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How to Successfully Onboard a New Employee

Posted on November 2019

A group sitting around of table with two men standing to shake hands

The first few weeks of starting a new role in the global financial sciences and services sector are essential for new hires to get a grip on workflows and processes while integrating the new employee into the existing organizational culture.

It is important for HR and hiring managers to develop a thorough onboarding process for new hires which will help them approach their role with confidence and have a thorough understanding of what is expected of them within the long-term goals of the company. Successful onboarding processes help improve employee retention rates and ensure new hires are happy and confident in their new role.

This resource can help you develop an onboarding process which covers the practical tasks which need to be covered before your new hire starts and what needs to be covered within that essential first day, week and month of a new hire.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee into your company culture, team and role. It goes beyond paperwork and initial training, encompassing ongoing support and guidance to ensure they feel welcome, informed and prepared to thrive in their new position.

Why is it important to onboard new employees?

A well-onboarded employee understands their role, expectations and resources, leading to faster contributions. They also feel more connected to their team and the company culture, creating a sense of belonging and commitment.

A new employee feeling valued and supported from day one leads to higher employee satisfaction and retention; the lower turnover rates translate to savings in recruitment, training and lost productivity.A positive onboarding experience also reflects well on your company and helps to attract top talent.

How to successfully onboard new employees

To create an effective onboarding process for new employees, companies need to tailor the program to the individual’s role and needs. This does not necessarily mean starting from zero for each new hire, but instead taking a modular approach. For example, any employee who works on-site will need to undertake site-based training, such as understanding the building layout including toilets and fire exits. Any employee who uses computers will need to undergo cybersecurity training and any employee who manages other staff will need to be familiar with the management style at the company, including the disciplinary process as well as rewards and bonus structures.

While some information will only be necessary for certain groups of employees, all new starters will need to be given clear information about the company, including its culture, values and expectations. 

A business should think about how it deliver sits onboarding training: some may opt for regular group-based sessions or one-to-one conversations while others prefer an onboarding handbook or digital tools that each employee works through at their own pace. Employinga variety of techniques can help make the process more engaging.

Some companies may choos e to assign new employees a mentor or buddy to help them settle into their role and navigate their new company’s culture and processes.

Communication should be a key part of a new employee’s onboarding process, both to let them know how they are getting on, where improvements can be made and where they are exceeding expectations, and also so new employees can provide feedback to the company.

Tips for successful onboarding

1. Be prepared

Impart a basic structure to stay organized::

  • Send a welcome email with essential information, schedule a virtual coffee chat and offer resources to learn about the company's culture.

    Ensure paperwork is pre-filled, IT access is ready and equipment is prepared.

  • For their first day, have their workspace set up, introduce them to key colleagues and schedule team lunches or virtual welcome games.

2. Present information in different ways

Cater to diverse learning styles:

  • Encourage participation through case studies, role-playing and group discussions.

  • Break down complex topics into bite-sized, easily digestible modules.

  • Utilize infographics, videos and simulations to enhance understanding.

3. Involve multiple teams and people at different levels

Broaden their network:

  • Include shadowing opportunities or joint projects with other departments.

  • Arrange informal chats with department heads or company executives.

  • Introduce them to potential mentors, buddies or team members with similar interests.

4. Outline a path for professional development

Show them their future:

  • Understand their aspirations and align them with company growth opportunities.

  • Map out training courses, conferences or mentorship programs that support their goals.

  • Conduct regular check-ins to discuss progress, adjust the plan and offer continued guidance.

5. Be original to better retain

Make them feel special:

  • Base it on their interests or hobbies to show you care.

  • Organize fun and engaging activities outside of work to foster team spirit.

  • Encourage participation in volunteering or charity events aligned with company values.

How long should employee onboarding last?

Onboarding isn't a one-time event. Consider it a continuous process, with varying degrees of support throughout the first year (or even longer). Adjust the intensity based on the role's complexity and the employee's needs. Only when the employee is fully settled into the company and their role does onboarding end.

Why choose Selby Jennings?

At Selby Jennings, we understand the importance of successful onboarding. As a recruitment specialist, we are passionate about finding the right fit for each role and helping them to settle in – that’s why we designed an onboarding guide.

Download our full onboarding resource below.