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  • Writer's pictureBlue Bull Recruitment

Building a Strong Onboarding Program: Tips for Setting New Hires Up for Success

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Onboarding is a critical step in the hiring process. It’s the first impression that new employees have of the company, and it sets the tone for their entire experience.

If your onboarding process isn't comprehensive or is lacking in some key areas, this can lead to a poor experience for new staff members and, ultimately, can lead to them looking to leave your company.

A well-designed onboarding program can help new hires feel welcome and supported, leading to better engagement and retention rates. When they feel included from day 1 and welcomed it can have a profound effect on how they feel about their new role.

In this blog post, we’ll provide tips and best practices for building a strong onboarding program that sets new hires up for success with your company

Tip #1 - Start before day 1

The onboarding process should begin before the new hire's first day. Sending a welcome email, a company handbook, or even a video introduction from their future colleagues can help the new employee feel welcomed and valued before they even step foot in the office.

Ensure you know what you need before their first day and have it all prepared. If a check is required then have the forms ready. Make sure they are kept in the loop and even send an idea of what they can expect to happen on their first day.

It can be daunting starting a new job so if they know what to expect, then this can put them at ease.

Tip #2 - Create a checklist

A checklist is a great way to ensure that no critical onboarding steps are missed. It should include everything from introducing the new hire to their team and the company culture to setting up their equipment and explaining the company’s benefits and policies.

"By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail." – Benjamin Franklin

Tip #3 - Assign a buddy or mentor

Assigning a buddy or mentor can help new hires feel supported and connected to the team. This person can provide guidance and answer questions, helping the new employee feel more comfortable and confident in their role.

If they have a point of contact, other than their immediate line manager, it may help them settle quicker.

This will remove some anxiety if the new hire has what they deem a 'silly question' and they may feel embarrassed bringing it to management, they can broach the subject or question with their mentor.

A mentor is particularly helpful if the new hire is working from a large office building. The mentor can provide them with general support such as on-site eateries, car parking, and other general information and guidance.

Tip #4 - Provide ongoing training and development opportunities

Onboarding is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process.

Providing ongoing training and development opportunities can help new hires develop new skills, feel more engaged, and ultimately be more successful in their role.

Sit down with them early on, ideally in their first few days, and understand what their ambitions are and long-term goals. If they want to develop and progress within your company, it is useful to know early on in their career so you can ensure you get a training plan in place to help them.

Tip #5 - Solicit feedback

Asking for feedback from new hires can help you identify areas for improvement in your onboarding program. Regularly checking in with new employees can also help you address any concerns they may have and ensure that they are settling into their role smoothly.

If you feel the new starter would provide more frank and honest feedback why not ask their mentor to get feedback for you?

Tip #6 - Celebrate milestones

Celebrating milestones, such as the completion of the onboarding program or the first successful project, can help new hires feel recognized and appreciated. Celebrating these milestones also helps integrate them into the company culture.

One thing not to do though is to celebrate the early milestones and then stop recognising their efforts. If a new starter has milestones celebrated for the first few months then they are not recognised for a large achievement after 10 months or a year, and they may feel unappreciated and demoralised.

Start as you mean to go on.

Tip #7 - Don't rush the process

Onboarding should not be rushed. Taking the time to properly onboard new employees will help ensure that they are set up for success in their new role.

Every employee is different and will adapt to a new role at different paces and in different ways. You can't have a rigid onboarding process and use it as a tick-box exercise for every new hire as this will not work out.

Have a guide and a plan but make sure it is scalable and agile so it can be adapted to each individual based on their experience, needs and ambitions.

These are our top tips to build a strong onboarding process

In conclusion, a strong onboarding program is critical for setting new hires up for success. Starting before day one, creating a checklist, assigning a buddy, providing ongoing training, soliciting feedback, celebrating milestones, and taking the time to properly onboard new hires are all critical components of a successful onboarding program.

By investing in a strong onboarding program, companies can increase engagement, retention rates, and ultimately, the success of their employees.

If you feel your onboarding process is not quite there or you are looking to hire your next staff member and want our help with the full end-to-end process including a review of your onboarding process then get in touch today


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