How do you create the best employee onboarding experiences?
First, we should understand what onboarding is, its goals, and its benefits.
That information can help us design stellar onboarding experiences that generate real returns.
Let’s start by understand what onboarding is and why it matters:
Onboarding 101: A Brief Intro
Onboarding is one of the first stages of the employee life cycle.
It occurs after recruitment and hiring, with the aims of:
- Orienting new employees to their work environment
- Completing required documentation and paperwork
- Review key policies and procedures
- Helping to integrate employees into their department
- Introducing new hires to key personnel
- Set employees up for long-term success within the company
And other administrative tasks.
It is important to understand that onboarding and orientation aren’t the same.
While orientation orients an employee to their new environment, onboarding has specific long-term aims:
- Boosting employee engagement
- Improving the employee experience
- Decreasing time-to-productivity
- Supporting employees during their initial employment period
Let’s see how to improve onboarding and create positive employee experiences, as well as enhance their contributions to the organization.
How to Create the Best Employee Onboarding Experiences
Here are 5 ways to develop the best employee onboarding experience:
1. Put onboarding into the context of the entire employee life cycle.
Does your organization have a structured, goal-oriented employee experience plan?
Employee experience management deals with the entire employee life cycle, from pre- hire to post-employment.
For onboarding to be successful, collaborate with relevant co-workers to determine:
- Where employees should stand after onboarding is complete
- What long-term employee experience goals you are supporting
- How best to prepare employees to fit in with specific departments
Taking a top-down perspective on the entire employee life cycle will help you set concrete goals.
And having those concrete goals will enable you to get concrete results.
2. Increase efficiency with templates, journey maps, and checklists.
Efficiency is critical in today’s work environment.
Some of the simplest ways to increase efficiency include:
- Checklists – Onboarding and training checklists ensures that every task that needs to get done actually gets done. They can be used by employees, hiring managers, or both.
- Templates – Like checklists, onboarding and training templates are essential tools in the hiring manager’s toolbox. They offer more depth than checklists. Templates can be used for training, onboarding, and any other stage of the employee life cycle.
- Journey Maps – Journey maps go into more depth than templates. These are roadmaps that break down, for instance, the employee life cycle into stages. Each stage includes goals, tasks, aims, and even descriptions from the employee’s perspective.
Having such tools can dramatically increase efficiency.
And, the longer you use and tweak them, the more streamlined your onboarding process will become.
3. Use data to drive personalization
Data should be used during every step of the employee life cycle.
There are a number of benefits to data-driven personalization:
- You can cut out extraneous onboarding material. Personalization can be accomplished through software, templates, or design. By personalizing onboarding, you can tailor content to meet the needs of specific departments, employee categories, or individuals.
- Employees have better, more targeted experiences. Relevance fuels engagement. Irrelevance, however, increases distraction. The more targeted and relevant the experience, the better the experience you can create.
- Personalized onboarding gets better results. The bottom line is that personalized, data-driven onboarding gets better outcomes. These can include: shorter time-to-productivity, faster social integration, boosted morale, and so forth.
There are certainly other benefits to data-driven, personalized onboarding.
However, these benefits alone should justify its use.
4. Use the right tools and technology
The right tools and technology can dramatically improve new hire onboarding.
Here are just a few tools that should be included in your toolbox:
- HR Platforms
- Employee Surveys
- Analytics Platforms
- Project Management Tools
- Automation Tools
- Digital Adoption Platforms
Chances are, larger enterprises already implement some or all of these tools.
When considering which tools to focus on, look towards the future…
Anticipate your onboarding and training needs in the next several years.
Will your current technology stack remain relevant?
Or will you need new solutions to keep up with the changing nature of work?
5. Automate your onboarding process
To keep up with the fast pace of change, automation is another invaluable technology.
HR automation tools can help with key onboarding functions, such as:
- Communications. Emails, push notifications, Slack messages, and other communications can be automated – if you have the right tools.
- Checklists. Good HR software or onboarding software will include onboarding checklists, which you can customize for your own needs.
- Documentation. Documentation selection, distribution, and signing can all be customized and automated.
- Training. Employee training often begins on day one, making training automation extraordinarily valuable.
HR suites and platforms may automate many aspects of the onboarding process.
However, growing companies should look at digital adoption solutions, robotic process automation, and similar tools.
These can help alleviate many mundane, tedious tasks – freeing up HR professionals to focus on more important tasks.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.