Onboarding 101: How to Lay a Foundation of Employee Engagement

April 1, 2020

By Morgan Hicks

The experience of starting a new position can be overwhelming for a recently hired team member. From befriending coworkers to learning an unfamiliar company culture, there’s a lot to process at a new job. However, there’s one HR element that can make or break an employee’s experience during their first 90 days: onboarding.

A study conducted by SHRM found that when onboarding is done correctly, it leads to higher job satisfaction, greater organizational commitment, lower turnover, higher performance levels, increased career effectiveness and lowered stress.

Interested in reaping some of these employee engagement benefits? We’ve outlined recommendations for how to implement strong onboarding practices at your company. Whether they’re onboarding in the office or from home, these tips can help your company’s new employees thrive.

Task-Driven Onboarding

This section may seem simple, but this is where many companies first go wrong. When employees begin working, they often lack key foundational information that is needed in order to find success.

A new hire’s first day is pivotal in the onboarding process. The training should focus on expectations, role descriptions and an introduction to tasks and team members. However, onboarding shouldn’t end here. Frequent check-ins between the new hire and their manager should be ongoing throughout the first 90 days, allowing for open dialogue, task assignments and review to ensure that expectations are being met according to company standards.

Resource-Driven Onboarding

When a new employee starts, it’s easy to forget they’re not fully trained in or even aware of the company’s resources.

When onboarding, be sure to set meetings to introduce employees to your company’s benefits, incentives and training opportunities. Take enough time to go in-depth on these topics, ensuring the new hire has a strong understanding of the opportunities they can take advantage of at your company.

Also be sure to share access information to any subscriptions or online resources that employees are about to use. While this feels like an easy step, its impact is huge – access to these items can sometimes mean the difference between an empowered employee and a frustrated one. 

Culture-Driven Onboarding

Finally, your company’s culture can strongly influence a new hire’s experience and influence how quickly they settle into their new role. Consider sending new employees on a “team member tour” – meetings with key project players that they will work with closely. Introducing individuals and allowing them to build an informed relationship opens the door to additional networking opportunities and can help them to acclimate more quickly.  

In addition, consider setting up peer-to-peer mentoring. In this partnership, a new hire meets with a current employee with a longer company tenure. This builds relationships outside of the traditional organization chart and provides a forum for honest feedback that they otherwise would be unwilling to share with upper-level management.

As noted in previous blogs, employee engagement is key to keeping retention levels high, and a strong onboarding process is the first step in building this engagement. By combining task-, resource- and culture-driven onboarding tactics, your next new hire will be well-prepared and ready to find success in their new role from day one, whether they’re in the office or onboarding from home.

Wondering how to best develop a flexible onboarding strategy for your company? Learn how our team can help.

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