There are people who onboard new employees and those who act as new hires. Well, I believe many of you have already taken on at least one if not both of these roles. I bet the situation is rather familiar to everyone, unless I am mistaken.

The article relates to both HR managers who are seeking budding new talent and line managers or mentors who train and assist them. In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss this issue from both angles. You have yet to choose your side and follow their path throughout the article. By reading the article, you will explore some jaw-dropping examples of hiring horror stories, find out key benefits of having a well-crafted onboarding plan and learn how to automate this tedious process and stay afloat.

The problem of employee onboarding has become a kind of hackneyed subject recently. You have probably come across such famous books about hiring and training of personnel as The Alliance, The First 90 Days or Successful Onboarding. They all cry out in unison, saying that onboarding and training are not only the parts that prepare an employee for the job, but also chances for new hires to make it past the first few months. We should keep in mind that onboarding is not the same as training. This is a common misconception. To put it simply, the onboarding process includes training as one of the essential components but in addition to that, it also embraces employee orientation, introduction to the company’s ecosystem and compliance.  

Employee onboarding is the design of what your employees feel, see and hear after they have been hired. Often, companies confuse onboarding with training. While training does have a role within the onboarding it doesn’t represent the entire scope of the process. Michel Falcon

In today’s ever-shifting corporate world, to onboard new employees can feel almost the same as running a marathon. Both processes are physically and resource demanding and require intensive training. However, nobody can ensure that you will definitely win or that new hires will stay at least for a while with your company and will work productively.

Bare Facts

Effective onboarding can be measured by Return on Investment ratio (ROI); not only through decreased costs associated with turnover but also by increasing employee productivity and improving customer satisfaction. Specifically, studies state that companies that invest in onboarding experience 2.5 times the revenue growth and 1.9 times the profit margin than companies that don’t.

A Career Builder survey found that out of 2,700 employers, 41 percent claimed that each bad hire cost an average of $25,000. 25 percent of respondents reported average costs of bad hires to be $50,000 or more.

LinkedIn’s research “Why Is Onboarding So Important” provides some statistics that prove why effective employee onboarding should be a priority for your business: “The cost of replacing an entry-level employee is 30-50 percent of the person’s annual salary. And, for mid and senior-level employees it can reach 150 to 400 percent respectively. At every departure, morale, and productivity suffer. That’s why it’s vital that all organizations hold on to their people, and they can start by providing a well-designed onboarding process to educate new employees about their place within the larger culture.”

The costs of finding, attracting, hiring, onboarding and training new employees are staggering. It makes financial sense to improve onboarding process in order to save yourself from losing money like water through a sieve. Watch here a short video about onboarding programs in Facebook, Google and Apple. This will help you to develop your own onboarding strategy.

To sum up this paragraph, it seems reasonable to outline the following benefits of having well-crafted onboarding plan:

  • Employee retention
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Better performance and productivity
  • Employee satisfaction

Hiring Horror Stories

Those were some bare facts presented in the previous chapter for a clear envisioning of the problem. This short paragraph will take a snapshot of some classic examples of hiring horror stories. Proceed reading and maybe some of the cases will sound familiar to you.

  1. “Because of a lot of red tape and bureaucracy, I didn’t have access to all of the systems and files I needed to do my job for several weeks!”
  2. “The first day was really awesome. But on the second, everyone (including my mentor) was too busy to help me.”
  3. “After I was hired, I didn’t hear from anyone for 2 weeks. I followed up with the HR Manager, and he didn’t even remember who I was!”
  4. “The first days started at 8 a.m. and went until 6 p.m. There were no breaks throughout the day as they had lunch brought in. I felt like I was held captive. Then we had homework to do in the evening!”’
  5. “I was explained how the system works and informed about essential processes in the company on the first day, but nobody gave me some kind of written instructions or guides so I quickly forgot everything and had to ask millions of questions, bothering everyone. That was embarrassing.”

new employee onboarding

What’s the Best Way to Bring Your New Employee on Board?

Effective onboarding starts during the recruiting and hiring stages, when a HR manager interviews applicants and gives ample information about company’s culture and continues when a mentor starts training new hires until they become seasoned employees and can coach others.

As you have probably understood, HRs tend to deal with a great amount of various files. I don’t mean here this huge pile of hiring documents that each newcomer should sign during the very first day. However they are important, I believe it is a bad practice to bombard new hires with bureaucratic stuff right from day one. Imagine, a new employee goes home after his first day, and his partner asks about his day and the response is something like: “Nothing much, honey, I was just filling out HR paperwork.”

All kidding aside, in order to get a new employee up to speed quickly, a HR manager has to immediately start with a new hire orientation program that includes first of all an introduction to the company’s values and policies, networking with senior leaders, giving a quick tour guide and finally providing a new staff with necessary tools and training materials.

The last is the most important thing to do, but many companies disregard this idea of having training materials, since their development requires precious time and resources. They believe the results simply don’t worth the efforts allocated to it. Are you of the same opinion? If you are nodding in agreement, well, no offense, but it’s sad. Let me convince you otherwise.

Benefits of having ready-made training material:

  • No need to reinvent a wheel

To reinvent documents every time it is required is a useless task to undertake. If you have a successful process for doing something, make sure you have documented it. Click To TweetThis way your colleagues don’t have to apply effort to create something that already exists.

  • Time is money

Instead of firing thousands of questions at your colleagues every time you encounter a problem with a system or forget a procedure of doing something, it’s better to have essential company’s knowledge documented and don’t waste valuable time because it translates into money.

  • Consistency

By maintaining consistency while documenting company’s internal processes, you can considerably contribute to better brand exposure and social proof. When all the documents have the same look and feel, a company has an image of a trustworthy vendor.

  • Employee satisfaction

Believe me, new employees will thank you for helping them to ease the pain of adapting to the new ecosystem. They will be satisfied and work more productively. It was proved that happy people bring more revenue than those who are always gloomy.

We have wandered off the point a bit, let’s proceed discussing our issue. Suppose an HR manager has done his whole job and has already assigned a mentor to a newcomer, a.k.a. a go-to person or a coach. So, the next steps on this onboarding journey are to be taken by this mentor. The HR manager will only have to assess employee productivity from time to time, giving regular reports. The mentor shouldn’t leave new staff to their own devices, because these “youngsters” are just like the students on their first day of school or college, a bit confused and nervous about starting something new. It is unacceptable for them to hang around with nothing to do for several weeks. The mentor should put new employees into the picture right from the start; set goals and expectations for them, providing all the necessary material and resources for them to do their job efficiently. It is very important for the mentor not to go to the other extreme, overloading a new starter with a number of tasks specified on daily agenda. The first week of a new hire is not about troubleshooting but about teaming up and acculturation.

The mentor’s duties don’t end on the first week only. In fact, it is a long-term process, because the first 90 days are believed to be the most critical to employee retention. During this period, a coach should monitor the job performance of new hires, provide guidance, give constructive feedback, and at the same time elicit responses from new employees about the company’s policies and procedures.

employee education

Tools to Onboard New Employees

There is a wide range of software on the market that can help HR managers and line managers onboard new employees. In this chapter, we are going to consider smart and simple technology which bring tangible results and are easy to use.

  • WorkforceGrowth is a cloud-based tool that can be useful for both HR managers and mentors. It allows to build and manage custom employee reviews and evaluations, including categories like strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. The software can conduct and analyze employee performance reviews, as well as give and receive feedback on tasks and projects. WorkforceGrowth costs $5 per employee, per month.
  • StepShot may come in handy as a great step-by-step documentation tool for creating IT instructions, runbooks and reference guides for new hires. It captures screenshots for every click and provides automate descriptions for each of them. You can also edit the screenshots add own comments to them and export documents to MS Word, PDF, HTML or XML.
  • Atlassian Confluence is known as the most powerful document management system that allows to manage the lifecycle of your documentation. This includes creating, drafting, reviewing, publishing and storing of the documents. In other words, it is a team collaboration software that is aimed to accumulate and maintain your company’s knowledge.
  • Trello is a free project management tool for line managers to supervise and monitor employees work. You can easily organize your tasks into boards. They can be divided into several categories: ‘In planning’, ‘In progress’, and ‘Done’.
  • Zenefits is a powerful HR tool responsible for keeping employee records, calculating payroll, and managing tax, insurance, disability, and compensation payments. The software also records time sheets and logs employee attendance. In other words, it is an all-in-one HR platform that streamlines the whole onboarding process.
  • Teamdeck is a time tracking and scheduling software for project managers to see who has time to spare and who’s overworked. The tool helps plan and measure and monitor team’s work. It deprives you of spreadsheets, manual tracking, and hassle. Teamdeck is free for up to six users.

The Bottom Line

It’s true, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to onboard new employees. You should put effort into developing your own onboarding roadmap. Savvy organizations, however, have already realized the importance of having a well-crafted onboarding plan, and you? If not yet, then use our handy tips and aforementioned tools to embed your ideas so you can not only keep your head above water but catch the next wave!