Expertise

Employee Onboarding Checklist: Main Strategies

By PlaysDev
Published: Apr 12, 2024

How successfully employees settle into a new workplace determines their subsequent productivity and the likelihood of dismissal. Research shows that 80% of employees make decisions to change jobs during their first week at the company.

Onboarding is the critical process by which new employees acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to fit into the organization and its established workforce.

The definition of employee onboarding differs from organization to organization. While the process is typically fairly similar, the time period and tasks involved make each onboarding program unique.

Building an effective onboarding process is the best way to welcome and retain new employees.

Effective onboarding is about pre-planning and thinking from the new employee’s perspective. It doesn’t start and end on your new employee’s first day working with you. Onboarding begins at the beginning of the hiring process and ends when your new hire is fully comfortable in their role.

What is onboarding?

Employee adaptation or onboarding is a process during which new employees adapt to changes in their work environment, mastering new roles, tasks, processes and becoming familiar with the corporate culture of the new company. Like the client, it is important to accompany a new employee at all stages of development, but not to be intrusive.

The goal of onboarding is to create a positive first impression of the organization for a new employee, speed up his integration into the team and increase productivity in the early stages of work.

Onboarding stages

Preparing for a job

  1. Signing the employment contract and collecting the necessary documents.
    Handling formalities such as filling out forms, providing salary and benefit information, and gaining access to office systems and resources.
  2. Introduction
    Providing information about the company: history, mission, values, culture and structure of the organization.
    Meeting key employees and managers, including conducting introductory meetings.
  3. Familiarization with the workplace and resources
    Showing and explaining the location of the workplace, office, kitchen, toilet and other important places in the office.
    Demonstrate and explain the use of office equipment and tools such as computers, phones, printers, etc.
    Training in the use of corporate systems and software.
  4. Education and training
    Conducting training sessions and training required to complete work tasks.
    Training in organizational processes and procedures, including policies, leave processes, safety procedures, and more.
    Providing training in the key skills needed to perform the job successfully.
  5. Setting Goals and Expectations
    Discuss management’s expectations for performing work and achieving goals.
    Setting individual goals and development plans within the organization.
    Determination of key performance indicators and evaluation timelines.
  6. Support and feedback
    Providing support and resources for the new employee during the first weeks of employment.
    Provide regular feedback on performance and adaptation.
    Resolving any questions or problems that a new employee may have during the onboarding process.

Why (good) adaptation matters

A poor onboarding experience can leave employees feeling uncomfortable, confused, or even discouraged. A recent Paychex survey found that 52% of new employees feel underprepared after being hired, with small company employees (66%) and remote workers (63%) suffering the most.

This, of course, affects their performance and attitude towards the company. According to the report, 51% of employees say that with good onboarding they would be able to achieve their best in their work. Well-adapted employees will understand their responsibilities more quickly, interact more effectively with colleagues, and use the organization’s resources as intended.

Why (good) adaptation matters

And with misunderstanding and discomfort comes attrition: a staggering 50% of newly hired employees plan to leave their job soon, with this number skyrocketing to 80% among those who feel underprepared due to poor onboarding.

On the other hand, only 7% of well-trained employees plan to leave in the near future, which reduces the cost of finding, hiring and training new employees.

Effective employee onboarding helps strengthen team relationships and reduce conflict because well-onboarded employees better understand their peers, the values of the team, and their role within the team. We hope that by the time you read this, you are already sufficiently convinced of how important competent adaptation of employees in their first working days is for an employer.

Employee Onboarding Strategies

Traditional strategy

The process of the traditional method of employee adaptation consists of: an adaptation conversation, discussion of the employee’s development plan (how he sees his role and his opportunities for growth in the company), corporate events, training, periodic feedback (one-to-one meetings), performance evaluation during and after the probationary period.

The main disadvantage of the traditional adaptation method is the unconscious limitation of the initiative of the new employee. At first, the employee will be embarrassed to make bold proposals, challenge the wrong decisions of colleagues, and generally tend to feel less important and experienced.

Modern approach

Partly, the problems described above can be solved using modern onboarding methods – through automation of routine HR processes and a personalized approach to newcomers. Let’s consider several methods that have appeared relatively recently.

Individual adaptation methods

Budding

Budding is a method of individual adaptation of employees, which consists of assigning an experienced colleague to a new employee as a buddy. He himself recently joined the company, holds approximately the same position and communicates with the employee on equal terms. He already has more experience and will talk about the culture, processes and features of the company more informally. This method allows the new employee to quickly get used to the new environment, learn how to perform his duties and better understand the culture of the organization.

The budding method is effective because it provides an individual and personalized approach to the onboarding of a new employee, and also promotes the development of relationships within the team. Buddy can become not only a mentor, but also a friend for the new employee, which helps him feel more confident and comfortable in the new work environment. Agree, it’s more pleasant for all of us to work when there is a beloved colleague and friend in the team.

Shadowing

A newbie follows an experienced employee like a shadow. He observes the process and learns in practice the intricacies of working in a new company, and the mentor does not waste time training the newcomer.

Shadowing is a method of individual adaptation of employees, which consists of having a new employee follow an experienced colleague or manager in the workplace, observing his work and participating in processes. This method allows a new employee to gain hands-on experience, learn processes, and gain valuable knowledge from an experienced employee.

In addition, this method promotes the development of relationships between employees and the transfer of experience and knowledge from experienced to new employees.

Gamification

Gamification in the employee onboarding process is the use of game elements and mechanics in training or adaptation programs to engage and motivate employees. Helps make the learning and onboarding process more interesting, engaging and effective.

For example, Google has introduced gamified elements into its onboarding program using an internal platform called Googler to Googler. This platform gives new employees access to resources, training materials and interactive modules that help them quickly adapt to working in the company.

Gamification

Google’s g2g (Googlers-to-Googlers) program is an internal voluntary learning network of more than 6,000 Google employees. Experienced employees dedicate part of their time to helping their colleagues learn and grow. Despite the fact that all this goes beyond the scope of their main job responsibilities.

Nearly 80% of all internal learning at Google occurs through the g2g community—whether it’s course teaching, one-on-one mentoring, or developing training materials.

Google’s g2g (Googlers-to-Googlers) program is an internal voluntary learning network of more than 6,000 Google employees. Experienced employees dedicate part of their time to helping their colleagues learn and grow. Despite the fact that all this goes beyond the scope of their main job responsibilities.
Nearly 80% of all internal learning at Google occurs through the g2g community—whether it’s course teaching, one-on-one mentoring, or developing training materials.

Let’s look at a few ways to gamify the onboarding process:

  1. Creating interactive quests or a series of tasks that new employees must complete as part of their onboarding. This may involve solving puzzles, completing quest-type tasks, or solving riddles to gain access to new knowledge and resources.
  2. Using gaming simulations to simulate different business scenarios or processes that employees may encounter in their work. This allows them to practice skills and make decisions in a safe environment.
  3. Creating a system of in-game bonuses and achievements to track the progress of new employees during the onboarding process. This may include receiving bonuses for completing certain tasks, achieving certain goals, or passing certain onboarding milestones. Very often, even receiving certain avatars or the “next level unlocked” effect has a positive effect.
  4. Introducing leaderboards and competitions between new employees or teams to encourage collaboration, participation and competition. This can be related to completing tasks, gaining points, or achieving certain goals. Look at how popular the Duolingo app is, much of which is focused on competing to be the best in your league and have the most points.
  5. Developing interactive learning modules or courses that present information through game elements, such as quizzes, interactive activities, or simulations. What could be easier than creating a quiz on Quizlet? That’s what we think too. Rather, introduce game elements into the onboarding process – swiping cards is still more fun than listening to long lectures from senior managers.

Email newsletters

The concept of email onboarding has become widespread due to the advent of remote work. Many companies, mainly in the IT industry and with employees from different countries, have begun to implement email newsletters to work accounts – it is very fast, effective and convenient.
When onboarding, it is important that information is provided to the employee in doses. In this case, email chains with small portions of new materials come to the rescue.

A new employee receives information dose by dose by email, he needs to figure it out on his own, which also shows the degree of his interest and skills. However, it is important to consider that many people may perceive this as insufficient attention to themselves from the company, since not everyone is ready for self-training.

Here’s what it might look like:

  1. Send a personalized welcome email to a new employee shortly before their first day. This allows you to create a positive first impression and prepares you for the job to begin.
  2. Mailings with key information about the company, its values, mission, structure and culture. This helps new employees better understand the context and expectations in the new organization.
  3. Providing training materials and resources on key aspects of the company, such as processes, policies, systems and tools. This may include links to internal resources, videos, presentations or online training modules.
  4. Organize a series of email newsletters with induction programs, including tasks, quizzes or short lessons that will help new employees master the main aspects and processes of the company.
  5. Send an onboarding plan or first week’s schedule so new hires know what to expect and what tasks they’ll have to complete as they begin their careers.
  6. Provide regular support and feedback via email newsletters so that new employees can ask questions, share their experiences and get the help they need.

Corporate platform

Enterprise and learning onboarding platforms can be used in various types of organizations – from large corporations to small startups. They can be deployed on web applications or company intranets.

These platforms are used to speed up and improve the onboarding process for new employees, provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills, and ensure standardization of the onboarding process across the organization.

Pros:

  • They allow you to provide training in a convenient form, which reduces the time for mastering the material.
  • They standardize the onboarding process for all new employees, which helps to avoid omissions and misunderstandings.
  • The platforms usually offer interactive courses and assignments, which makes the learning process more fun and memorable.
  • Allows you to track the progress of new employees and evaluate their success in the adaptation process.

Cons:

  • Implementing and maintaining enterprise learning platforms requires a significant investment of time and resources.
  • Lack of personalization
  • The dangers of information overload

Companies that are known for their effective onboarding processes attract more talented candidates and have a more positive reputation as a place to work.

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