How to create an onboarding program for new employees
Wouldn’t it be great if a new employee can join your team and immediately fit in as if they have always been part of the team? That is precisely what a great onboarding program can achieve. So, how does one set up a successful, effective onboarding program?
An onboarding program needs to be carefully planned, with specifically devised activities in order to be greatly successful. A good strategy is to make an onboarding checklist of what needs to be conveyed to the new employee and what needs to be achieved in the onboarding process, with precise actions that need to be taken. For this purpose, consider which of the following needs to form part of your company’s onboarding program:
- company story, company culture, history, vision, mission, and values
- hierarchies within the company, meeting team members, meeting senior management
- mentorship, orientation of the workplace, introduction to digital/mechanical tools
- familiarization with products/services; the making of products; understanding customers
- job description, clarifying expectations, rights, and responsibilities
- compliance training, safety training, protocols, policies, and procedures
- career coaching, growth opportunities, company perks
So, before devising an onboarding program, plan carefully and consider the areas that your onboarding program needs to address. (Also, consider where video material can be incorporated into your onboarding program as it is an essential tool in any onboarding program. In most of the areas mentioned above video material can immediately engage the new employee in ways that few other approaches can.)
Your onboarding program does not only have to start the morning that the new employee first comes through the door. Employee preparation needs to take place even before the starting day. There are resources that can be made available and activities that new employees can get involved with prior to the start of the new job. With this in mind, carefully consider what resources you can make available to new employees for them to prepare themselves for their first day at work. For example, introductory video clips and explainer videos can really make a big difference! Short video clips introducing the people at the office, or showing the office layout, or explaining the dress code, will already make the first day at work a little less daunting.
Socialising needs to form a part of the onboarding process too. Make arrangements for a relaxing out-of-work socialising event to connect with new employees. Out-of-work socialising will make the new employee feel truly welcome and also serve to introduce the new employee to the rest of the staff. At the same time, an event that has been arranged for this purpose will also serve as a team-building exercise for the rest of the employees.
Do not overlook the role of Social Media in an onboarding program. For example, where appropriate and relevant, include the new employee in social media platforms even before their first day at work (but do not do it in such a way that they feel like a fish out of water – get the timing right and get new employees to join only after they have met the rest of the team at a socialising event, for example. Or, after they have seen video introductions to team members.
Once the new employee has started work, a buddy system could be used very successfully in the onboarding program. The buddy is someone that the employee can go to for immediate guidance. To make him/her feel secure and cared for the buddy needs to be a hands-on mentor. In addition, make sure that the buddy also regularly connects online with the new employee. However, do not make the mistake of making others untouchable at work. For example, make sure that management also interacts with the new employee. Senior management needs to take part in the onboarding process in order to make the new employee feel welcome and valued.
Step by step
Do not overwhelm the new employee – they need to feel welcome and excited to join your team – not get second thoughts as to whether they have made the right choice accepting your offer! Therefore, create a sense of belonging, make new employees feel welcome, but do not bombard them with information. Only give what is relevant for that particular moment – give more information step by step. Too much information and too many materials can be an overload in any situation – even more so for somebody who is new in a company. The motto is little by little and step by step!!
An effective onboarding program gets the new employee on board from the word go; it caters to the wellbeing of the new employee and this, in turn, increases productivity. So, welcome and assimilate the new employee into your organization with an outstanding onboarding program. This can only have a positive impact, as it will help to make new employees excited about the prospect of working for your company.