Step-by-step guide on designing your onboarding plan.

 

As an HRBP or a hiring manager, you’re responsible for solidifying your company’s onboarding plan. Especially when you know the most detrimental aspects of not having an enthralling employee onboarding program, such as poor employee satisfaction, dip in employee performance, and ultimately poor employee retention. In light of employee satisfaction being a great buzzword all across the internet, every organization has come to deal with improvising their employee experience from the get-go. 

The challenge, however, lies in outlining the design/steps of your onboarding plan. Some common questions could be about,

Before talking about onboarding challenges explicitly, let’s clear out all the ambiguities around the definition of employee onboarding.

What is ‘Onboarding’? 

The de facto meaning of onboarding has been replaced. Most of your human resources life, you might have envisioned onboarding as a process to welcome your new hires and enlighten them on your company’s culture, benefits, and employees. Paperwork comes as no surprise.  It’s prime time we realize we are only making it hard for our employees to find their feet by swamping them with information overload and paperwork.  When all the companies out there are striving to design a concrete employee onboarding plan, you don’t want to fly a false flag. So, we made it simpler for you by helping you prioritize your onboarding workflow.

How can you unleash the true potential of employee onboarding?

Onboarding starts even before the new hire’s first day at your company. In fact, it’s crucial for the HRs to prep themselves up as much as the new hires do. As onboarding is a lengthy process, chances are that some of the slightest nuances might slip out of your mind while you are planning it.

Hence, it’s always advisable to break down the different things to be done as part of your new hire onboarding plan into steps, don't worry, we have done it for you, all you need to do is bookmark this page and make it your go-to guide for your new hire onboarding plan. 

Step 1: Getting your employee onboarding checklist right

The onboarding checklist is a quintessence of your everyday to-do checklist that strips down the list of steps that you want to carry out sequentially as you progress in setting out the onboarding journey. Here are some steps you might want to include in your onboarding checklist:

Step 2: Break information into byte-sized Drip Emails

Whether your employee starts in a day or a month or two, keep in contact with them. Don’t strap them for information. Instead of overloading all the information that they have to know about your company, about their role, about your culture, and about their benefits, you can break it down into smaller chunks and send it as a drip email series that goes few days prior to their joining and as the first thing in the morning for the first 10 days post their joining. That way you give it a higher chance for the employee to not miss important pieces of information they should know.

“Instead of overloading all the information that they have to know about your company, about their goal-setting, about your culture, and about their benefits, you can break it down into smaller chunks and send it as an employee onboarding drip email series that goes to few days prior to them joining and the first thing in the morning for the first 10 days post joining.”

As an HR you are bound to clear all the ambiguities in a new hire’s first-day quandary. It might be really hard for them to get acclimated to their new office and people just all by themselves. As a responsible and smart HR, you can jump in and spruce it up by,

Starting with a warm welcome email that emphasizes on how happy you’re to have them on board. One way of acing it is by setting up a new hire welcome email drip campaign. Send a series of emails to your new hires to keep them engaged and informed about a mix of things, from welcoming them to getting feedback from them on their 90th day. 

Let’s look at this as a series of emails that set the basic context for a new hire. It should briefly address the timing, dress code, documents that one needs to carry. 

Step 3: Build a Team & Goals introduction for the new hire

Now, this is something that the manager has to take ownership of. Communicating about a new entrant into the team is as important as any other step in the entire onboarding plan. Imagine, your existing employees just walk past your new hires without realizing who they are. Even worse is when they are shown their workspace and they start work without understanding the bigger picture, other people whom the new hire should collaborate with, and not knowing what is expected of them.

A new hire will take a lot of time to navigate your organization if you don't explicitly create rapport between the new hire and the people the new hire has to work with and this is one of the primary reasons for disengagement in the first 90 days. You must encourage your new employees to self-introduce themselves as this would make the new hire feel a little more comfortable and less awkward.

Prepare mail that the manager can send out. What you can include in this mail:

Parallelly, you can also ask your new hires to connect with their team members on Linkedin. Encourage your new employees to ask questions and provide feedback. 

Put a 30-day check-in: Find out how they are fitting in, and answer any questions that arise during the first 30 days. 

Put a 90-day check-in: For the first 90 days, set out an action plan for your new hires for them to take strides in the right direction. This action plan should allow your new hires to gain a sense of satisfaction from the decision they’ve made by leaving their old job and taking up your offer.

Step 4: Proactive planning on the workspace

You don’t want to look lethargic by not planning the new hires’ seating arrangement. This’s one step where you can display your genuine care effortlessly. Some of the quick hacks could be to decorate your new hires’ desk with their favorite desserts and other day-to-day stationeries they might require such as pens, notebooks, charts etc..present them all as a new hire welcome kit.

Communicate with the IT team and co-ordinate with them to help the new hires get their IT assets and email accounts set up before they join. Guide the new hires on how to apply for a new ID card and let them know the whereabouts of the IT admin and facilities team.

Step 5: Nail the first day

The HR executive’s part

Meet and greet your new hires with your team. Take them on a coffee tour and show them the different chilling spots inside the company where they can hang out with others. Tell them the story behind how your company revamped its infrastructure time-to-time. These are some of the easiest ways to have an easy and light conversation with them. Followed by setting up their desk and handing them out their supplies and welcome kit. 

Here comes the part that most of the HRs would whine about. The Paperwork. Explaining work and compensation benefits, security policies, filling up mandatory documents are some of the herculean tasks. It’s always better to remediate it by automating paperwork  and other boring stuff to make the entire onboarding plan appear seamless.

The Manager’s Part

Now comes the part which the manager of the new hire can influence on day 1.

Step 6: Have a buddy program

While you introduce all your employees to your new hire, remember your new hires need somebody they could confide in. Introduce them to a buddy who can take them on an office tour, show them what is what, who is who etc..Having a buddy also makes it a lot easier for your new hire to get accustomed to the new culture by following the footsteps of the buddy. And when the new hire feels that this buddy is someone just like him, it’s a breeze. Totally. 

Step 7: Nailing the first week

During their first week, make sure to schedule a meeting with them every day. Also, don't forget to introduce them to different teams across your organization. Some roles require prior training. Beef up your employees by conducting career-oriented pieces of training to level them up professionally. Guide them to read the right learning materials and help them attend the right training sessions. Ask them for their feedback and takeaways later. 

Step 8: Measuring onboarding effectiveness

At all points during your onboarding program allow employees to reverberate their experience by rolling out frequent employee satisfaction/ new hire surveys. This also can be seen as one way to measure hiring managers’ performance. 

Other things to note

How and where can you start as an HR Leader?

To keep the momentum up and going, you want to make the best of your new hires’ brimming energy. Most of the new employees’ interests start to wane by time if they don’t see themselves being challenged with work or simply do not feel a sense of accomplishment from what they do. In practicality, a lot of employees even tend to exploit this sweet period due to the complacency that sets in as they believe and limit themselves to just the opportunities that they can see in front of them. It even inhibits them from acquiring a sense of ownership. To counterbalance this, your onboarding program should help employees align themselves to specific goals. Managers can handhold their employees to set their new goals as early as they are onboarded. 

Make the managers, your partner in employee onboarding

A manager is not someone who just manages the team. There’s an irrefutable definition to a manager. A manager is a mentor, who solidifies a huge chunk of the onboarding experience of a candidate. Besides explaining the org charts or simply who does what, who reports to whom, their tenure, etc. the manager is solely responsible for breaking the ice between the employees and the new hire, arranging some team building activities, and throwing some new hire parties that will help the new hires infuse with the culture faster and better.

It’s crucial for a manager to build a good rapport with his employees. All they have to do is to show the employees that they genuinely care for them. Simple acts like gifting a book, handing out a packet of chocolates that your employee likes are some of the strides a manager (not necessarily just him) can take to improve your relationship with your employees.

Now, what does this mean to your employees?

They believe and latch on to the fact that you genuinely care for them and it definitely resonates with them. Remember not to speak in parlance or make them attend extraneous training due to your lack of planning. This could even annihilate the whole process. Every new hire is worried about their career development as they transition into a new role. Nerve them by asking them and understanding their expectations. Leverage this time to explain what’s expected of the new hire, how they can progress in their career, what are the opportunities available internally etc. Instill confidence in them by paving the way for career success by setting them up on a radical journey.

Final note

A bad or mediocre onboarding program could cause dysfunction among your new hires. Instead of just overlaying your onboarding plan with culture stories and paperwork, illuminate your onboarding plan with the intermix of everything mentioned above. Here’s to a more successful onboarding from our company to yours! :)

They love us. You will, too.