The CheckPoint HR Blog

Optimizing the onboarding experience

Posted by Denise Bauwens on Mon, Mar 6, 2017

Onboarding is not a one-time process - it needs consistent and continuous improvements.
Onboarding is not a one-time process - it needs consistent and continuous improvements.

Improve onboarding to increase retention

Employers shouldn't just view onboarding as something that happens within the first few weeks of someone being hired. It should last, at least to some degree, the individual's entire first year. Consider that, according to the Harvard Business Review, most employees don't reach full productivity until eight months into their roles. 

Furthermore, research conducted by Equifax found that, over the past year, the majority of employees who left their jobs did so within 12 months of their start date. Clearly, there's room for improvement - especially since only 28 percent of businesses consider their onboarding program highly successful, according to HBR.

"Onboarding is about more than a hire's first few weeks."

Of course, no one is arguing the amount of work involved in onboarding. From data entry and paperwork, to converting new hire documents and setting up their job-related communications and resources - there's a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and strategies that can streamline these functions and help ensure the process goes as smoothly and successfully as possible - for both the employee and HR.

Below are some ways you can improve the onboarding experience:

Be consistent
All new employees should go through relatively the same process when they first join the company. By following a uniform standard of procedures and processes, HR managers avoid the risk of missing important steps - which could up compromising the quality of a new hire's onboarding experience. Also, developing a formal onboarding strategy makes it easier for employers identify inefficiencies. When each new hire goes through the same steps, the feedback will be more meaningful. 

Encourage mentorship and support
Making sure new hires have a pleasant onboarding experience isn't just HR's responsibility. All staff members throughout the organization should be doing their due diligence in making the individual feel welcomed. Organizing social activities, both in and outside the office, can help employees get to one another in a casual setting and, in turn, facilitate a more comfortable and collaborative working environment.

In order for employees to feel engaged and committed, they must also feel supported. While direct supervisors and HR managers are critical sources new hires can and should go to for a wide range of things, it would also be beneficial to arrange newbies with a mentor of some sort - someone they can go to with questions, concerns or guidance in a less formal manner than they would their superiors, as the latter can sometimes be intimidating. 

For new hires to feel engaged, they need to know they're supported.For new hires to feel engaged, they need to know they're supported.

Go digital
There's a lol of paperwork involved in the onboarding process. And while it may be time consuming, it's also necessary. To help make it as quick and painless as possible for new hires to complete the forms on time, use a platform where the documents can be accessed online and on the go. This is pertinent for employee authorization verification forms, such as Form I-9 and W-4, as well as other materials. Web-based portals make it easier for the new hire to access any critical documents and resources they need, including handbooks, guides and other information that's particularly needed during their first few months. 

At the end of the day, every employer and HR manager wants a new hire to have the best onboarding experience possible. However, making it as efficient, engaging and enjoyable as possible can be difficult when there is such a heavy - yet important - focus on the mundane aspects, such as filling out forms, processing paperwork and ensuring compliance. This is why investing in the right HR technology platform should be a priority. 

Intuitive software that offers process automation and self-service portals eliminate many of the pain points associated with onboarding. HR personnel and new hires, for example, can receive automatic notifications alerting them when a task hasn't yet been completed and employees always have access to the critical documents and resources they need to execute their job functions. All of this translates to ease of communication and an overall better onboarding experience.

Want to learn more about onboarding?
Download the eBook, "5 Simple Steps for Winning at Onboarding." 

Topics: onboarding