10 Ways to Create the Best Onboarding Experience for Your New Hire

By Sarah Ballow, iHire
New hire shaking hands with a colleague at a meeting

Onboarding a new employee is exciting – especially after you’ve worked so hard to recruit and hire the perfect candidate – and it’s also a key part of setting your employee up for success. Statistics show that 31% of people quit within 6 months of starting a new job. Part of this turnover is a result of ineffective onboarding plans and a lack of support from managers.

So, what makes a great onboarding experience? We’ve identified 10 key components – from weeks before your new hire arrives to months after they’ve started – that the best onboarding experiences have.

 

Employee benefits packet

 

Before they arrive…

Preparation is a huge part of what makes a great onboarding experience. Don’t skimp on the pre-work.

1. Mail an info packet.

Since your new hire will likely be overwhelmed with information when they arrive, send them the important stuff a couple weeks in advance. They should receive a welcome letter, an employee handbook, a benefits packet, parking information, and onboarding documents to review before their first day. Make sure you include contact information for your HR person so that they can reach out with any questions.

2. Send a welcome email.

No matter how seasoned you are in the professional world, the first day of work at a new company is nerve wracking. And a hiring manager who goes MIA after you signed the offer only worsens the new-job jitters and could result in job ghosting. Send your new hire a nice email a few days before they arrive to let them know how excited you are to welcome them to the team. This is also a great opportunity to communicate first-day details – when to arrive, where to park, etc.

3. Organize key documents.

Gather important resources ahead of time and put them in a central location so that your new hire can easily reference them. For the best onboarding experience, you should prepare these three documents:

  • Onboarding plan – Outline what your employee should expect on the first day, within one week, two weeks, one month, and beyond. This will not only calm their nerves on the first day, but it will also give them (and you) direction for the first couple of months.
  • Company glossary – While your office lingo has become a second language to you, your new hire is not going to understand your acronyms and tech talk. Do them a favor and have the whole team pitch in to develop an organized glossary with key vocab.
  • Org chart – A visual representation of who does what will help your new employee understand how your company operates and communicates, especially as it relates to their role. (It’ll also come in handy when they forget one of their new coworkers’ names.)

4. Make a training schedule.

Training a new employee is no small thing – for you or your new hire. Even if they’re a rock star in their field, they’re still probably overwhelmed by all the new company information or systems they need to learn. Preparing a training schedule will give their onboarding experience some structure and will give you dedicated time to get them up to speed.

 

Boss showing her new employee something on the computer

 

When they get here…

The first few weeks are critical for making a good impression and ensuring your new hire can move confidently into their new role. Be sure to socialize them with the team and provide core information on the company.

5. Give them a swag bag.

The best onboarding experiences include plenty of company swag. Along with the usual office supplies, leave a bag of fun branded items (like notebooks, T-shirts, and stickers) on their desk so they can start getting into the team spirit and becoming a brand advocate.

6. Take them out to lunch.

No one should eat alone on their first day. Plus, it will give you a good opportunity to engage them one-on-one in a more casual setting.

7. Pull them through orientation.

Your new hire should have orientation within the first two days of their start date. During orientation, you’ll give an overview of the company, collect important paperwork, and review company policies and benefits. Try to jazz it up if you can, and make sure you leave plenty of time for questions.

8. Have team members schedule meet-and-greets.

Part of what makes a great onboarding experience is the opportunity to build relationships with team members. Anyone who will be working with your new employee regularly should make time within the first couple of weeks to introduce themselves and explain their role. This will break the ice with other team members and give your new hire more insight on how their role will intersect with others. If you want to go the extra mile, schedule a team outing so that your new hire can socialize with their colleagues outside of the office.

 

Employee speaking with her boss during meeting

 

Once they’ve settled in…

What makes a great onboarding experience even better is following up. Always ask for feedback (even if you think things are going smoothly).

9. Check in.

To provide the best onboarding experience for your new hire, you should communicate with them frequently to make sure they’re getting enough support. However, it’s also a good idea to set aside some dedicated time to revisit their onboarding plan a month or so after they arrive. This is a great opportunity to assess training gaps and address concerns.

10. Send a survey. 

In about a month after they’ve started, send out a survey to get their feedback on the onboarding process. Their comments will help you improve your process for the next new hire.

To give your new employee the best onboarding experience, allow yourself adequate time to prepare and take a hands-on approach as they’re getting started. Putting in the time to onboard your new hire effectively will give them the foundation they need to excel in their role and love their new team.

 

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