How to Give New Hires a Perfect Onboarding Experience for Free (+7 Free Templates)

Perfect onboarding experience

New hire churn is expensive. Working in HR, you know the cost of having to replace an employee once they hand in their resignation.

A recent survey found that 65% of workers are actively searching for new employment. If you’ve worked in HR for some time, the thought of two-thirds of your employees walking is very worrying. The cost of a new hire found through a recruitment agency can be up to $7500 or more. To start building employee retention early on, and prevent excessive hiring costs, it pays to focus on a perfect onboarding experience.

Here at Process Street, we’ve extensively studied onboarding to help prevent exorbitant costs. One of our greatest successes has been in looking at the recurring tasks involved in onboarding. We’ve helped to provide insight into what can go wrong, and also built templates to direct companies away from excessive spending and losses. 

We believe you can create a perfect onboarding experience for new hires. We also think it can be done without breaking the bank. Please read on to find out more, and utilize our best onboarding templates:

What makes a good onboarding experience?

Every employee is different. Their views and needs are different, as is their sense of what makes for an enjoyable working life.

Good onboarding should make the employee feel engaged right from day one. Good engagement equals good retention. It’s estimated that disengaged employees cost a great deal of money. Gallup went so far as to state that there is a connection between employee engagement and performance outcomes including:

A good onboarding experience should start quickly – even before day one. Preboarding is part of the complete onboarding experience. The first thing to consider is making a good impression, and to set clear goals for your new hire.

Also, ask yourself if you are responding quickly to new hire questions, whether over the phone or online. If you’ve previously followed a set of tasks through an Excel spreadsheet, ask yourself if this process is still quick enough. Your overall strategy is what will determine a good onboarding experience and the faster it moves, the better.

Employee Onboarding Quick Start template

Click here to get the employee onboarding quick start template!

Why is a good onboarding experience important?

As well as introducing your new hire to the company’s culture, you want to let them know they are not just another number. With this in mind, a good onboarding experience helps you to head off future problems such as:

  • Retention;
  • Lack of clear direction;
  • New hires are uncomfortable because they’re not sure what’s expected of them.

70% of employees who had exceptional onboarding experiences reported they were very happy with their position. It also seems that employee performance increases by up to 11% with quality onboarding.

However, it’s important not to overwhelm your new hire with a plethora of materials and information. If you look back to your first day, you might remember a huge employee handbook. Unplanned first days, where a new hire might be left to sit alone reading, may indicate to the new hire that the organization is poorly managed.

To prevent this impression, take a look at your existing checklist of tasks. Ask if your processes involve enough one-on-one communication, and not just emailing a large list of documents to be read. Consider the use of a messaging program, such as Slack, to streamline your communication and make it work-focused.

Employee Onboarding Checklist template

Click here to get the employee onboarding checklist template!

Employee onboarding and retention

It’s not just office-based employees your onboarding should help to retain.

Forty years ago, just 1.5% of employees worked from home; by 2019, that figure had grown to 4.7%. In the case of remote employees, onboarding should be just as important. Whether remote or office-based, establish good communication early on.

This can be done with the use of:

  • Weekly 1-1 training;
  • Structured Zoom meetings allowing new hires to meet different departments;
  • An online business directory that helps to put a name to a face with the use of photographs, and provides a short biography of staff where possible.

Even if your new hire is working in another country you can help them understand your company culture:

  • Encourage them to take up a hobbies, such as mindfulness, to help avoid burnout, and show the company values their wellbeing;
  • Provide a suggested reading list tailored to your company objectives;
  • Talk to them about online training courses.

Give new team members the tools they need to do the work.

– George Bradt, Executive onboarding expert

Engaging all of your employees, regardless of their location, is the best way to ensure retention.

Onboarding Remote Employees Checklist template

Click here to get the onboarding remote employees checklist template!

When does employee onboarding start?

Ideally, employee onboarding should start before the new hire arrives at your office. You need to prepare the new hire’s desk, computer equipment, and their access to online services. 

Prior preparation will make their transition into your company far smoother. It will also, as we mentioned earlier, create the right impression and build their confidence in you.

Ask yourself:

  • Who will greet them on their first day?
  • Will they have a buddy to explain the company’s culture?
  • Is there a first project they can begin in their first week?
  • How often should there be meetings to check on their progress?

Feedback is also something that new hires look forward to receiving. If possible, incorporate daily feedback meetings between the new hire and their onboarding buddy or mentor.

New Hire Onboarding Process template

Click here to get the new hire onboarding process template!

How long should employee onboarding last?

In some ways, onboarding is an almost continuous process. Having a first-day, 30-day, and even 90-day plan is a good starting point. There is some belief that the process should last at least one year

The question of the length of employee onboarding is down to your HR team. To determine it, you need to answer the question of what outcome you want for your new hire. An aptitude test can be used to determine what other strengths a new hire has brought to your organization. It can also future proof the employee’s development growth.

The 30-60-90 Day Plan for New Hires template

Click here to get the 30-60-90 day plan for new hires template!

How to automate employee onboarding

At Process Street, we have automated the onboarding checklist workflow. We’ve looked at tasks that employers have previously allotted to paper. From our research, this business process is flawed. This is concerning access to checklists and their intended purpose. Our workflows, automated and optimized, have allowed organizations to:

  • Pre-board employees online before their official start date;
  • Provide a streamlined onboarding process that is user friendly;
  • Utilize a large gallery of workflow templates designed specifically for onboarding;
  • Allow organizations to track the progress of their new hire’s onboarding.

With the pace of change ever increasing, many new hires are looking to gain as much information as possible about a new role. By providing a centralized knowledge hub, you allow new hires to develop a self-serve attitude.

Employee Onboarding with Automations template

Click here to get the employee onboarding with automations template!

Employee onboarding for small businesses

As a small business, you should first consider the purpose of your employee onboarding. It may be worthwhile to first think small and simple. To manage your business processes, try to envision what would be important to your new hire.

This could be things such as: 

  1. What should they wear to your office?
  2. Where can they get a map of the area where you are based?
  3. Who will they meet on their first day?

All of the above can be made available online on any smartphone or tablet, and easily accessible to your new hire. Small things such as these create a great impression, leading to great retention in the long term.

If you’re worried about having limited resources as a small business, think about creating short, instructive videos. It’s also great for new hires to see and hear your current employees expound on their daily work lives.

With Process Street, you can easily integrate your video, images, and even your brand into optimized workflows. This creates attractive and easy-to-follow processes that acclimatize new hires quickly. But why spend time making your own resources? With Process Street you can get access to ready-made onboarding templates for employees such as developers.

Developer Onboarding Checklist for Startups template

Click here to get the developer onboarding checklist for startups template!

Ask for feedback to help improve employee onboarding

In our free ebook, The Complete Guide to Business Process Management, we looked at the first and simplest advice to improve business process management. We specifically said:

“Without processes, you have no idea why something went wrong.”

This kind of thinking is essential to business processes, no matter how large the organization is. Netflix has been known to run quick polls to ask viewers their opinions on possible new and upcoming material. At Process Street, we have entered into the practice of asking for feedback on our onboarding process from new hires. You can also run monthly online surveys to capture the views of new hires to find out which of your business processes are working and not working.

In terms of free assistance with onboarding, we recommend our product called Pages. It acts as an ecosystem storing your workflows and plans for your onboarding process.

You can also use it to:

  • Store your employee handbook;
  • Create guides for new hires that can be studied on a laptop or smartphone;
  • Keep all your SOPs in one accessible online space.

For an example of how Process Street can improve your standard operating procedure, and streamline training and onboarding, please take a look at the two-minute video below:

You can also watch an introductory webinar from the comfort of your office chair:

Let us know what you think makes the perfect onboarding experience. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Mark Jones

Mark Jones is a content writer at Process Street.


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