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Onboarding: 6 Best Practices for Setting New Hires Up for Success

An effective onboarding process is essential to hiring! It can significantly impact how well a new employee settles in and performs in their role. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), companies with a strong onboarding program see 54% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention. To help ensure your company success, we wanted to share our insights on what works and what doesn’t in an effective onboarding process.

Here are some best practices for onboarding new hires and creating a positive first impression:

Start the process ahead of time

Starting the onboarding process ahead of time for a new hire is crucial for a successful transition into the company. You can’t expect a new hire to show up ready to start if you don’t give them all the materials they need before their first day. So make sure to send out all the essential paperwork and information ahead of time so the new hires can review it and be prepared. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, providing new hires with all necessary paperwork and information before their first day can reduce turnover by up to 25%.

Starting the onboarding process ahead of time allows for any necessary paperwork and background checks to be completed before the new hire's start date. This can save time and ensure they can start work on their first day without any delays. According to the Harvard Business Review, a delay in starting a new job can lead to decreased productivity, job satisfaction, and commitment. Showing the new hire you took the time to put thought and effort into their first day shows that the company values them and is prepared for their arrival.

Leave a lasting impression

Making a new hire's first day memorable is an important aspect of the onboarding process, as it sets the tone for their entire experience with the company. A memorable first day can significantly impact how well a new employee settles in and performs in their role. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that new hires who felt welcomed and had positive interactions with their colleagues on their first day were more likely to stay with the company for at least three years. This is just one of the reasons why creating a welcoming environment for new hires on their first day is essential.

How can you make it memorable? Plan a small team-building activity or a welcome lunch to help new hires feel at ease and build relationships with their colleagues. Another way to leave a lasting impression is a personalized welcome. It could be as simple as having a welcome sign on their desk or a welcome pack with company swag. Small gestures like these not only make the new hires feel welcomed but can also make a big difference in how a new hire perceives the company culture and their colleagues. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 80% of employees believe the onboarding process is an indicator of how the company values its employees. Making a new hire feel valued and respected from the moment they walk in the door can help establish trust and respect between the employee and the organization.

Make it detailed

In order to have an effective onboarding process, you need to make it detailed. Anyone can give a new hire a few tasks and a company email, but it’s crucial to provide them with a complete debrief of the company and the role overall. Include a detailed overview of the company's history, mission, and values, as well as an introduction to the company's products or services. We also recommend providing new hires with an overview of their roles and responsibilities as well as the tools and resources they will need to be successful. One of the key reasons why a detailed orientation is essential in the onboarding process is that it helps new hires feel more prepared and confident in their new role. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, employees who receive a comprehensive orientation are 69% more likely to feel fully prepared for their new job and 58% more likely to feel confident in their ability to perform their role. This increased level of preparedness and confidence can lead to better job performance and higher levels of job satisfaction.

Another significant benefit is a decrease in turnover rates. A study by the Brandon Hall Group found that organizations that provide a detailed orientation program see a 69% improvement in new hire retention. A detailed first day can also help to set expectations, build relationships, and provide a sense of belonging for the new hire. A survey by Glassdoor found that new hires who felt that their first day was well-structured and detailed were more likely to be satisfied with their job in the long-term. By providing new hires with the information and resources they need to succeed in their new role, organizations can ensure that they are well-positioned to keep the employees long-term.

Create a buddy system

Assigning a mentor or buddy can significantly support new hires in their transition to a new role. A study by the International Journal of Human Resource Management found that mentoring programs can improve the retention of new employees by as much as 82%. Mentoring can also be an effective way to accelerate new hires' development by providing them access to the knowledge, skills, and experience of veteran employees.

Implementing a buddy or mentoring program can also help smooth the new hire's social transition into the company. Here at GoToro, we have an extensive onboarding process where the new hire has full access to their peers within the same role for any questions or concerns. Having access to individuals who share the same day-to-day responsibilities and who can provide advice is crucial in helping set the new hire up for success. A study from the Journal of Organizational Behavior found that having a buddy can reduce the stress and anxiety of new hires and increase their sense of belonging to the organization. This can be particularly important for remote workers, where the lack of face-to-face interactions can make it harder for them to feel connected to the organization. Implementing a mentor or buddy system can provide new hires with the support and guidance they need to navigate the organization's culture, values, and practices.

Check-in with your new hires

We’ve found that scheduling regular check-ins with new hires during their first 90 days helps ensure they are adjusting, understand their role and responsibilities, and have the support they need. According to a study by Talentsoft, 70% of employees who received regular check-ins during their onboarding process felt more comfortable and confident in their new role. These regular check-ins can also help managers identify and address areas where new hires may struggle. A study by the Association for Talent Development found that regular check-ins can increase productivity by up to 88%. By regularly monitoring progress, managers can ensure that new hires are receiving the support and resources they need to be successful and can make adjustments as necessary.

Create an open space for feedback

Who better to let you know what works and what doesn’t in your onboarding process than the individuals experiencing it? Feedback from new hires is essential in the onboarding process because it allows organizations to understand how well the process is working and identify areas that need improvement. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), organizations that actively solicit feedback from new hires during onboarding are more likely to improve the overall process. The study also found that organizations that receive feedback from new hires are more likely to identify and address issues such as lack of communication, unclear expectations, and lack of resources. By receiving feedback, organizations can ensure that the onboarding process is tailored to meet the specific needs of new hires and increase the likelihood of success.

Onboarding is not a one-time event. Instead, it's a process that sets the tone for the entire employment experience. Here at GoToro, we've found that good onboarding can lead to a positive first impression, better retention, and improved performance of new hires. By following these best practices, you can create an effective onboarding program that helps new hires feel welcomed, valued, and prepared to be productive members of your team. If you're looking for more insight into how your company can continue to make more hires and retain them, contact us today to see how we can help.

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