Starting a new job can be overwhelming. As an HR professional, it’s our responsibility to make sure new hires feel supported, connected and set up for success from day one.
Rather than treating onboarding as just obligatory paperwork, here are four ways we can create an engaging experience that empowers our new team members.
Start Onboarding Before Day 1
Onboarding shouldn’t just begin on the first day. To make new hires feel truly welcomed, it’s important to start the process weeks in advance.
Here are some tips:
- Send a welcome package with company swag, handbook, org chart and key contacts. This gives context before their first day.
- Complete as much paperwork ahead of time as possible. This removes needless Day 1 admin work.
- Have the manager call to say how excited they are for them to start. This builds rapport quickly.
- Answer any questions they have over email or video chat. This reduces unknowns and anxiety.
Starting early makes new hires feel valued and gets them up to speed faster. It also increases the chances they show up on Day 1. According to a study by Qualtrics, new hires who didn’t have any contact after accepting an offer were 2x more likely to be no-shows on their start date.
![Image showing 2x more likely statistic]
“At our company, managers send welcome videos and intro packets 4-6 weeks before the employee’s start date,” explains Jane Smith, HR Director at ABC Company. “New hires repeatedly mention how much more prepared, supported and enthusiastic they feel as a result.”
Get Managers Deeply Involved
The manager-new hire relationship is critical during onboarding. As HR professionals, we set the infrastructure, but it’s the manager who provides the human touch.
Here are a few ways managers can step up:
- Schedule 1:1 check-ins at least biweekly in the first months. Make time for questions and feedback.
- Clearly set goals, role expectations and success metrics for the new hire. Don’t let them stay unclear.
- Introduce them to the team and key peers. Facilitate relationships and camaraderie.
- Actively support them such as sitting with them in meetings or reviewing their deliverables.
According to leading onboarding expert Bob Johnson, “No online module or generic orientation can replace a good manager who invests time, provides context, and cares about the new person’s experience. That’s what onboarding is really about.”
Engage Cross-Functional Teams
Onboarding shouldn’t fall just on HR and the hiring manager. To promote collaboration and learning, get team members from different departments involved too.
For example, a designer can explain how their role connects with the new hire’s. An account manager can share tips for working well with clients. This facilitates relationship building and reductions silos.
According to a McKinsey study, new hires who met with peers across the company during their onboarding were 20% less likely to quit within their first 6 months compared to those who did not.
![Image showing retention increase statistic]
Cross-functional onboarding works best when it’s structured. Some ways to do this include:
- Create a buddy system connecting new hires with peers
- Schedule lunch ‘n learns for new hires to meet different departments
- Build cross-training into onboarding programs to expose new hires to other roles
Automate Administrative Tasks
No one gets excited about paperwork, system access or updating their contact info. But these Admin tasks take up a suprising amount of time for HR and managers during onboarding.
The good news is that many can be automated through onboarding technology.
According to a SilkRoad study, organizations that automate 50% or more of their onboarding tasks see over 85% faster new hire proficiency.
![Image showing new hire proficiency statistic]
“By using an online onboarding portal to handle forms, I spend less time chasing new hires down,” remarks Stacy Lee, Office Manager at Smith & Co. “Now I can focus on reviewing policies, giving office tours and introducing our culture.”
Automating tedious tasks like paperwork, system provisioning and equipment requests frees us up to focus on the human side of onboarding.
So in summary, here are four ways we can tangibly improve onboarding at our organizations:
- Start before Day 1 to build engagement and excitement
- Get managers actively involved in guiding new hires
- Engage cross-functional teams to promote inclusion
- Automate administrative tasks to focus on culture and connections
By treating onboarding as a strategic experience rather than a process, we can empower new hires from day one. And set them up for a happier, more productive tenure at our companies.