What is Employee Onboarding? And Why is it Important?

Employee onboarding is one of the most critical touchpoints a company has with their employees. Whether you run a restaurant, a beauty salon or a large corporation, you should take the necessary steps to build an effective onboarding process that resonates with your company culture and makes the right first impression.

In this article, we uncover what employee onboarding is, why is onboarding essential for business success and how to build a new employee onboarding process. We've also included our free employee onboarding checklist to give a head start.

What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process of inducting new employees into your business. It typically involves taking the necessary steps to ensure that new hires are welcomed into their new role, have a thorough understanding of the company and its mission, and have clear expectations of their responsibilities.

From start to finish, there are several steps to cover to ensure that your new hire gets the best first impression possible before, during and after starting in their new role. Some of these steps include the job offer, pre-onboarding material, the schedule of their first day and setting them up with any resources they need to complete their job.

Employee onboarding is not a one-and-done process. It should start from the job offer and continue into and far beyond their probationary period. By placing extra focus on your employee onboarding strategy, you can ensure that your new hires feel empowered and motivated to start on the right foot.

Why is onboarding important?

An employee onboarding process is more than just what the first day looks like and ensures they get their paperwork done. It's an opportunity to remind new employees why they accepted the offer, what they have to look forward to and what the company will do to protect their wellbeing.

It also plays a crucial role in protecting the company in several ways. Here are five reasons why employee onboarding is essential:

  • Help reduce turnover - the estimated cost of replacing an employee varies between 30-150% of their salary. Regardless of the size of your business, this amount is significant. But you can prevent employee turnover with the proper measures in place. Now more than ever, employees won't stay with a company if they aren't happy. As a result, employers need to take every opportunity to ensure the wellbeing of their employees. And what better place to start than before their first day.

  • Make the right first impression - first impressions are everything. Even before an offer has landed in a candidate's email inbox with the proper onboarding process, there's a chance to make a first impression. For example, a new hire who feels their first day is well-planned will likely feel engaged quicker with their new team and role. Forget to plan their first day, and they could feel unwanted, forgotten or regretful of taking the offer. It's also a great time to embody company culture and make that the forefront of your first impression.

  • Helps enrich company culture - Company culture is a factor when candidates decide where they want to work. But company culture that stays on the surface of the company's about us section won't keep new hires around for long. Instead, it should lead the tone of your onboarding process and help guide the values you share with your new hire. It's also essential as a business that who you hire fits in well with the company culture.

  • Encourages connection between employees - New hires need to connect with their team and manager as early as the first day (if not sooner). By fostering connections, you can ensure overall productivity and engagement that will get the new hire up-to-speed with their new role quicker. Failure to foster connections between employees and the new hire could make them feel isolated and uncomfortable, preventing them from shining in their new role.

  • Empowers new hires - An onboarding process that focuses on the new hire and makes them feel comfortable empowers new team members and excites them about their future. Each new employee brings with them the potential to achieve and succeed. Losing the energy of a new hire through poor onboarding is an opportunity lost.

How to build a new employee onboarding process

The onboarding needs to be well-planned and methodological for it to be successful. Below are six steps to consider as the framework for your employee onboarding process.

New Employee recruitment

Whether you own a coffee shop, a dental practice or a swimming school, the recruiting process is crucial in setting the tone for your onboarding process. Start by reviewing your website's career page, company job descriptions, interview process, and questions. You want to pay careful attention to every touchpoint the new hire has with the company. In this step, you should also be transparent about company policies, including remote work, vacation, and sick pay. Overall, the recruitment process should leave potential candidates with a clear idea of what your company wants in a role, new hires and who you are as a company, including mission, values, culture, and people.

First office visit

After a potential candidate has made it to the last round of the hiring process, you will likely invite them for a tour of the job site and introduce them to senior management. The first office visit is a crucial step in the onboarding process as it offers a glimpse into a day in the life of an employee with your company. Whether employees can be compatible with the work environment is critical to their overall productivity. Therefore, when bringing them through space, highlight where they'll work, any office perks (wellness room, snack bar, open working space etc.,) and introduce them to the people you pass.

Sending an offer

While a job offer can imply that you value the new hire and the experience they can bring to the role, nothing says your excitement like a thoughtful message. Let me know how excited you are to work with the new hire and why you chose them for the role. The job offer should also be clear on the role and responsibilities to fully understand the expectations before signing.

Early onboarding

Pre-onboarding material is an excellent opportunity to get new hires excited about joining the company through the onboarding process. Perhaps, there are resources they can read on before joining to help them better prepare for the role or an itinerary for the first day. It's also an excellent opportunity to send a welcome email from their new team. Ideally, this step can affirm they made the right decision in accepting the job offer.

New hire's first day

The day is finally here when your new hire starts, but it can seriously fall short of making the right first impression if you don't plan. Ensure a schedule is in place so they never feel lost or unsure of what they should be doing. To help you plan the first day, aim to cover the four C's: compliance, culture, connection, and company. By covering these four pillars, you can ensure your new hire has exposure to the most critical business areas, including their team. Consider having their manager or a co-worker take them for lunch. If you're onboarding online, make time for a coffee catch-up to chat.

Onboarding in employee's first week

The first day has come and gone, but the onboarding process doesn't start and stop there. The first week is crucial in laying down the groundwork for what they can expect and the future of their role. Things you can do to build an epic first week include a new hire announcement, schedule meetings with other employees, check in often, set up deliverables and provide a look into the future.

Free employee onboarding checklist

You can get it right from the start with the proper employee onboarding process. Of course, every onboarding process will look different depending on your business and the company culture, but the basics remain the same. To help you get started, download our free employee onboarding checklist and other great resources.

And if you want to match your new shiny onboarding process with a complete workforce management tool, sign up for RosterElf's 30-day free trial; we'd love to have you onboard.

Have Questions?

We Have The Answers

What is the primary purpose of employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding aims to integrate new hires into the company by familiarising them with its culture, mission, and expectations. It ensures new employees feel welcomed, informed, and prepared to contribute effectively.

How does employee onboarding impact company culture?

Onboarding significantly impacts company culture by setting the tone for new hires. A structured onboarding process communicates the company's values and norms, fostering a cohesive and engaged workforce from the outset.

Why is a well-planned onboarding process crucial for new hires?

A well-planned onboarding process is crucial as it helps new hires feel valued and supported. It reduces confusion, boosts confidence, and accelerates the time it takes for new employees to become productive.

What are the long-term benefits of effective employee onboarding?

Effective onboarding can lead to higher employee retention, increased job satisfaction, and improved performance. It builds a strong foundation for new hires, encouraging loyalty and reducing costs.

How does onboarding contribute to employee engagement?

Onboarding contributes to employee engagement by fostering early connections between new hires and their colleagues. It helps new employees feel part of the team, which enhances their commitment and motivation.

Why is it essential to start onboarding before the employee's first day?

Starting onboarding before the first day helps set clear expectations and reduce anxiety for new hires. It ensures they are informed about their role and the company, making their transition smoother and more efficient.

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