New employee onboarding can be a challenge but there are a variety of different types of training that are crucial to ensure you’re giving your staff the tools they need to succeed.
In this miniseries, we’re going to give you everything you need to understand the three most important types of training:
- New employee onboarding
- Ongoing Employee Training
- Transitional Training
Today, we’re going to kick things off with new employee onboarding.
What is new employee onboarding?
Hiring new staff members into your business is a sure sign that things are going well.
Whilst the process of employing team members can be a difficult one, the work doesn’t stop there. Onboarding your new members of staff is vital to ensure they are aware of company processes and goals and are fully prepared to fulfill their role as expected.
Whilst often confused with orientation, onboarding is an ongoing activity that can last up to 12 months.
A good onboarding process enables your staff member to not only integrate themselves into the working environment quickly but also have the best chance to succeed in their job.
The benefits of a good onboarding process
In addition to the above, a well-developed onboarding process will:
Provide them with a list of current department projects and cyclical procedures, highlighting where their role fits into each of these and how other roles interact with theirs. It allows the staff member to understand the ‘bigger picture’ of the business and understand their deliverables.
Reinforce the new hire’s reasons for choosing to work with your business by promoting the opportunities that exist to them and their potential progression paths. This can be done by scheduling time with the new hire and their line manager, discussing performance expectations, timelines for accomplishing various skills, and key business goals.
New starters can feel overwhelmed with the amount of information they’re given during the onboarding phase. A great way to help them feel welcome is by providing them with a platform to share their knowledge and experiences. This helps them to feel more confident in their skills, whilst also encouraging a collaborative working environment.
Setting your new employee onboarding goals
There are various different steps that your new starter will go through when they first begin working for your business, and we recommend a set process for each.
Step 1: New Employee Recruitment
- Goal: To give them some insight into the culture of your company and what it’s like to work there. This can include things such as expected work ethic, leadership input as well as the official and unspoken norms that current staff work to.
Step 2: First Office Visit
- Goal: Provide a transparent glimpse of a day in the life at your office.
Step 3: Early Onboarding for New Team Members
- Goal: Create some excitement for your new starter around their role, upholding their decision to take a chance on a new job.
Step 4: Welcoming New Hires on their First Day
- Goal: Ensure your new hire feels welcomed and appreciated. Build an induction plan for them to meet their co-workers and key contacts, whilst ensuring a personal approach.
This step involves consideration of a few different areas, including:
Compliance: providing your employee with information around essential company rules, policies and legal procedures, as well as dress codes, start and finish times and any relevant government policies.
Clarification: delivering the specifics for their role and what is expected of them. This should include a summary of the company’s organisational structure on who looks after which areas and who the employee will be reporting to.
Connection: giving your employee the opportunity to connect and network with their colleagues will be vital in helping them to form relationships and settle into their new role quickly.
Step 5: Orienting New Employees in the First Weeks
Goal: Continue to provide support in helping your new employee understand what is expected of them and understand their future progression possibilities within the company.
Step 6: Ongoing Employee Engagement and Team Building
Goal: Assist your staff in further building key relationships by creating ample opportunity for them to socialise and network internally and make connections across the office.
New employee onboarding: building a checklist for new hires
It’s always a good idea to have an onboarding checklist prepared for your new hire’s first day on the job.
Below we’ve detailed our best practice example, but feel free to personalise this to whatever suits how your business runs.
Whale’s New Employee Onboarding Best Practice Checklist
Make sure you have your employee’s workstation prepared before they arrive with everything they need. This could include:
- Employee handbook
- An agenda for their first week
- Necessary office equipment, e.g. laptop and mobile phone
- Login details
- Employee ID (if applicable)
- A set of business cards
- A personalised letter from their manager or the CEO
Ensure there is an appropriate member of staff to greet your new employee and welcome them correctly to the business. This could be their manager, the office manager, or perhaps a member of the HR department.
- Provide a tour of the office, pointing out areas that they’ll need such as the kitchen, stationery cupboard, toilets, and emergency exits. You should also give a brief introduction to relevant teams that they will be interacting with.
- Take them through any required paperwork, providing any detail they need to complete them. This will also give them the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have.
- Present your key company policies, and again provide an opportunity for them to ask any questions about how their role fits in with these.
- Make sure to keep in contact with your new hire throughout the day and arrange for a debrief at the end to get feedback on things such as how they found their first day and whether they have any outstanding questions that you can help them with.
If you are the hiring manager, you should also complete the following actions:
- Make sure you introduce your new employee to as many of their team members as possible in person, but also prepare an email to send out to the wider team.
- Make sure any computer equipment is set up and running correctly and engage with the IT department to ensure things such as email and any required applications have been installed.
Build and roll out role-specific training, including information on:
- Their key responsibilities
- The team structure (names, roles, duties, and organisational structure)
- Job-specific tools that they may need to use
- Your team’s objectives and how their role corresponds with this
- Schedule introductory meetings with your employee’s key contacts within the business.
- Assign initial tasks, ensuring you provide the opportunity for guidance, feedback, and questions.
- Assign a mentor or ‘work buddy’ to help them adjust to their new working environment.
- Organise a team lunch or drinks to properly welcome them into the team and help them build relationships with their new colleagues.
- Ensure your employee has everything they need to understand what their role will look like for the first weeks and months.
Whilst it’s, of course, important for your new employee to feel welcomed into the company, a good onboarding process will also give you a much better chance of retaining your new hires and giving them the best possible opportunity for success.
If you’d like to find out more about onboarding or preparing a winning process for your team, why not download our ebook “How to integrate and optimize your onboarding processes”?