September 16, 2021
Why onboarding new employees is so important
The 3 phases of onboarding
1. Before their first day at work
2. The first day in the new job
3. The first month in the new job
After the onboarding: From new employee to cherished team member
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Hiring new employees is a crucial aspect for a company’s success. But while finding the right talent is a challenge in itself, providing them with the right information to kick-start their new professional journey in your team is a big responsibility.
Especially with many new employees having a remote start to their new position, it is important to make them feel welcome and part of a team - even if you can only meet virtually. But the onboarding process doesn’t just start and end with the first day in the new job.
In this article, we explain why onboarding is so important and which 3 phases you should be prepared for.
A 2021 study from Zapier found that a negative onboarding experience results in new hires being almost twice more likely to look for other opportunities. But even more importantly, a great employee onboarding experience can improve employee retention by 82%.
There are plenty more numbers that underline the same thing: The onboarding process for new employees is highly important.
Not only can you increase employee loyalty and well-being, but also create a more desirable work culture and improve team spirit.
This in turn makes your company more attractive to new talent, who will seek you out and then re-start the onboarding circle.
Many employers tend to primarily focus on the first day of work when thinking about a great onboarding experience. But actually, the journey begins the day you and your new employee have put pen to paper and signed the deal.
There are a few things you should do right after hiring a new employee. These include informing the respective team about their new member, but also welcoming the new hire and sending them some information about the onboarding process. This should include necessary documentation and paperwork, but also a timeline about the next steps and some information such as a timeline for their first day at work.
A welcome email from the actual team member your new employee will work with also adds a nice touch to the experience. Consider including photos of the department so your new employee can already make themselves familiar with their future colleagues.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your new employee will have all their softwares and licenses as well as access to their account up and running on their first day. We all know IT can take a bit of extra time, so start the process early to ensure everything is prepared for their big day.
Finally, it is nice to have some idea of the new regular schedule, so sending out meeting invites before the first day at work can be a good way to provide some orientation to your new hire.
It is also worth noting that if you hire a remote employee or must onboard an employee virtually because of COVID restrictions, plan some time to pack a welcome package and send it out via mail, so it arrives in time for their first day. This can include paperwork, but also company merchandise such as notebooks or even technical equipment for remote hires.
Inform the team
Write welcome email
Organise accounts and licenses
Send out meeting invites
Pack onboarding package and optionally mail it in time
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Now it’s time to officially welcome your employee to their new job. Depending on whether it’s a remote position or an in-office role, the onboarding process for the first day in the new job might look a bit different. But regardless of location and physical closeness, your utmost priority should be to welcome and guide your new team member.
Meet your new employee. If it’s not in person, make sure you schedule time for a virtual welcoming session. Allow some time for questions to be answered and provide them with the most important details about their first day at work.
Things like account logins and links to company chats are best prepared in advance and sent in an email that you can refer back to when having your welcome chat.A not so exciting yet highly important part of the onboarding process is making sure all relevant paperwork is signed.
So whether it is an NDA, information about compliance, or a form asking for an emergency contact, now is the time to get these documents signed. After you have run through the organisational part of the first day, it’s time to hand the new employee over to their team. A great way to do this is with team lunch, so everyone can get to know each other in a more informal and comfortable environment.
But make sure to leave some time to process all the new information in the first day schedule, so as to not overwhelm your new team member. Check in with them at the end of the day to see if there are any questions and to get some feedback about their first day in the new job.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that many companies have positive experiences with a mentor or buddy programme, so consider nominating another team member to be the designated contact person for your new hire.
Welcome the new team member
Hand over / sign relevant paperwork
Hand over pre-packed company welcome package
Share important links and login details
Explain schedule for the day, making sure you leave some breaks in between
Introduce mentor / buddy
Organise team lunch
Hold a quick check in at the end of the day
It is important to understand that the onboarding process doesn’t stop after the first day in the new job. You should have regular check-ins and updates with your new team members and get as much feedback as you can from them regarding their personal onboarding experience.
This is not only valuable information that can help improve the future onboarding of new employees, but also allows you to continually follow their progress and shape their journey in your company.
This is where you make the seamless transition from onboarding process to the performance review system: Make sure you communicate what is expected of your employee, what they can expect of you, and what the format is to give and receive feedback about their performance.
Schedule regular updates to give and provide feedback and answer questions
Explain the performance review system
Schedule meetings for the performance review
After a while, your new employee will naturally become a part of their team and not just be “the new one” anymore. This transition is an opportunity for you to enter the next phase of their employee journey.
Personal development and identification with an employer are crucial for employee retention, so think about what you can offer to encourage them to be a motivated, engaged, and dedicated team member. This could be access to additional benefits and pay raises, but don’t forget to praise your employees and show your gratitude for the hard work they do.
After all, the best employees are happy ones.
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