How to Build an Onboarding Experience

Recruiting and employee management don't end when an offer has been accepted. In fact, the new employee's first days and weeks on the job are critical to establishing a strong foundation, ensuring that the employee will thrive, and laying the groundwork for what you hope to be a long-term employee engagement. Today's leading companies are building successful recruiting processes designed to attract the best candidates through well-structured recruiting initiatives, targeted job openings, marketing, and the latest in HR and recruiting technology. Your company's onboarding process should continue that carefully crafted and branded process to help launch motivated and informed employees into the workplace.

Streamline the Benefits and New Hire Paperwork Process

One of the most important aspects of onboarding new hires is processing their employment information. For many new employees, this is one of the first on-the-job interactions and may be the first thing that they tackle on day one in the office. Candidates that are handed an intimidating package of information and told to bring it back when it's done rarely have a good experience. Instead, companies are taking two steps to streamline and improve this aspect of the onboarding experience.

One is to use an integrated onboarding technology system that allows new hires access to online forms. In an online platform, it's possible to offer additional help through chat features, customized videos, and direct links with an HR rep. The second is providing dedicated HR support to review all aspects of the onboarding paperwork process with candidates, from employment verification to basic emergency contact information. The right technology reduces the time that your team spends collecting new hire forms

Have the Appropriate Materials Available for New Hires

According to the Candidate Experience Awards, almost 50 percent of candidates review a company's materials to determine if they're a good fit. In particular, they're looking at your values and assessing your brand. Companies that are committed to building a successful onboarding process should consider conducting an audit of their materials. In particular, it's helpful to understand what messages your recruiting materials, websites, and other collateral are sending.

During the onboarding process, it's important that new employees be introduced to company policies and procedures. It is also a good time to reinforce the company's culture, the kind of work environment that you strive to have, and how to work to improve the employee experience. One key document that can help is presenting and reviewing your company's employee handbook.

Think About Making Onboarding a Personalized Experience

Certain administrative and policy steps need to be completed during onboarding. But many companies are realizing the value of making onboarding an experience. What steps can you take to help get people excited about the company? Can employee ambassadors from different departments join the group for lunch or give short presentations about how individual areas of company operations work? Can a key executive stop by and answer questions? Small branded gifts, team building exercises, and similar steps can help quickly bond new hires to the company.

Finally, don't forget to arrange follow ups with your new employees during their first few weeks or months of employment. A member of your HR team can send a follow up email to new hires to make sure that everything with benefits and payroll is going smoothly. A meeting four or six weeks after hire over lunch or coffee can give your human resources team an idea of how new employees are settling in and help proactively address any problems that could affect long-term retention.

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Comment by Katrina Kibben on March 3, 2015 at 1:36pm

This is great, thanks for posting. I particularly like your note about customizing the experience. There's nothing worse than walking into a room full of the same binder and the same blank stare from someone in HR who is about to spout "the speech." Do you have any other example of customizing the experience?


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