Employee onboarding best practices

Vedran Ismaili on

When it comes to finding effective employee onboarding best practices or tips, it can be hard to navigate or even to narrow down what’s important.

The key thing to remember for most companies, whether your firm is a start-up or a company with 1000’s of employees it is to stick with the basics- and then employee more sophisticated tactics based on employee feedback.

1. The sooner the better

Once they’ve signed the contract, it makes sense to onboard them, even before they start their first day. Manual or automated (but preferably automated to make your life easier), think about sending them a ‘What to expect’ package”. It should contain a nice overview of the company, its history, mission, vision, purpose and the department they will work in for example will help get them acquainted and excited- even before the walk in the door on the first day. This will give them purpose and motivation.

2. Personalisation and simplicity

This applies for both new employee onboarding and existing employee onboarding. Much like you would for a customer, personalisation is key to ensuring your employees are immediately engaged and don’t eye-roll at a generic message or email they receive from HR.

Personalise messages for example if you’re onboarding a new IT or Product Development employee, invitations to all the hackathon events organised by the company will make sense. Not so much for a Sales Support role. Also do not say ‘from the HR team’. You must show that there’s a real human being that Jane can get through to or call on if she has a question!

3. Break it up

Short and sweet. Sticky Stories. Digestable. In a nutshell. Just like this post. You get my gist here. Employees experience 100’s of stimuli every day, need to get on with actual work, social life and a million emails. But because they know they have to get acquainted and become familiar or to keep productive, employee onboarding messages should be easy to digest and have focus.

For example, for all the mandatory policy docs they must read and sign, this shouldn’t be emailed to them en-masse in one go. You might want to send them 3 per week to sign or to focus on for that particular time. And your HR team can confidently state that by week 6 for each and every new employee will have all completed their forms. This may allow them to focus on other things such as software training, product knowledge, selling… and for HR to remain compliant.

4. Continuation, triggers and all-year round engagement.

Ideally, as an employer, you’re not just sending 5 standard templated emails and messages, then dropping off the face of the earth. That could be one of the worst ways to kill your employee engagement and retention rates.

If you think about your experience as a customer in the online world, which is increasingly less brand-loyal due to hyper-competition, they way a brand can remain visible and memorable to you is through, consistent communication and reminders. Albeit they’re often in the form of offers, but they also remind you why you should continue to love them or shop with them.The same goes for employee onboarding and engagement.

So how about you do it based on trigger-behaviours or survey feedback? E.g you’ve noticed the sales-team and its managers are not using a newly implemented enterprise wide CRM add-on that you know is meant to boost productivity or sales (or they’ve not logged in for x days etc) . An effective onboarding program helps you ‘nudge’ employees, remind them about policies, products, tools, processes etc. Leverage this and ensure it’s part of your employee best practice. It can be useful for both new starters and long-term employees

Other onboarding best practices to consider

These top 4 employee onboarding tips are a starter for ten, however other things you may want to consider are the creation of goals, not just in number of tasks completed. Thinking about the goal with your onboarding is a great way to make it more focus and measurable at the same time. Many great customer onboarding are designed around certain goals such as upload a first photo or understand how to use a product.

By using setting clear goals, streamlining your onboarding and personalising it you can get your employee more productive as well as create an onboarding they will remember for a long while.

Vedran Ismaili

Co-founder & CEO - chatbot builder, optimist and rookie skateboarder.