Employee Onboarding: 7 Tips and Best Practices From HR Experts

The first day at the new job is stressful, to say the least. The anxiety and the pressure don’t disappear after the first day either. The adaptation period can stretch to a couple of days, or most likely a couple of weeks. Every newly hired employee has a thousand questions and a thousand more worries. They’re commencing a new adventure and have no idea what to expect. Your job, as the employer, is to make this onboarding period as tension-free and as comfortable as possible.

There are strategies you need to know about and the steps you need to take in order to master the skills of employee onboarding. It’s highly recommended you show support and teamwork from day 1, so as to make your employees less anxious and more enthusiastic. We’ve prepared 7 tips recommended by HR experts, to help you get the hang of employee onboarding.

1. Prior to Day 1

The onboarding period starts from the moment you’ve let your new employee know he’s got the job. This means that you start integrating the new hire into the company even before his first day.

What can you do before his first day at work?

You can:

Help Him Get Ready

Let your new employee know what to expect on his first day at the new job. Tell him what to bring, when to come and where to go first thing in the morning.

Show Support

Send a friendly e-mail wishing him a great first day.

Do the Paperwork

Make sure all of the paperwork is taken care of so as to avoid adding pressure to the new hire.

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2. Mentor

Each new employee needs to have a mentor to help get his head around the new job. The mentor needs to be informed about this new role on time, so as to be ready to meet and greet the new colleague.

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Who can be a mentor? Anyone who knows how to guide the new employee and give him all the information he needs. That includes:

  • A colleague with the same job position

  • A senior colleague

  • A supervisor

  • The team leader

3. Tour of the Workspace

After the arrival of the new colleague, he’ll need someone to show him around and help him familiarize himself with the workspace.

It’s best that the mentor shows him:

  • His personal workspace

  • Tools he can use

  • Cafeteria

  • Kitchen

  • Restrooms

  • Parking

It’s also important for everyone else on the team to welcome their new colleague and get to know him a bit better. Make sure you’ve got everyone on board for the onboarding process.

This will make your new employee feel welcome and appreciated.

4. Setting Goals

After the first couple of hours of introducing the new employee to everyone and showing him around, you’ll need to get to the more important part of the onboarding process.

It’s very important you familiarize the new hire with:

  • Company policy

  • It’s vision

  • Major goals at the given moment

This will help him integrate and start feeling like he actually belongs there. Consequentially, it will help him adapt and do better at his job.

Your new team member also needs to know how he fits in the whole story and what his responsibilities are. That is your next step.

5. Assignments

In the beginning, everyone needs a push in a certain direction. That means you need to give specific assignments to your employee in order to get him started.

You need to:

  • Assign a small beginner’s project

  • Break down the steps on how to do it

  • Supervise his work closely

  • Give him constructive criticism and positive feedback

Valery Martin, the CEO of Pick Writers says: “Employee onboarding needs to include clearly defined tasks for the new hire, during the adaptation period. It’s crucial for his self-esteem and integration.”

6. Be open for communication

Your new employee is probably going to have a million questions to ask you during the onboarding period. You need to welcome that and provide the answers.

Some supervisors and superiors believe it’s best if the new people learn things “the hard way”. We strongly disagree.

Leaving them on their own will only discourage them and make them feel vulnerable and insecure.

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You want to help them grow and shine, so make sure to establish a healthy relationship and let them know they can:

  • Ask for advice

  • Ask for help

  • Share their insecurities

  • Be open about anything

Encourage your employees to speak to you openly from day 1 and you’ll have a straight-forward communication with them for as long as they work for you.

7. Let Things Sink In

We’re all different and we all have different adaptation mechanisms. Some employees might need more time to get on their feet and start working independently.

Final advice: don’t rush things.

For some of them, a day or two might be enough. For others, it could be weeks or even a couple of months.

Be patient and give them space to get used to everything that’s new and unfamiliar. Be supportive throughout the whole onboarding process and make sure your new hire is all set when the time comes.

Conclusion

Onboarding is a valuable process which needs to be carried out professionally and with care. A good onboarding process is beneficial for both you and the employee. He’ll manage to work on his full capacity sooner and you’ll have a self-assured and efficient employee in no time.

The one thing you need to do is plan the onboarding process carefully and on time. Don’t improvise or do it last minute. Think about the tips we’ve given you and what’s the best way to apply them. Give your new employee a sense of belonging from the moment he enters his workspace. This will help you increase employee retention and build strong teams of dedicated employees.

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer.  She observes with a special interest how the latest achievements in media and technology help to grow readership and revenue and shares her opinion. You can find her on Facebook and Medium.