The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding New Hires: Best Practices and Strategies

Posted by Trakstar • April 14, 2023 (Last modified January 17, 2024) • 7 min read

Effective onboarding is essential for setting new hires up for success in their new roles. A well-designed onboarding program can help new employees feel welcomed, engaged, and productive from day one. Studies have shown that how you run employee onboarding will help determine how long a new employee will stay with your company, how well they fit in with existing team members, and the higher employee engagement will be.
This article will explore the best practices and strategies for onboarding new hires.

Start the Employee Onboarding Process Before Day One

Effective onboarding starts before the new hire’s first day. You must follow best practices from the moment they sign the offer letter – and even before – during the hiring process. Provide a detailed job description, introduce them to their team, and send them any necessary paperwork and training materials. This early preparation will help set expectations and reduce first-day jitters.

The onboarding experience can be nerve-wracking with a ton of paperwork, confusion, questions, and more. You cannot simply run your onboarding process like a checklist where you check off each stage of orientation, meeting the HR team, meeting leaders, taking training, signing up for performance management, getting payroll, and getting to work. 

Make Sure They Have What They Need

When onboarding new hires, it is vital to ensure they have everything they need to succeed in their new role. This includes providing them with the necessary tools and resources, as well as ensuring that they have a clear understanding of their job responsibilities. One of the best ways to ensure that new hires have what they need is to provide them with a comprehensive onboarding plan.

This plan should include all of the information and resources that they will need to be successful and should be tailored to their specific role. Another critical strategy for ensuring that new hires have what they need is to set up regular check-ins. During these check-ins, you can ask how they are doing and if they need anything. This will help you identify any potential issues early on and will ensure that new hires feel supported in their first few weeks on the job.

Some things they may need include:

  1. Employee handbook: This document outlines the company policies and procedures that employees are expected to follow.
  2. Job description: A detailed description of the responsibilities, duties, and expectations for the new hire’s role.
  3. Training materials: These can include manuals, videos, or online courses that provide training on the company’s products, services, and processes.
  4. Benefits information: A summary of the benefits that the new hire is eligible for, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.
  5. Company directory: A list of important contact information for other employees, departments, and resources within the company.
  6. Equipment and supplies: Any equipment or supplies necessary for the new hire to perform their job duties, such as a computer, phone, or tools.
  7. Orientation schedule: A schedule of events and meetings that the new hire will need to attend during their first few days or weeks on the job.

Make a Strong First Impression About Organizational Culture 

The first day is crucial for making a solid first impression. For in-person new hires, ensure the new hire has a clean workspace, and a company-branded welcome kit and is introduced to key team members. Schedule time for a one-on-one meeting with their manager to discuss expectations and goals.

Don’t forget about your remote employees. Remote onboarding is different and requires a completely different onboarding experience. You can base it on your existing onboarding of new hires, but there will be small changes you’ll have to make.

One way to do this is by using employee onboarding software like Trakstar Learn. This software is for more than just onboarding a new hire, it helps you create a better onboarding process, improves employee retention through ongoing training and learning, helps your existing team members learn more, and can reach your remote employees as well as in-person employees, all while using best practices.
SHRM has some great ideas about virtual onboarding that can help you if you think you’re struggling in that area.

Provide Clear Expectations and Goals for Performance Management

New hires need to understand what’s expected of them and how their role contributes to the company’s mission. Provide clear job responsibilities and goals, and align them with the company’s mission and values.

Company culture starts on day one and needs to be a part of not only your onboarding process but your employee retention strategy. It needs to start with Human Resources, but successful onboarding includes company culture in every step of the process. 

You can use onboarding software to help align the employee onboarding process to your existing company culture. Ensure that employees receive consistent messaging with the same information. If someone takes a learning course through onboarding software, you know that they have at least seen the information. This can help you with legalities.

Offer Training and Support for New Hire Onboarding

Effective training and support are essential for new hires to succeed in their roles. Provide them with job-specific training, as well as training on company policies and procedures. Assign a mentor or buddy to help them navigate their new role and answer any questions.

Onboarding tasks should always relate back to the new hire’s job duties, company culture and rules, and information from Human Resources. While it’s great to have an onboarding checklist, you will want to think about each role (or have their managers think about it) as you prepare new hire onboarding. 

Encourage Feedback and Communication Throughout the Employee Onboarding Process

Encourage new hires to ask questions, provide feedback, and communicate openly with their manager and colleagues. This communication can help identify and address any issues early on, leading to better job performance and retention rates.

You can run a post-onboarding survey to see what people really think about new hire onboarding. This can help you make the small changes that are necessary for truly successful onboarding. 

Encourage Mentoring and Foster Relationships

When it comes to onboarding new hires, one of the best things you can do is encourage mentoring and foster relationships. By doing this, you can help your new hires feel welcome and part of the team while also helping them to learn more about their job and how to be successful in it. Mentoring can take many different forms, but some of the most common ways to encourage mentoring include: 

1. Creating a mentorship program: This can be an official program that is run by the company or simply an informal arrangement between employees. Either way, having a mentorship program in place can be a great way to encourage mentoring and help new hires feel supported. 

2. Encouraging informal mentoring: In addition to formal programs, you can also encourage employees to mentor each other informally. This could be something as simple as pairing up new hires with more experienced employees so they can shadow them and learn more about their job. 

3. Promoting a culture of mentoring: Ultimately, the best way to encourage mentoring is to create a culture where it is encouraged and valued. This means letting employees know that they are expected to mentor others and providing them with the resources they need to do so effectively.

Ready for Better Employee Onboarding Software?

Effective onboarding is crucial for setting new hires up for success. By starting before day one, making a strong first impression, providing clear expectations and goals, offering training and support, and encouraging feedback and communication, you can create an onboarding program that helps new hires feel welcomed, engaged, and productive. So, invest in a comprehensive onboarding program and watch your new hires thrive.

If you are ready to build a better onboarding process, you need to use employee onboarding software. Schedule a demo of Trakstar today.

Don't Miss Out on More Great HR Articles!

Subscribe to get the latest, greatest HR and Talent Development content straight to your inbox.