Onboarding a New Hire
A well-planned and executed employee onboarding process lays the foundation for a new hire’s success by imparting knowledge and experience, networking with key members of the organization, teaching about company policies and procedures, managing expectations, and addressing benefits information and other needs.
Helen Lee Shifter argues that a well-planned onboarding program is crucial to the success of any new hire. An onboarding program gives employees a fast start and ensures they are “getting it right” from the beginning. It is also important for employees to understand how they fit into the company and its processes.
The Six Steps of an Employee Onboarding Process
Shifter’s six-step onboarding process is carefully designed to give new hires everything they need to reach maximum performance in their job as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Recruiting, selecting and hiring a new hire
The first step in the onboarding process is the recruitment, selection, and hiring of a new employee. The company’s recruiting department may have conducted preliminary interviews with candidates, but that doesn’t mean the last word has been said. The new hire’s manager needs to contribute insights into what qualities, skills, qualifications, personality type, and other factors make an ideal candidate for the position.
As part of the selection process, a background check should be conducted on the candidate(s) to ascertain whether they have any criminal convictions or otherwise questionable history. Background checks should take place before an offer of employment is made; if it becomes evident that a candidate has a questionable background after an offer of employment is made, this can result in a very negative first impression on the new hire and likely won’t keep them very long as an employee.
Step 2: Orientation
Once an offer of employment is made, the company should provide the new hire with a thorough orientation that covers the company’s values, history, culture, and other aspects of the business. The new employee should be given a complete overview of what their job will entail, what is expected of them in terms of performance and conduct, and how their responsibilities match up with those of peers and their manager.
At the same time, it’s important to communicate that there’s much more to expect than just doing the minimum amount required to earn fair market value for their work. The new hire should be made to feel like they have a stake in the organization that goes beyond just earning a paycheck, and that is where their focus must lie.
Step 3: Setting up the new hire’s workstation and PC
A new hire must be given an opportunity to get settled into what will be their office, cubicle, or desk for most of the coming weeks, months, or years. They should be provided with computer equipment and other workplace supplies to make them comfortable. Helping a new hire choose the right PC and workstation to meet their specific needs is very important for this step, especially if it’s their first day.
Step 4: Training the new hire on company policies, procedures, and practices
The fourth step in the onboarding process is training. This can be done by the new hire’s manager or a Human Resources professional, depending on the organization’s size. In this step, the new employee receives information about what is expected of them regarding conduct, performance, productivity, and other metrics. They are given training on policies and procedures that they need to be familiar with to get off to a good start.
Step 5: Employee coaching or mentoring
The fifth step in the onboarding process is employee coaching. This is accomplished by taking a closer look at the new hire’s performance and behavior with the goal of facilitating their learning and development. The new employee’s manager will take it upon themselves to be the coach who goes above and beyond to help the new hire set goals, build a team, find ways to contribute more fully, etc. This can be done on a one-to-one basis or in a group effort.
Step 6: Planning a welcome party to celebrate their arrival
The final step in the onboarding process is the welcome party. This is an opportunity for the new hire to meet everyone in the company who’s interested in introducing themselves and welcoming them to their new position. This will take place after all of the steps in the employee onboarding process have been completed.
According to Helen Lee Shifter, the importance of a well-planned and executed employee onboarding process is that it lays the foundation for a new hire’s success in their role. By giving new hires all of the information, guidance, instruction, and support they need to function at their maximum potential at work, companies build loyalty, respect, trust, and commitment on both sides and reduce the chances of employee turnover.