborative. Managers and organizational leaders should adapt the structure of their progress meetings based on their particular industry, company culture, and the responsibilities of the position the employee holds.
Gradually Encourage Autonomy and Independent Progress
Although many of the onboarding suggestions we’ve offered so far relate to creating clear guidelines and offering a robust support system for the new employee to thrive, at some point, it’s important to allow them to work independently and excel in their new role. Of course, even as this process unfolds, remember to recognize (and praise) successful progress and to quickly and diplomatically address any issues that arise.
Once you’re confident in a new employee’s progress – including their familiarity with staff, company protocols, and access to organizational resources – try to grant them some extra “breathing room” while remaining generally available and supportive should questions or concerns arise. Although there isn’t an airtight data point demonstrating when a new employee should be fully integrated (and productive) in their new role with any company, most HR experts suggest that six months is a reasonable expectation. Some more involved positions, however, require a lengthier familiarization and acclimation process. It’s advisable to ask some of your existing employees how long it took until they felt comfortable, confident, and fully productive in their role, especially if it’s related to or adjacent to the new employee’s role. Use this and other information from existing employees to at least partially inform your assessment of how smoothly the new hire’s productivity is improving.
Simplify and Expedite Onboarding with Payday
Without the right software, tools and expert support, the onboarding process can be stressful and bewildering for new employees and employers alike. That’s why Payday’s recruiting and onboarding solutions blend personal consultation with tailor-made technologies designed to simplify, automate and streamline the hiring and onboarding process. Enjoy all of the tools and software your company needs for successful onboarding, including preboarding, training, and monitoring a new employee’s progress.
Ready to strengthen your company’s hiring and onboarding processes to bring new hires up to speed in record time? Contact us today to let us know how we can support your goals.