Employee Onboarding Process: Steps and Best Practices

Ensure that your new team members' first weeks go smoothly.

Employee onboarding process

Employee onboarding is the first impression a new hire has as an official member of your company, and according to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, 1 in 25 employees leave their new jobs because of bad onboarding experiences.

A shocking number of companies that sink thousands of dollars in recruiting new talent spend very little time or money on employee onboarding once a new hire has signed their contract.

So let's dive deeper into what a good employee onboarding process looks like and why it's important for your business.

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Why you need an employee onboarding process

According to LiveCareer’s 2018 Job-Hopping Report, Baby Boomers’ average job tenure is 8 years, Gen Xers’ is 5.4, millennials’ is 2.4, and Gen Zers’ is 1.2. Younger workers are expected to change jobs dozens of times over the course of their careers, making employee retention one of the key challenges companies face today.

Yet many HR managers still have the mindset once a contract is signed their job is done. Onboarding is often neglected or reduced to a simple first-day orientation session and a print out of the employee handbook.

To fully grasp the importance of a well-planned employee onboarding process, it's enough to look at what some of the recent statistics:

Poor onboarding can have many disastrous effects. It can lower the employee's performance, damage his impression of your company, and result in high turnover rates. A thorough employee onboarding process, on the other hand, can significantly increase employee productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. Yet, many employers still neglect it.

Onboarding process steps

Ideal onboarding begins from the moment an offer is made to the employee until the time the employee becomes a productive member of the organization. And when it comes to onboarding new employees, the most powerful tool at your disposal is a simple one – a checklist.

New employee onboarding checklist example, before the first day

Onboarding checklist to complete before the first day (created in Nuclino)

A new employee onboarding checklist can take many forms but it usually covers the following onboarding steps:

Best onboarding practices

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to employee onboarding processes. What may work for a large multinational enterprise may not work for a small company. But there are several onboarding best practices that most businesses can benefit from.

Employee onboarding process example

Employee onboarding process documented in a company wiki (created in Nuclino)

Employee onboarding process feedback

Onboarding checklist to complete before the first day (created in Nuclino)

Virtual onboarding process

Working remotely has gone from a gradually rising business trend to a forced reality for most people in organizations worldwide. Fitting your existing onboarding processes into this new environment may be challenging – after all, how do you make new hires feel welcomed and excited in the absence of office tours, team lunches, and swag bags? How do your new employees learn about your internal workflows without observing their colleagues?

Here are a few tips for making your virtual onboarding as effective and personal as face-to-face:

Onboarding checklist and welcome page for new hires

Onboarding checklist and welcome page for new hires (created in Nuclino)

Onboarding a new employee can be expensive and time-consuming, but the data doesn’t lie. The effort you put into creating and optimizing your onboarding process will pay off in the form of higher retention, improved productivity and engagement, and overall savings toward your bottom line.

Sign up for a free Nuclino account and organize all your onboarding materials, guides, and checklists in one collaborative workspace.

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