Blog Post
June 17, 2019

How to get your company started with employee onboarding

No matter the size of your company, employee onboarding matters, and can impact whether or not a new hire stays with your organisation for the long term. If your company is just getting started with onboarding, here are some considerations that are key to the process.

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Whether you are a large or small company, smart employee onboarding matters. There are a lot of moving parts, and since you only have one opportunity to make a first impression, getting it right the first time is a big deal.

According to Forbes, 17% of employees leave organisations within their first 90 days due to a poor onboarding experience. The same report cites another survey showing 22% of turnover happens within 45 days because poor onboarding makes new hires feel undervalued.     

Keep in mind that even if you begin with small employee onboarding efforts, it’s far more effective than doing nothing.

Below, we’ll discuss other considerations involved in employee onboarding.

Centralize the process while being flexible for local nuances

Employee onboarding can span from two weeks prior to joining your company to a new hire’s entire first year. Most companies tend to look at employee onboarding as the new hire’s first 90 days with an organisation.

At Ceridian, we have a core group of people who are responsible for day one across the globe. However, we also rely on a core group of people – in the payroll, IT, facilities, and training departments, for example – to onboard new hires. It’s important to reinforce in your organisation that onboarding isn’t just one person’s responsibility.

There are some key ways that you can help ensure that everyone provides the same experience during onboarding, while still allowing for some flexibility for local nuances if your company has multiple offices or locations.

For example, onboarding software lets administrators create or upload forms based on different geographies, so that you can ensure your new hires have the same introduction to your company culture, but have access to local forms. As we say here at Ceridian, the approach is “global but local.”

You can also centralize assets like training materials and onboarding decks – this will help your onboarding team – no matter where they are – convey messaging that is consistent with culture and company values.

Get paperwork out of the way early

Consider the sheer volume of information a new employee must absorb on their first day. Why further bog them down with a stack of papers they must sift through and sign?

By giving your employee access to an online onboarding portal as soon as they’ve accepted your job offer, you can help space out paperwork and administrative tasks. New hires can, for example, familiarize themselves with company policies, fill out direct deposit forms, and review their profile before starting.

Managing these tasks with onboarding technology also provides visibility into, and sets expectations for, what’s needed pre-hire, day one, and post-hire for both new hires and managers. This helpsensure everyone stays on track.

Set your new hire up in your company systems

On a new hire’s first days, managers’ time is better spent with the new hire versus sorting out email accounts, laptops, and phones.

While a new hire is filling out important paperwork in the lead-up to their first day, make sure that on the company side of things, you’re getting their access set up, too. This means making sure you’re ordering the appropriate equipment, getting their email address set up, and adding them to appropriate mailing lists – and even adding some meetings to their calendar.

The benefit of these preparations ahead of day one is that your new hire will be ready to start learning and diving in to their new role quickly and more seamlessly.

Set expectations and don’t frontload

Dumping a multitude of onboarding tasks onto a new hire and expecting it all done within a week will hamper efficiency and stress them out.

Employee onboarding happens in stages. As your new hire enters each step, it’s vital to clearly illustrate what’s expected. Providing an agenda or framework for their first 30 days will help you track your employee’s initial progress. This agenda can include tasks, meetings, and assigned learning modules, for example.

By integrating technology into the employee onboarding process, a new hire can jump from onboarding to learning to help get them up to speed. You don’t want new hires to drink by the fire hose, so to speak. Think about how the modern workforce likes to learn.

The majority of practical learning comes from real-life and on-the job experiences,. With this in mind, it’s helpful to build on an onboarding task list for your new hire with activities, meetings, and learning content.

Related: Keys to a successful employee onboarding program: Set milestones and tasks

Introduce your new hire to their team and personalize a welcome message

According to Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent, 50% of respondents in the U.S. and Canada cited good relationships with coworkers as one of their main reasons for staying at a job.

Foster great coworker relationships by connecting new hires with their peers right out of the gate. Host a lunchtime mixer or take the team out for drinks after the first week to break the proverbial ice. If all employees and managers aren't in the same location, it’s helpful to have a video e-mixer. The quicker your team starts to click with your new hire, the faster they’ll be productive since you’ve removed communication barriers from the equation.

From a technology perspective, employee onboarding software lets new hires see their team and meet their buddy ahead of day one on the platform so they can start building connections right away (through the software’s messaging app, for example, or on LinkedIn). With onboarding technology, you can also   personalize a welcome message (and even include video) – for a new hire, which feels more special than a generic welcome email.

Share cultural values

According to Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent research, 85% of high performing talent work for companies that have clear values (85%), while 72% of these individuals also know their company’s business goals.

When an employee understands goals, it boosts productivity and efficiency. They can align their methods, mentality, and efforts with the overall vision of an organisation. Consider communicating your overall vision, goals, and values using a video shared on your online employee onboarding portal.

Before you start developing your employee onboarding program, we’ll leave you with two parting thoughts:

First, it’s perfectly reasonable to start small, and then begin mapping out how you’ll make the employee onboarding process into something bigger, for both the first day and beyond.

Second, follow the wisdom of Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei, who discusses in her TED Talk the importance of using authenticity, empathy, and logic to build trust throughout an organisation. This approach to building and maintaining trust should be evident in every step of employee onboarding – it’s what will really inspire your new hires to succeed.

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