New Year, New Hire, Part 7: The 5 Most Important Steps in Employee Onboarding

As part of the employee onboarding process, a manager and a new employee discuss the new hire’s development plan. They are standing in front of a large window, wearing business casual attire and face masks, and holding disposable coffee cups.

This is it, the finale of our New Year, New Hire article series. To recap, we’ve taken you through the entire hiring process, from the job posting to the candidate selection decision — which leads us to the final installment: the employee onboarding process.

Candidate experience is everything. Now, chances are, if they’ve gone through the application process and accepted a job offer, their experience has been positive thus far. But your work as the hiring manager doesn’t end with the employment agreement. The onboarding process is the final step of the talent acquisition process and often the first step of the talent development process. To build excitement, loyalty, and trust, your onboarding experience needs to be positive and constructive, building a solid foundation for your new hire’s place in your organization.

What is the onboarding process for a new employee? We’ve put together some employee onboarding tips to help.

Employee Onboarding Best Practices

Step 1: Organize the First Day

To start things off right, it’s integral to ensure that the first day is well planned. While the new employee’s specific needs will vary by industry, every employee onboarding checklist is made up of a few common items, including making sure that they are able to access your systems, given clearance for tools or programs, issued IDs, etc. By laying the groundwork for a good first day, you’re helping to establish a good impression for your organizational skills as a manager and for the organization as an employer.

Step 2: Book One-on-One Meetings

Building business relationships is at the foundation of a successful team dynamic. To accomplish this, one-on-one meetings have become a staple of the modern workplace. These encounters give a new hire the chance to learn about the experiences of others in the company in a relaxed and humanizing way and can help them slowly settle into the work culture. To paint the best picture of your organization, be sure to book meetings with employees at all levels, from coworkers to managers, and even those they may not work with directly — while making sure not to overwhelm them with too many faces at once.

Step 3: Identify a Buddy

The buddy system doesn’t apply only to school field trips: it’s a valuable tool in the manager’s arsenal for helping an employee navigate the nuances of their new role. Choose someone whose job is closely aligned, if not overlapping, with your new hire’s, and who will make sure the newest member of the team feels welcomed. The buddy system can help informalize the first days and weeks of a new job, establishing trust and a more relaxed dynamic where the new hire can feel more comfortable asking questions.

Step 4: Outline Your Expectations

One of the most important steps in the onboarding process is setting expectations for your new employee. The probationary period should be a time devoted to well-paced learning and assimilation, and setting expectations is a key element of this employee education. Bring them up to speed on what specific tasks and projects they’ll be tackling once settled, identify potential learning opportunities, and make it clear that you and your team are there to support as needed. This is also the stage where you may elect to debrief the new hire on personality test results to begin creating a personalized talent development plan.

Step 5: Set Milestone Goals

Finally, as with all good strategies, it’s important to plan for the future by setting highly attainable goals for your new hire. The new hire’s personality test results should be filtered through the lens of the role and organization to inform these goals. Depending on the role and organization, you may wish to engage the services of a professional coach, such as one of the experts within the Hogan Coaching Network.

What is something they can strive to accomplish during the first day? Week? Month? Three months? Year? To reiterate, the key word is attainable. If you set goals that are too lofty, the hire may not reach them, which will set a negative precedent. By giving them things to work toward that are realistic and grounded, you can help them feel accomplishment as they progress through their employment milestones.

To summarize, if you’re wondering how to onboard an employee, the best first step is to place yourself in their shoes and contemplate what specific strategies will help make the transition smooth. Don’t forget, this is a new experience in a new environment with new people — so be patient, nurture the relationship, and equip them with everything they need to start off their new role confidently.