Onboarding: 5 Key Steps to Ensure A Successful Process

Onboarding is a part of the recruitment process that can often be forgotten and underutilised. Relationships at work are so important and the onboarding process is often the first introduction new starts will have with your team. Therefore, the integration opportunity here cannot be denied. …

Rhona Macleod, HR & Employment Law Consultant author of blog about Onboarding

Blog11th Jun 2024

By Rhona Macleod

Onboarding is a part of the recruitment process that can often be forgotten and underutilised. Relationships at work are so important and the onboarding process is often the first introduction new starts will have with your team. Therefore, the integration opportunity here cannot be denied. 

In this article, we’ll be diving into onboarding so you can ensure new starts have the best start to life in your organisation. We’ll be covering: 

  • What is onboarding? 
  • The importance of having a robust process 
  • The benefits of onboarding for your organisation 
  • What should be included in your onboarding experience 

What is onboarding?

Employee onboarding is a process that encompasses everything required when a new team member joins your organisation. Through this process, the individual will receive training, information resources and more to help them establish themselves in their role. 

Typically, this process is kicked off when a candidate accepts their first offer and ends after the induction period is over. 

Why is a robust onboarding process so important?

Starting a new role can be overwhelming and daunting for candidates. An onboarding plan can help them to acclimatise to your organisation,  their role and help them to get an understanding and feel for the company culture. 

Onboarding isn’t just beneficial for the new team member- it can be a game changer for the rest of the team too. When you take the time to properly onboard someone, you’re not only helping them get up to speed on your organisation but also setting the tone for their success. By providing clear expectations, resources, and support from their very first day you create a strong foundation for a team that can work together to achieve amazing things. The team involved will benefit as they’ll be able to provide training, reflect on processes, improve communication, and strengthen bonds. It’s a great chance for them to also learn and share knowledge. 

Think about it like this- your new start might have had a 3 month notice period before joining your team. If you have a slick and smooth onboarding process you can spend that 3 months getting to know your employee and having regular touch points before they join. However, without one you leave your employee semi-in-the-dark until they start their first day. 

First impressions, as they say, are everything. So, you want this really important step in the employee lifecycle to get off to the best start possible. We always recommend communication with candidates before their start date- you can achieve this by staying in contact through email or by phone until their first day. Having their line manager reach out and introduce themselves is essential if they’ve not already met through the hiring process. 

The onboarding process is crucial to the new start as it provides an insight into the company culture before their first day, builds relationships and reduces stress for the individual, allowing them to feel comfortable and confident in their new role. 

As well as being beneficial to the new start, the onboarding process is important for the organisation as a whole. It can improve employee retention rates through the new start feeling supported, engaged and connected at the beginning of their working relationship, they are more likely to stay with the company longer-term. As a result, this can reduce turnover costs. Additionally, providing the candidates with contracts, policies and procedures reduces organisational risk to legal / regulatory issues and ensures a compliant work environment from day one. 

What are the benefits of onboarding for your organisation?

  • Better employee experience a good onboarding experience can lead to a great employee experience. It helps new starts to feel supported, involved, comfortable and included in the team. 
  • Higher employee engagement- You’re judging a new start on their performance but it’s important to remember they’re doing the same thing. They’ll be judging how quickly they receive their contract, how their first day in the role has gone and what their experience as a whole in their new role is for example. Positive experiences create better engagement, and that engagement is reflected in your teams.
  • Greater employee retention- An estimated 69% of employees are likely to remain with an employer for over 3 years if they’ve experienced a positive onboarding. This can create employee satisfaction, preparedness for what their role will entail and better outputs. 
  • Increased productivity- when done correctly the learning curve for new employees can be smaller. Good onboarding can reduce the time needed to learn new software, systems and tasks. Enabling your new start to produce a higher quality of work quicker. 
  • Strong company culture- it’s a common problem companies are facing- how to retain employees. Having a revolving door of employees is both time-consuming and expensive. However, when done right onboarding can be very beneficial. Having a core group of longstanding employees will help you to solidify your culture, making the onboarding experience better for your new starts. 

What should be included?

There are no set requirements for an onboarding process. The most important thing is that your process is unique to your organisation and doesn’t feel disjointed or disingenuous to who you are and what you stand for. To ensure you have it all covered we recommend that you follow the 5 c’s of onboarding. 

  1. Compliance- Arguably this is one of the least exciting parts of onboarding, but it is one of the most important parts. Compliance covers the essential elements such as completing paperwork, badging, and equipping employees with the necessary technology to do their jobs effectively. Streamlining this process where you can free up time to shine a light on creating memorable onboarding experiences where it matters.
  2. Clarification- When someone new joins your team it’s so important that they are given the necessary information to fully understand where their role fits within your team, what they need to be doing and how they’re expected to do it. At this stage, organigrams and team structures should be used to showcase how the team fits together.
  3. ConfidenceAn employee that’s confident in both their abilities and their decision to join your organisation is more likely to want to drive the business forward. They’ll want to prove those abilities and will take on new challenges to show they can complete tasks to a high standard. Through the experience you can design an onboarding plan that builds your employees up and provides them with both the tools and the know how to gain confidence and grow into their role. Creating a plan that clearly sets out role expectations, provides them with the necessary tools and resources to complete their tasks and giving them support from the very first day will help them to feel confident. 
  4. ConnectionWorking in a team shouldn’t ever feel lonely. When employees feel connected to their colleagues, you’re likely to see more positive individual and organisational outcomes. Employers should keep communication lines open throughout the employees notice period through line managers, talent acquisition or onboarding teams which will make the new start feel welcome. As a result, this builds confidence in their decision to switch employer. When your new hire joins the team this part of the onboarding journey’s purpose is to help them feel welcome and accepted within the organisation. By creating an onboarding journey that enables people to get to know the teams and people they’ll be working alongside, this will help your new start to establish those all important relationships that will be key in ensuring a positive connection. 
  5. CultureThis is the best time to get your new hires to understand the mission, vision and values of your organisation. Onboarding is an important way companies can form, maintain and also create changes to their culture. Through the process make sure you teach what truly matters in your organisation. Bringing teams into the process will help create cohesion in the new hire experience. 

How can AAB People help?

Onboarding should not be a forgotten task or even one that has less importance in the new starter journey. It can be a key to success when utilised properly. When you focus on the 5 Cs of onboarding, you’ll be able to create a seamless onboarding journey that ensures your new team members are set up for success. 

Our team of specialists can help you create a bespoke onboarding journey that integrates your new starts seamlessly into your team. Creating a positive work culture and workplace that your people are proud to work within. 

If you have any queries about how to create a successful onboarding process please do not hesitate to get in contact with Rhona Macleod, or your usual AAB People contact. 

By Rhona Macleod

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