In order to create a positive onboarding experience for your new employee, you have to first understand what that means. Many people mistakenly think that new employee onboarding is the same as orientation and often use the terms interchangeable.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Onboarding is a strategic process which you as an employer use to convey to new employees your organizational brand, culture, and values. The process also aligns the corporate expectation, vision and goals with departmental and individual performance. It also provides the new employee with the tools that are necessary to adapt and become part of the company culture, as well as shorten the time required to reach full productivity.
New hire orientation, by contrast, is an event usually a half day or full day in which the new employee completes the necessary paperwork and learns about policies such as Sexual Harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity, Blood Borne Pathogens, etc. This event is important and should be part of the onboarding process.
New employee onboarding processes vary in length from 12 to 18 months, depending on the needs of the organization. As you review your current onboarding process or consider implementing one, please keep in mind that this process should be part of your overall Talent Management strategy.
3 Common Mistakes
- Forgetting Pre-Onboarding Activities. A common mistake that companies make when hiring new employees and initiating their onboarding process is they forget the pre-onboarding activities. These are the activities that should take place before the employee’s first day at work. Remember that this is your chance to make a great first impression and make sure the employee feels welcomed, valued and appreciated. Some of the more common pre-onboarding activities include: a welcome letter from the employee’s manager, information from HR that includes information about the company, its culture, products, team members, benefits, and other first day logistics. This is not only a great opportunity to make the employee feel welcomed but to create a sense of excitement, engagement and a sense of belonging.
- Not Having the Manager Present. Companies also fail to have the manager present on the employee’s first day. The employee’s direct supervisor should be the person that walks the employee around to meet people in the department. By having the direct supervisor present on the employee’s first day, you reinforce that the employee is a valued team member.
- Sweat the Small Stuff. Lastly, it is important to sweat the small stuff. Make sure that the employee’s work station is up and running when he or she sits down at it. This means that you need to make sure the employee has a computer, is setup on the email system and has access to all of the various company programs. If the position requires other devices such as cell phone, iPad, etc. make sure they are waiting on the desk for the employee.
A well thought out onboarding process is the best way to ensure that your new employees feel welcomed and valued. It also gives you an opportunity really get the employee engaged. Checkout our guide “Things to Consider before Implementing: New Employee Onboarding”.