How to Build a New Employee Onboarding Plan That Works

How to Build a New Employee Onboarding Plan That Works

Did you know hiring a new employee costs 16 percent of a low-wage worker’s annual salary? For positions such as a manager that cost rises to 20 percent, and for upper management positions it can cost more than that employee’s yearly salary. 

However, in companies that have a great new employee onboarding plan program, 69 percent of employees are likely to remain for at least three years. if you want to save thousands of dollars, it is essential to build an onboarding process that works. 

Keep reading to find out more about how to build an onboarding plan. 

What Is Onboarding? 

Many people are familiar with new employee orientation. However, is new employee onboarding just a fancier term for orientation? No. 

Orientation is a one-time event. It allows new employees to be introduced to your companies values, vision, mission, policies, procedures, and more. The content in orientation is going to be big picture and prepare the employee for onboarding. 

Onboarding is a process that can last for months. This process allows new employees to adjust to the company culture and their roles. A good onboarding process teaches employees how to be successful and ensures they are ready to contribute. 

Goals of Onboarding

There should be basic goals of onboarding for your employees. These goals will help you when it comes to shaping your new employee onboarding plan.

One of the goals should be making sure that your new hire is ready to contribute early on within their new role. They will need resources to help them complete their functions. 

The next goal should be helping your new hire to increase their comfort level. Creating a welcoming environment by introducing them to their teammates and having them learn how they will interact with other employees will help with this. 

Another goal of onboarding will be to encourage your new employees’ engagement and commitment. New minds bring new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. Use this to your benefit. 

Importance of Onboarding

A good onboarding program will help employees be more engaged in the workplace. Employees who are engaged are committed and that provides many benefits for your company. 

Some of the benefits of employee engagement are reduced turnover rates, higher profits, improved safety records, better product quality, better consumer evaluations, and fewer work absences. 

Onboarding also helps with employee retention as evidenced by the statistics in the introduction. Employee retention ultimately will save you money as a company. 

Plan Your Onboarding Program

There are some basic questions you need to answer before you can effectively implement an onboarding plan. These questions will help you decide what components are most important to your company. 

First of all, you want to know the different roles members of your company will play. For example, what role will HR, managers, and co-workers play? 

You will need to decide what impression you want your new employees to have after their first day. Part of this will be acclimating your new hire to the work culture and environment. So in respect to that, what do your new hires need to know about the work culture? 

One of the most important things you need to know is what goals you have for your new employees. As you decide on these goals you will need to decide several things, this will be covered more later. 

Finally, while you should always be helping your employees grow and develop at some point the official onboarding program will end. Decide how long you want your official onboarding program to last. When considering the time length make sure it is reasonable for new employees to reach the goals you set for them in that time. 

Start Onboarding

When does onboarding new hires begin? Does it begin after you have made a job offer and they accept? Or does it begin on day one when they walk in the door? 

An effective onboarding program should begin when your new employee accepts the job offer. 

Everyone has experienced walking into a new office on the first day and spending half the day bogged down with tax forms, insurance forms, and more. This is a tedious part of onboarding.

However, this does not have to be a tedious part of the first day. When your new employee accepts their new role they can begin paperwork then. 

Many companies have moved to automated systems that allow them to connect new employees to portals. In these portals, employees can fill out their information before they even walk in the door. Learn more about these programs and use them to your companies benefit.

Day One

Your new employee walks in the door. Are you prepared? Or are you fumbling to get them the things they need? 

This is going to be one of the first impressions your new hire has of the company and it is important to be prepared. Make day one all about helping your new hire orient to their space and meet their co-workers. 

Prepare for Success

Before your new hire walks in the door make sure their workspace is set up. If you have company swag (who doesn’t love swag) then put some in their workspace. Make sure that they have pens, paper, and other essential items. 

Ensure that their passwords and other accounts are set up with generic passwords that can be changed. Help populate their calendar with important dates such as meetings and payday. 

Make Introductions

Introduce your new employees to their co-workers. Let them know what different people do and how that interacts with their roles. Set up a time during lunch for them to get to know other employees. 

Whether that means a team lunch or just meeting up in the breakroom and eating lunch together. The first day can be difficult as new employees are trying to figure out where they fit. Giving them opportunities to engage will help them begin to feel comfortable. 

Do Not Forget the Tour

You will want to show your new employee where things are such as the restroom, break room, conference room, and more. This will help them learn their way around the workplace but it will also help them in the process of beginning to feel comfortable in the workplace. 

Week One

Week One will include your new hire learning about their role and their responsibilities. During this time you will want to schedule one on one meetings that will help your work with your employee to track their progress. 

You will also want to check in regularly and respond to questions. Your new employee must know you want to ensure their success. 

Introduce Goals

What goals do you expect your new hire to meet and in what time frame? You will want to set S.M.A.R.T goals for your new employees. Do not make these goals too big or they will feel overwhelmed quickly. 

However, you can take them through the goals and the time frames and how you plan to help them achieve them. This is going to help give your new employee direction. 

Introduce Evaluation

Let your new hire know how they will be evaluated. This means that you will need an evaluation program in place! If you have a rubric then provide that information to your new employee. 

It is difficult to know you are being “graded” and meet your goals if you do not know how you are being “graded.” In addition, being unclear about expectations and how you will be evaluated can create anxiety in new employees. 

Continue Building Relationships

After day one you want to continue helping your new employees build relationships with their co-workers. There are multiple ways you can do this, however, one of the most effective ways is through building a mentorship program. 

Build a Mentor Program

As a new hire, it can sometimes be difficult to know who to turn to when you have a question. You can create a chat where they can ask questions but if they struggle in group settings this may not work. 

Building a mentor or buddy program in your workplace for new hires will give them someone they can turn to when they have questions. It will also help your new hire become acclimated to the company culture faster. 

However, the benefits of a mentoring program extend beyond this. These programs build leadership, build diversity, allow for reverse mentoring, and save on costs. 

When you are looking to create a mentorship program be sure that you choose mentors for your new hires with skills to help them feel comfortable and good knowledge of the company and culture. 

Individualize Onboarding

It is easy to send everyone through the same system. However, that is a sure way to set your new hires up for failure. 

Take the time to get to know your new employee. Ask them how they best learn and what kind of management style works best for them. When you learn more about your new hire and individualize the process to them it makes them feel more appreciated as an employee. 

When your employees feel appreciated it builds trust and increases productivity. 

Provide Tools

One of the most important things you can do during your onboarding program is making sure your employees have the tools to be successful. If they do not have these tools then they will fail. 

Your employees should be given every opportunity to succeed and they should feel as if they are given those opportunities. 

Create Ongoing Programs

Your official onboarding program may end after three months or six months. However, onboarding should be considered a continual process. As your employees reach initial goals, growth and development should not stop there. 

In the first few months, your employee will learn the skills they need to be successful within their job. However, after that, it will be about mastering those skills. Continue providing resources to help employees master skills. 

As your employees begin to master the skills they use on a daily basis provide other opportunities to allow them to grow and develop. When a job becomes stagnant it can be easy for your employees to become dissatisfied. 

Evaluate Your Program

Evaluation of your onboarding program should happen on a continual basis. As your employees reach the end of their onboarding ask them to fill out an evaluation. 

You can allow them to rank different aspects of the program on a numbered scale. Questions such as, did you feel your onboarding program gave you the tools needed to perform your job, are great options for numbered scales. 

However, you also want to give your employees the opportunity to leave written feedback. You can have an additional comments section and short answer questions. Short answer questions you should consider asking are:

  1. What did you like best about the onboarding program?
  2. What would you like to change?
  3. How could we have helped you more?
  4. Do you feel you have the tools to do your job?
  5. Do you feel you understand the company culture and mission? 
  6. Did you feel supported through the process? Why or why not. 

Start Your New Employee Onboarding Plan

Now that you know how to implement a new employee onboarding plan get started and build your company up strong! New employee onboarding plans can be very beneficial and create many opportunities within the company when utilized correctly. 

Was this article helpful to you? If so, then take the time to visit and read more in the business section of the blog to help you better structure your workplace. 

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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