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A 4-step guide for designing your employee onboarding process

Here is a 4-step guide for designing your employee onboarding process:

STEP 1: Set your goals before designing your employee onboarding process

Here are some examples of short-term tactical goals:

  • Get the basics right before day one (paperwork, laptop ready, email, etc)
  • Save time on repetitive tasks for HR
  • Reduce the number of failed hires
  • Reduce unwanted turnover
  • Reduce time-to-productivity for new hires

Here are some examples of long-term strategic goals:

  • Improve employer branding and become a more attractive place to work
  • Create a sense of community across the organization
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Develop cohesion: one company, one culture

These points above can also be used to calculate a business case so you can invest time and resources into tools to designing your employee onboarding process, and also get the whole organization to follow it consistently.

Get free cost of new hire onboarding spreadsheet

Do you want to know the cost of onboarding a new hire to your company?

  • The average cost of onboarding a new hire is 30% to 70% of their annual salary
  • Recruiting and training are major costs, but time to productivity has the highest overall cost
  • Companies can save up thousands of dollars per new hire hired by maximizing the onboarding success

STEP 2: Conduct interviews using guided questions.

This step is often missed. Interviews, especially for outgoing employees, have tended to be considered time wasters. We recommend conducting onboarding interviews with employees and managers and then use this information to understand what can be improved. Likewise, data from exit interviews with employees who do not stay in the company beyond 120 days can be extremely helpful to understand what went wrong and how you can make improvements.

Read the blog post about the 6C’s framework to get ideas on what questions you should ask in the interviews or check out step 3.

STEP 3: Use our top 10 insights to build a list of questions relevant to your organization for both onboarding and exit interviews.

1. There is no consistency in our onboarding process. Things don’t get done or don’t get done the right way. Depending on the manager, time of year, department, or location, people receive different onboarding experiences. Some learn about the culture, connect with others, and are briefed by managers on expectations. Others are given the basic training and you just hope for the best.

2. Managers do not have the time, or the skills needed to give their hires a good onboarding experience. Some managers treat their employees as their own children while others have a sink or swim mindset.

3. You do not measure onboarding success. This is a common problem, and most companies have no clue why some employees succeed, and others fail. Companies tend to blame the new employee, saying it was a wrong hire, but if the company does not have insights as to why the person failed, it is not possible to really diagnose. Surveys of new hires, either quantitative or qualitative, are advised before any assumptions are made.

4. HR does not have time to follow up on each new employee over prolonged periods of time, and managers are busy. There’s a good chance that employees feel lost in your organization. This is a real problem for larger companies that hire hundreds of employees.

5. You do not make people feel special, seen, or valued. When hiring a lot of people companies lose the personal touch that smaller companies have and give their new hires. Lack of time and no one being in charge of looking after each new hire, something a buddy/mentor can facilitate, is a concerning issue raised by many people we speak to.

6. The recruiters oversell the positions. This is a common problem that happens when recruiters themselves are being measured on acquiring the best talent, and during the process, they over-sell the positive features of the job and leave out the downsides. If employees do not feel that their expectations meet reality, they’re likely to quickly lose interest when surveyed. 61% of new hires do not think their new job lives up to their expectations and feel cheated.1

7. Information overload as well as not having the information you need. A paradox perhaps, but not unexpected if you think about the full email inboxes and massive amounts of communication that we all receive and experience in the first days of a job. New hires need to receive, read, and understand large volumes of information but you need to make sure not to swamp them.

8. It is daunting to start in larger organizations. It is not uncommon that employees do not know where to go to find help, and many shy away from asking even the simplest of questions such as when will they get paid. More sensitive questions are often kept unasked to avoid judgment, such as “can I date a coworker?”, “what happens if I come late to work?”, “what is the policy on working from home?”

9. Things just slip through the cracks. Equipment and software are often not organized for the first day at work and there are many cases where management has forgotten that a new hire is starting on a particular day. Other similar examples are forgetting to do tasks and training in time or forgetting to enroll people in events and courses.

10. Time spent on simple, repetitive, and mundane tasks. Some companies are still running their business as they did 20 years ago or using outdated clunky software to do onboarding.

STEP 4: Book time with an expert to discuss the best practices

If you can relate to any of the above, you’re on the right path to designing your employee onboarding process.
If you want to set up a 15-minute call with the onboarding experts here at Preppio, we are happy to give you some tailored advice to help you get started for free: