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8 Ways to Improve Your Employee Onboarding Process


It’s a well-worn statement, but it’s stuck around because it’s true: your business is only as good as your team. Having an excellent staff at your place of work will be essential if you want to hit the levels of success that you desire. Many studies have proven that point, time and time again.

Even once you have your team put together, it can be difficult to get them to stick around. Individuals are leaving and switching jobs more than ever before, making employee retention a real difficult prospect for most companies.

The answer to this issue might actually lie in your onboarding process. Looking more into how employees are coming on to join your business can help to make a solid first impression and lay the groundwork for someone sticking around for years to come.

What are some methods you should be familiar with? Read on.

  1. Stay Engaged

The moment where a new employee signs a contract with your company is an exciting one for both you and them. You’ve put in a lot of work to get to this point. You’ve locked in the right person for the job, and now it’s time for the work to begin.

However, many companies then totally disengage from this new hire between the time of signing and the new day. This can start your relationship off with this new team member in a strange way. All of a sudden, they feel in the dark and disconnected from what is now their place of work.

This is a time that you don’t want to let your employee slip away. They haven’t started yet, so there’s always a chance that the employee can disengage or take in other offers. They can already begin to perceive your company in negative ways, whether that be as cold and detached, or as unwilling to be communicative.

It doesn’t take too much work to stay engaged with a new hire. Check-in with them every few days between their signing day and their first day of work. Keep expressing excitement about their joining the fold. See if they have any questions and concerns.

If you have some light reading they can do to get caught up to the workflow they will be stepping into, that can be helpful. However, you don’t want to overwhelm them with information either, they should be able to enjoy their days off before starting.

2. Crafting a Great First Impression

We all know the undeniable importance of a good first impression. A bad first impression can be hard to get over. That’s why, during your onboarding process, you want to make as solid of the first impression with your new hires as possible.

The positive feelings you develop at this stage can help carry through the rest of their time at the company. The most likely time for a new hire to quit is within their first month and a half of work, when they’ll make most of their big decisions about the workplace environment.

Ensuring that you make this time a truly positive one can go a long way towards overall employee retention. How can you give this new hire a truly warm welcome?

Consider having a program in place that helps new hires to feel welcome. This could involve decorating their new desk, having a quick meeting to introduce them to the team, and other such rituals that will help this person feel welcome.

When a new hire feels welcomed and part of a team, their engagement will increase and their sense of fulfillment is likely to rise. This is the recipe for crafting a great and long-lasting employee.

3. Craft a Strong Structure

Any new hire for a job is going to feel a bit nervous and out of place when they first start. It should be the goal of your onboarding process to mitigate some of this anxiety and create an easy home for the new hire to slide into.

That’s going to require your to create a sense of structure for them. A new hire who arrives with no plan for their arrival is going to have their anxiety overtake them. It’s going to make your company seem disorganized. Most of all, it might send that employee out the door.

With this in mind, it’s well worth considering how you’re going to master the employee onboarding process and craft that structure that is so needed. There are a number of programs out there that can help create a structured onboarding timeline that might be useful.

You can read about a fantastic one at

These programs can help you come up with what the proper steps for this kind of onboarding could be. You can always come up with a proper timeline on your own as well. Even if you go with a program, a certain sense of personalization based on your office environment and the work you do can go a long way.

4. Set a Few Check-In Meetings

Your employee has been mostly having one-on-one time with someone up to the moment of their hiring. They’ve been talking to the hiring manager if not once or twice, many times.

Now that they actually have the position, they are tossed in the mix with all the other employees at your workplace. All of a sudden, there is no real focus on them as an individual. They also don’t have the pre-existing relationships the rest of your team has, which can easily leave them feeling somewhat isolated.

An isolated person isn’t going to feel very engaged, and it’s important to do what you can to help them feel involved and paid attention to as they get their bearings in their new position.

While ensuring they are developing relationships with co-workers can be important, so too can bettering your own relationship with them. Setting aside some time to sit down with them one-on-one and discuss their ongoing experience at your company can do a whole lot of good.

It will allow them to feel listened to and a proper part of the company culture. If they do have concerns or issues with the way things are proceeding, you’ll be aware of them early and can rectify these as need be.

Dedicating time to them is likely to make them feel considered as an individual, not just a cog in a machine. That’s going to be key when attempting to foster the kind of environment that allows employees to stick around for a long time.

5. Don’t Onboard All at Once

Many companies make the mistake of trying to push through the employee onboarding process all at one time. This is not going to result in the ideal scenario for the said employee.

Putting all of this work onto one initial day is more likely to make a new hire feel overwhelmed than anything else. Everything is thrown at this person and they are forced to digest what it all means for them. At the same time, they’re trying to learn everyone’s names and where the bathroom is.

It can be a little much.

Onboarding in its proper form is really a process that should move smoothly across time. It is a transformative process, turning a new hire into a team member. It shouldn’t be viewed as dumping a bunch of information atop a person and letting them get caught up.

It should be viewed as walking someone into a position and a culture so that they can do their very best work while they are there.

Not only is this going to better their experience and thus your overall retention rate, but it’s also going to set them up to perform better. Isn’t that what you should want from a new hire regardless?

Rethinking staff training in this way can open a lot of positive opportunities.

6. Give Them a Mentor

Speaking of feeling isolated, there are a lot of other things you can do to help the new hire feel supported during their new time at the job. One of the best things you can do, granted that another employee is available, is to pair them with a mentor they can talk to during their first few weeks.

If there’s a kind, patient, and seasoned employee in your office that would be able, pair them up with the new hire. This gives the new employee a person to go to with questions who will be happy to receive them. The security and comfort of that option can go a long way.

This partnership can be fruitful in many ways. The mentor can help get them up to date on company culture, help them understand how to accomplish various tasks, and integrate them into the daily flow of your workplace.

They’ll have someone to talk to about the less work-centric elements of office life as well, from commute tricks to where to grab lunch. This can help them feel more at home in the workplace and more well adjusted to this new environment.

No one works well when they don’t feel as if they have any friends to work with. Helping the new hire out by giving them one relationship to build off of can really go a long way to bettering that person’s overall experience.

7. Extend Your Timeline

The bulk of your employee onboarding work is going to be done in the first few weeks of employment. This is when the new hire will need to learn the most and get accustomed to things the most quickly.

However, many companies make the mistake of thinking that if they can rush through this initial process, they won’t have to put in any work after this moment. This is a big mistake.

In actuality, it can take many months for an employee to fully and truly become part of a trusted team. Your onboarding process should reflect this reality. Don’t skimp out on your check-in meetings and overall care for this new hire after the first month.

Sketch out what you’re willing to do to ensure they’re integrating properly with your team for the first six months if not longer. Doing so will ensure that the hospitality you have provided won’t feel short-lived and shallow.

You’ll also get to see any signs of the employee’s enthusiasm flagging early on, allowing you to make moves to retain them and their commitment before things get too serious.

8. Reduce Paperwork

This is a smaller note of advice, but one that still should be heeded: try to lessen the paperwork load you’re putting onto new hires! Some paperwork will always be essential for those looking to come on board a new company, but a mountain of the stuff can be quickly unappealing.

Not only does this dilute the experience the employee has, but it also eats up a good amount of their first day of work. Time doing mind-numbing paperwork is time that could be used instead to further a positive first impression.

If you’re going to have a lot of paperwork, at least ensure that it isn’t redundant and that the process of filling it out and submitting it is seamless. This can be enough to make a good impression out of a less-than-fun task.

Improving Your Employee Onboarding Process

It goes without saying that keeping excellent employees on your team can be a challenge. If you’re worried about keeping the best and brightest under your roof, the work you can do to improve retention can actually happen early on.

The above tips and tricks can help you to better your employee onboarding process and create a proper foundation for new hires.

Need more advice for your business? Keep scrolling our blog for more.

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