How to streamline the employee onboarding process: Top tips for business leaders

Here are the top tips from business leaders on employee onboarding

Onboarding new employees can become overly complex and time-consuming. That might be fine for small businesses, but when many new employees are joining each week, it becomes cumbersome. At that stage, streamlining the process is necessary. Here are the top tips from business leaders on employee onboarding.

Start as early as possible

Onboarding doesn’t need to begin once employees are hired and arrive for their first day on the job. Instead, it should start ahead of this date to provide time for all parties to prepare. Rather than issuing a welcome pack upon arrival, this should be mailed out ahead of time.

Ideally, it should include details of the key personnel, such as department heads and the team they’ll be working within. It might also be necessary to provide them with the schedules of anyone they will be meeting/working with so they can plan ahead.

Use a structured approach

Employment contracts may be standardised, or they could be unique to specific hires. However, it is important to standardise the onboarding process as much as possible. Where necessary, varying things up is appropriate, but for the most part, sticking to the approved onboarding processes avoids unexpected or unanticipated difficulties.

A Contracts Handbook like those produced by The HR Dept should also be included with the dispatched information. This way, it can be studied before the new employee ever sets foot on the premises, and they will have a better understanding of acceptable conduct.

When you enlist the help of experts like The HR Dept to put your handbook together, you’ll have peace of mind that you are following employment law to the letter.

Look at immediate and future training requirements

While the new hire may have been the best choice, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to assume that they’ll not require any documentation or training.

SOPs are important

Certainly, there should be SOPs to provide documentation on procedures for key activities within their role. However, performing these actions even with these documents may still require specialised training to do it correctly.

Current and future training needs should be planned, not an afterthought

Current training shouldn’t be discounted. Don’t assume that new hires are 100% ready the moment they walk into the building for the first time.

Beyond current training requirements, they may also need future training at a more advanced level. This could be applicable within a few months of their hiring based on a planned increase in their responsibilities after they’ve already made significant progress in their role.

The pace of learning shouldn’t meet a single standard

Assuming a new staff member can quickly get up to speed without SOPs or training is doing them a disservice. Also, no matter how skilled they are in their type of work, people learn at different speeds. Some are excellent at speedy memorisation whereas others need to repeatedly go over details to take in the information properly.

Do employee screening early

When using outside firms to screen potential employees, don’t leave it too late to do so. Sometimes, screening companies get backed up with too many applications. At this time, fulfilment requires longer. Because of this, a delay in a screening request can lead to a potential employee not being cleared before their expected first day of work.

Also, bear in mind that it may be considered necessary to check for a criminal history, their past employment record, or to verify that their academic information matches available records. These reports may come from multiple sources, each with different timelines to fulfil the information request or to follow up for further clarification on certain points.

Set up their work cubicle or workstation

If employees are going to be working in the office, ensure they have a workstation set up. This will need to be fully kitted out including all the items they’ll require, plus items that might be seldom needed but difficult for them to locate.

The computing equipment needs to be correctly configured, with login information set up and verified as working for all systems, cloud access, organisational tools, and so on. The last thing you need is for the company to look unprofessional because they’re unable to work due to a technological foul-up.

Connect with them multiple times in the first day/week

Touch base with them multiple times on their first day. This should be done by their direct supervisor or manager. They should connect with them before the end of the first day too. Checking in to see how it went, and what difficulties or questions they have is useful to head off any misunderstandings or confusion early on.

The Human Resources team may also wish to connect and ensure there aren’t any items that the new hire hasn’t received or questions that need answering. Later on, they may wish to confer with the new hire to get their take on how the onboarding process went. Of particular note are any issues they had which perhaps can be avoided by making onboarding procedural changes.

While onboarding is detailed and specific, it still needs to be streamlined to avoid it taking up more time than necessary. Also, by keeping mostly to an established process, errors of omission can be avoided that might otherwise become a problem later that cannot be walked back.

The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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