10 Ways You Can Make Employee Onboarding Improvements

Businesses have been fighting to win the war for top talent since the Great Resignation. To do this, they’re revamping their recruiting strategies to grab the migrating workforce’s attention. 

All this repolishing to recruiting processes means nothing if companies can’t keep this top talent in their workforce. McKinsey found that the biggest problem a CEO faces is holding on to company talent after these employees have been hired. 

This isn’t the case. Poor onboarding can lead to your new hire walking out of your company as quickly as they entered – sometimes even faster. 17% of new hires leave before their first 90 days. 

Effective onboarding is needed to integrate new employees into the existing company culture, ultimately helping to retain them. 

Onboarding isn’t a new company practice. However, believing employee loyalty is guaranteed once they’ve signed their contract is only fake news. 

We’re talking all things onboarding improvements in this Process Street article to ensure you’re keeping the top talent you’re working so hard to attract to your company.  

What’s the problem with the onboarding process? 

Your onboarding program has the power to boost retention, decrease hiring costs, and increase productivity. However, it can also cause a lot of harm when improvements need to be made like:

This onboarding experience is the first impression your new hire gets when entering the workforce. Your new employees are evaluating you just as you are to them. 

If you’re not fulfilling the promises you made during the recruiting phase, get ready for them to flee. 

For example, you might have advertised a collaborative workplace community. However, once they arrive, they find themselves in an empty room with a stack of paperwork without any clear guidance and direction. 

As you can imagine, they’ll feel misled and demotivated – one step closer to resignation.

What you get from improving the onboarding process

Onboarding improvements are an investment. Here’s what you can get from making these onboarding improvements: 

Reduced hiring costs

Welcoming a new employee to your team isn’t cheap. On average, you’ll spend $4,000 and 24 days recruiting a new hire. 

But a new hire doesn’t only involve recruitment. Trainer and senior employee labor are included during the orientation and onboarding phase. HR effort is focused on getting new employees acclimatized to their new roles. 

That’s a worthwhile investment if your new hire remains, but you can easily skyrocket your recruitment costs if this new employee quits after a short time. 

In providing an effective onboarding experience, you don’t need to keep spending your time and resources replacing new employees that haven’t stuck around. 

Enhanced employee retention

Average company turnover in the US is sitting at 19.3%. If employees don’t have a positive experience in their workplace, they can quickly find a new opportunity elsewhere. 

Improving your onboarding process can help increase employee retention rates. This is because a good onboarding experience helps them:

One of the best ways to ensure an employee enjoys working at a company is to offer a strong onboarding program. A new hire is 58% likely to remain at the company for more than 3 years when they’re given a structured onboarding program. 

Quicker employee productivity 

When a new hire starts at a company, they aren’t immediately productive in their new role. They need to get through the normal ‘newbie’ stuff, like meeting their colleagues and getting familiar with common company processes. 

Between doing all of this, it can take a few months for a new employee to feel settled in their role and reach their full potential. By onboarding efficiently, employers can reduce this time to proficiency.

As a result, the new employee can become 70% more productive

Easier candidate attraction 

Potential job applicants typically browse through sites like Indeed and Glassdoor to grasp what it would be like working for a specific company. Reviews from satisfied current and former employees leave a fantastic first impression on candidates. 

In contrast, you’re not going to attract many top talent candidates if you have negative reviews from former employees. 

Research shows that 1 out of 5 new hires isn’t likely to recommend a company to their friends or family after a poor onboarding experience. 

Offering a good onboarding process to your employees can help you attract quality talent while also boasting long-term retention, benefiting the organization’s bottom line.

How to improve the employee onboarding process

You’ve seen how you can benefit from making onboarding improvements and offering a good experience to new hires. Now, let’s see how you can make these improvements to your onboarding process.   

1. Pre-board your new hires

You should start preparing for your new hire’s arrival once they’ve signed on the dotted line. 

If you’re not prepared for their arrival, they’ll lose faith in your organization’s ability to manage its workforce. It will show as a lack of effort and will leave a bad first impression. 

This is a recipe for employee turnover disaster, which you want to avoid at all costs. You can do this by: 

  • Sending out announcements to your company welcoming a new employee;
  • Sending a company handbook to the new employee detailing how they can prepare for their first day;
  • Completing all paperwork before the new hire’s first day;
  • Grant access to company accounts before they arrive;
  • Asking for feedback on your recruiting experience.

2.  Establish a timeline 

You want your new employee to reach full proficiency quickly. However, that doesn’t mean you need to load them with tons of tasks to ensure they get down to their “real work” quicker. 

Throughout the onboarding experience, new hires are required to complete an average of 54 tasks. You’re only going to overwhelm them by shortening the time they need to complete these. 

Instead, you should establish an onboarding timeline for these hires to follow.

When doing this, you can easily monitor their progress with the help of a workflow management tool (like Process Street’s Dashboard) and check in during crucial time-based milestones. For example, their first week, month, and 3 months. 

3. Engage new hires before their first day

Qualified candidates are likely to receive multiple offers. So, there’s no guarantee that they’ll take the position even if they’ve agreed to work at your company. 

Ghosting employers for a different opportunity isn’t uncommon. 84% of job seekers ghost recruiters because they aren’t engaged before their arrival. 

However, you can prevent this from happening by engaging with them before their start date. Your goal in doing this is to keep them excited about their new role before their arrival. In doing this, you make them feel valued and solidify that they’ve made the right decision by picking your company. 

Here are some great ways to start engaging your new hires before their arrival: 

  • Provide a ‘what to expect’ handbook with their first-day itinerary, where they can park, and what they should wear.
  • Send a welcome email with company account access details.
  • Introduce them on company instant messaging platforms (like Slack).

4. Provide engaging training resources

You want to bring your new hires up to speed as soon as possible. Engaging training resources can do that.

This shouldn’t be a bunch of reading materials that are going to make your new hire want to pull their hair out strand by strand. 

Videos are one of the best ways to make your training more engaging because they help deliver visual information in a way that written text can’t. 

Still not 100% convinced? Well, 83% of employees would prefer to watch videos to learn something new than read about it. 

Another excellent way to incorporate videos into your training is by using them to communicate your organization’s values and mission. You can use these videos to shed light on what your company culture is like and how it is to work in your organization. Employee testimonials are also a great introduction to a company. 

5. Schedule one-on-one meetings

Almost 72% of employees believe that having dedicated one-on-one meetings with their managers is crucial to their onboarding success. 

Don’t underestimate the power of spending personal time with your new employees and checking up on them regularly. During these meetings, you should let them know how they can progress in their careers and what’s expected of them during onboarding and in the long term. 

6. Use mentoring programs

Employees need friendships to truly flourish in an organization. That’s because close relationships among colleagues help make them 50% happier and 7 times more engaged than employees without these work relationships

By providing mentoring programs to your new hires, you help foster these work connections and nurture future collaboration. Assigning a mentor to the new employee from their first day makes them feel part of the team almost instantly. With a mentor, they’re rapidly integrated into the company culture and set to feel more comfortable in their role. 

7. Complete performance reviews

Checking in with your new hire isn’t enough. You also want to be getting a tangible report on the new hire’s progress.

When you conduct performance reviews, you gain more insight into how well they’re adapting to the company culture and their new role. 

If you see any issues with their performance, you can implement an action plan immediately. This is far better than discovering one year into their employment when they’re unmotivated and unengaged.

Otherwise, you never find out because they left your company before you could assess their performance and find the issue.

8. Automate tedious tasks

The onboarding process has many tedious tasks that, when automated, increase productivity for everyone involved. The automations offered with Process Street let you do just that. 

By adding automation to the onboarding program, HR uses less time following up and chasing progress reports. Instead, they can focus on constructing more efficient and engaging processes to support their employees. 

Automated notifications can be implemented in a workflow to inform these new employees when documents are due, when work has been approved, and if tasks are incomplete. Overall, adding automation to onboarding tasks helps streamline the process and empowers employees to focus on the position they’ve been hired for.  

9. Ask for feedback

An excellent way to improve the onboarding experience is to ask new hires for their feedback. You gain valuable insight from those that have undergone the onboarding process. 

One way to get this feedback is by sending out anonymous surveys. These allow new hires to be open and honest about their experiences without any backlash.

Plus, you get genuine feedback that you can act on. It’s a win-win. Even better, we have a workflow just for that right here

10. Regularly review the process

No matter what you do, there’s always room for improvement. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how your new employees progress through their onboarding. 

Some tasks might become redundant or you might need to add other information to make the process clearer. Take time to go through the process annually to gain a good understanding of what improvements need to be made. 

Constantly improving helps you get better onboarding results 

Onboarding is the foundation for any new hire in your company. A good onboarding experience will set them up for success. 

However, new and improved ways of doing things are constantly being discovered. 

Maintaining and implementing a good onboarding process means constantly looking at ways to improve it. Along with this, you need a tool that’s going to help you make these improvements on the fly without messing up the whole process. 

Process management tools, like Process Street, help you do just that. Whatever changes you need to make to your onboarding process can be implemented in real-time and updated on even processes currently in use. 

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What do you believe is the most important aspect of employee onboarding? Let us know in the comments!

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Grace Donaldson

Grace is a content writer with a thirst for knowledge and coffee. You'll find her reading in a small café or singing at a rundown jazz bar when she's not overconsuming coffee or compartmentalizing her thoughts into a blog post.

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