Having a strong team full of promising talent is vital to the success of your organisation once you begin to scale — but the hiring process is only one piece of the puzzle. In order to truly help staff members transition into their new roles, you need to have an effective onboarding process in place. This will not only help your new hires familiarise themselves with their responsibilities and what is expected of them in their role, but will also allow them to gain a deeper understanding of what your workplace culture is like.
Without a solid onboarding process in place, you risk alienating new employees from the very beginning! If the pattern continues, it can lead to major issues down the line surrounding employee satisfaction and retention. The last thing you want is to go through the entire hiring process, find the perfect new team member, and have them quit within a few months because they never felt like a true part of the team. It sadly happens all the time, but this scenario is 100% avoidable if you take your onboarding seriously.
What is an onboarding process and what does it look like?
An onboarding process is the way in which you integrate new hires into your organisation. A proper onboarding process will introduce your new employees to the company culture, their responsibilities, and their co-workers while giving them a warm welcome. All of this is the key to retaining your best talent for years to come!
The four phases of onboarding
There are technically four phases that go into a solid onboarding process. Let’s go over them briefly:
Phase 1: Pre-Onboarding
The first phase of onboarding (pre-onboarding) begins as soon as a candidate accepts your offer and continues until their first official day of work. This is still time in which the candidate can back out, so it’s extra important to make them feel excited about joining your organisation (as opposed to doubtful and uncertain). During this phase, your job is to make it as simple as possible for the candidate to complete any crucial paperwork and begin the process of making the transition from their old role to their new role. You may need to send over forms such as:
- Employment contracts
- Benefits forms
- Tax forms
- Emergency contact form
- Confidentiality agreements
- Company policy agreements
This could also look like helping them find a place to live if they are relocating or sending them a brief video/document walking them through what they can expect during their first day or week on the job.
Phase 2: Welcoming New Hires
The second phase of onboarding is often dedicated to welcoming new hires to your organisation and providing an orientation to help them get acclimated. It’s important to remember that at this point, your organisation is completely new to your team members — they won’t know how things operate on a daily basis yet, so this is really the time to walk them through all the necessary “need to knows” and introductions before they dive into training/working.
This is also the time to dive deep into the mission, vision and core values behind your business, as well as any company-specific jargon that is relevant to your workplace culture.
Phase 3: Education/Training
Once your new hire is situated, you need to ensure that they know everything they need to know in order to do their job properly. This may look like:
Making sure they know the ins and outs of your organisation’s products and services.
Familiarising them with the specific systems and digital tools you use in your business.
Walking them through the KPIs (key performance indicators) that will be used to assess job performance.
Equipping them with a library of documents and resources for them to refer back to as-needed — more on this in a minute.
Phase 4: Easing The Transition & Ongoing Mentoring
The final phase of onboarding is meant to help your hire fully make the transition to their new environment and work responsibilities by providing them with some form of ongoing mentorship for the first 60-120 days in their new role. It can often take months for new employees to feel truly integrated into the work environment — this phase is essential in making sure that these new hires feel comfortable and supported throughout their transition. You can do this by continuing to interact regularly with new hires to ensure that they feel comfortable and encourage them to ask questions and provide feedback on the onboarding process thus far.
The goal with your onboarding process should always be to make your new hire feel welcomed before they even begin working, and I’ve found that the above method has worked really well when it comes to improving employee retention and morale!
There is one more thing you do need to consider, though, and that is onboarding resources. You should always have a bank of documents available to your new hires that will help them understand critical information about your business. Your onboarding resource bank should include documents such as:
Onboarding Agenda, Timeline, + Checklist
This will be a breakdown of what is in store for your new hire within the onboarding process. It may include important meetings, events, or tasks to be completed. To keep things as clear as possible, use a chart or table to give your new hires a visual idea of what they can expect to be happening and when.
I also recommend including an accompanying checklist so that your employees can keep track of where they are within the onboarding process and ensure they complete everything that is necessary on their end.
The purpose of a welcome package is two-fold: to welcome your new hire and to provide relevant company information that doesn’t necessarily belong in a training manual. You may include documents such as the following within a welcome package:
- Customised welcome letter
- Job description, expectations, and key performance indicators
- Breakdown of company mission, vision, and values
- An employee directory with contact information
If you want to get extra-fancy, you can even include some gift cards in your new hire’s welcome package to make them feel valued and excited. This is the kind of personalised touch that people love!
A training manual is exactly what it sounds like: a guide that will walk your new hires through the processes they will be required to complete as part of their role as well as important company information they are expected to know. Common new hire training manuals typically include:
- An overview of the employee onboarding process/timeline
- Company policies + guidelines
- Organisation structure and who to contact for specific needs
- Critical company processes and tools
- Role-specific instructions
Smart staff onboarding is so necessary when it comes to building a talented team who respects your organisation and offers you invaluable support in your role as CEO. The four phases of onboarding I outlined above will help you lay the foundation for stronger, longer-lasting employee relationships and company morale. And if you ever want to take it a step farther and work with an expert to truly systemise your onboarding process, that is exactly what my strategy intensives are for. Book in with me and let’s go to work!