Jul 2019
Mins read

The Importance of a Seamless Onboarding Experience

First impressions count. From the moment that a brand new employee signs on the dotted line, through to their first week of work, is when your organization has the most power to impress (or disappoint!) a new hire.

According to WebOnboarding’s 2017 report, Onboarding: The global problem businesses can no longer afford to ignore, there are some sobering statistics:

  • 15% of office workers turned down a job offer due to a poor onboarding process
  • 19% had left the job within a few days or months
  • 60% of workers who had problems during onboarding experienced them on the first day
  • 37% weren’t given full training, just “bits and pieces”

The onboarding experience for a new hire should be your time to shine, not disappoint.

And it’s not just a handful of companies who aren’t getting it right, either. The same survey indicates that 65% of companies believe their onboarding process could be better, with 38% lacking any processes or policies at all!

Thinking holistically about onboarding

You want to start off on the right foot by imprinting a welcoming, inclusive, fun, interesting, diverse, forward-thinking, and organized image of your workplace for your new employees. You’ve marketed the role (and sold it!), now it’s time to market the workplace as somewhere they’re excited to be a part of.

The consequences of a poor onboarding experience speak for themselves in the stats above, so let’s examine how we can drive employee engagement from (even before) day one.

The onboarding experience should be a slick set of well-managed, repeatable, time-sensitive and interesting activities

Let’s review what should be included in onboarding:

  • Highlighting your workplace at its best
  • Completing onboarding in a logical, step-by-step manner
  • Giving adequate details of who to meet and where for (at least) the first day; a schedule they’ll be following
  • Ensuring your new employees’ technology and workspace is set up and ready to go, including all physical and digital tools they will need
  • Ensuring new user accounts for the employee have already been created, with password changes all that’s necessary to get up and running securely
  • Providing an overview of the workplace ecosystem and values, both theoretically and physically
  • Accurately describing all manner of workplace functions
  • Introducing the employee to staff (their immediate team and beyond) and making them feel welcome
  • Providing background training about the role in an interesting way that is tailored to the audience
  • Providing essential training packages such as workplace health and safety, appropriate workplace behavior
  • Digital access to all resources provided in the onboarding process, as well as documents like site maps, staff directories, HR resources, etc.
  • Introduction to their first project and resources (if applicable)
  • Ensuring all technology used throughout the onboarding processes works without hiccups

In short, there’s a lot to perfect across the onboarding process. To add to the complexity, not every employee will go through the same onboarding activities, they may need to be tailored to department, role, or site.

How can you easily set up an onboarding process for employees

Setting up your onboarding data repository

Where will you store all the resources involved in the onboarding process?

The first step to ensuring your onboarding process is smooth, comprehensive, and appealing for your new hires is to establish a dedicated content repository for this function.

An Enterprise Document Management solution should be at the core of your organization’s technology suite. This is similar in navigation style to File Explorer in Windows, however it has far more options, such as adding tags, complete version history, full-text search, commenting, and more.

Within your EDM you can create an Onboarding area to store appropriate resources. We recommend both using a drill down folder-style method plus tagging files for further sectioning into roles, departments, or sites.

Organizing generic onboarding resources

What do you need for the onboarding process and who do you need it from? Once you have a document management system set up, you need the resources to fill it - from all parties involved in the process.

You may need items such as relocation information and forms from HR, site-specific guidelines and maps from site managers, and training packages from OH&S.

Instead of the tedious back and forth of email, set up a collaborative Onboarding workspace with contacts from each of these areas to share their applicable content. Assign categorized tasks (e.g. add vision and values presentation, tagged ‘corporate’), to applicable staff in the group with a certain deadline, then track progress.

Publish all collected onboarding resources on your Intranet in a specific area, linking to the document management system. You can make global onboarding documents available to every user, and then set permissions for other resources based on role, site, or department.

New employee information gathering

Gathering all the info you need from your new hire before they come on board means when they arrive there will be less work for you to prepare and run through.

Create an extranet account for your new hire that allows them to fill in applicable forms to capture their details (plus generate their Enterprise Social Networking account!) before they start work. You can include any applicable non-sensitive onboarding resources for them to have a look over before they start. Publish a welcome message, plus a calendar of events for their onboarding schedule.

Make your extranet homepage for new employees as similar (but stripped back) as possible as your Intranet homepage, so they feel comfortable when they start working with your corporate Intranet software.

Once logged on to the Intranet, there will be access to more corporate resources, like quick links to onboarding, team directory, project workspaces, easy access to some of the most important documents for their onboarding, and their new team’s chat if applicable. You can even make them feel welcome to the rest of the organization by adding a news piece to the Intranet with their Social Networking details attached.

Personalization across pre-employment and post-employment is the basis of a very solid employee engagement platform. You can automatically disable extranet access once your new employee has logged onto your Intranet, for security best practices.

Automating time-specific onboarding checklists

Now you have a basic onboarding system in place for every employee who joins the organization. The next step is automating time-sensitive onboarding checklists for individual hires.

You will need checklist items to be completed such as:

  • Technology requests, from both the team/department and IT
  • Physical infrastructure requests from the site manager
  • Detailed role information from the team
  • First project package from the team (if applicable)
  • Completed pre-arrival onboarding forms from the new hire
  • Systems enrolment from IT, accounting, etc.
  • Onboarding schedule (you may have a few different schedule templates to work from, depending on the role - think repeatable!)

Refine the process

The aim of creating and using a great onboarding experience is to make sure that it’s a pleasurable process for all new hires to settle in easily, runs logically and smoothly without downtimes or rushing, is as automated as possible (for less manual work each time around), and can be modified to make it even better!

With the right systems in place, it’s easy to add or reconfigure elements of the onboarding process to achieve these goals. Ask for feedback from new hires about their experience with the system (as well as your internal collaborators) to keep perfecting as you go.

Let us help you create an enviable onboarding experience

Impress new talent right from the get-go.

If your onboarding processes are out of date, rely on email and paperwork, are spread across departments, take up much more time than they should, or are simply just disorganized (or non-existent!), then it’s time to change all that.

Get started with CentricMinds

Let us help you engage new hires through smooth, exciting processes and technology solutions. Contact us at CentricMinds to start making internal systems easier, or get to work on your own prototype onboarding process with a free trial of our Intranet software.