5 Best Practice Onboarding Ideas: In-Person and Online

Many people in the HR industry will probably agree that onboarding is somewhat of an art form.

Each new hire brings with them the potential to achieve, so it’s up to the company to provide a seamless onboarding experience that nurtures their talent and helps them to succeed in their role. 

To lose a new starter through a poor onboarding process is an opportunity lost for any business and a costly one at that…

Every year six in 10 Australian managers have a new employee resign during their probation period due to poor onboarding. And, considering that it costs an average of $4,000 and 24 days to replace employees, this is a costly mistake to make and one that could easily be avoided.

However, by following best practices for employee onboarding you can ensure that your new starters stick around until after probation and beyond. We have compiled a list of the top five best practice tips for onboarding in-person and online to help you not only onboard your new employees but to also help you increase their job satisfaction, engagement and performance.


1. Establish personal connections

Starting a new job is daunting. We don’t think there is anyone in the world who won’t attest to that. Humans are social creatures after all, so it will always take some time for new starters to feel at ease among a “new tribe”.

Whether you’re onboarding new starters in-person, or virtually, there are several ways you can make them feel welcome and that’s by helping them to establish some personal connections. 70 percent of employees cite connections at work as the most crucial element to a happy working life, which is why it’s important to facilitate these social interactions between new starters and their co-workers.

Here are some of the key ways you can help establish personal connections:

  • Set up a ‘Buddy Program’ for new starters, where you assign each coworker a new starter ‘buddy’ to show the ropes 
  • Organise a ‘Welcome’ lunch or morning tea for new starters to get to know their peers
  • Arrange informal catch ups for new starts and colleagues during their first week, either in-person or via video call


2. Provide new starters with a welcome pack

Creating a welcome pack for all new employees is an effective way to ensure that they have all the information they need on-hand when they start. 

Welcome packs typically include information about the company, useful resources, stakeholders and any important information they will need to know during their first weeks or months. This can be provided to new starters either in-person or electronically if they are a remote worker.

Although welcome packs are often designed to give employees relevant information, you can also take the opportunity to make them feel a little bit special by including some useful gifts, such as a company mug, drink bottle, notebook, pens, or even some treats. Always remember that you want to make a lasting impression on the first day of any new starter, so your welcome pack is a good way to do this.


3. Develop an onboarding plan with clear milestones

New employees who are part of a well-structured onboarding program are 82% more likely to remain at a company for up to three years, which is why it’s crucial to develop a detailed onboarding plan. 

This onboarding plan should include all important aspects of the process, including any milestones that can be used to measure how they are progressing. This onboarding plan should be given to new starters on the first day to give them a roadmap to follow, so they can remain productive while they settle into their new position.


4. Consider onboarding new starters in groups

Onboarding is a long process and requires many hours’ from both employers and new employees.

Onboarding new starters in groups is a time-effective way to provide onboarding and ensure that it’s consistent across the board. It also gives new employees a way to get to know fellow employees without the pressure of a formal one-on-one meeting.

This is particularly useful for employers who are onboarding remote employees, as you can conduct onboarding sessions via video to several people at a time. The employees will likely prefer a group onboarding session in this instance, as it can be quite isolating working away from the office – especially when starting a new job – so it brings a social aspect to it.


5. Check-in regularly

The old approach of “sink or swim” doesn’t really apply when it comes to the onboarding process. New starters want to feel supported by their employer, so it’s important to schedule regular check-ins with them either in-person or online to assess their performance and address any potential issues they may have as soon as possible. 

Checking in with an employee can be as simple as grabbing a 5-minute coffee together, or sending an email to let them know you are there to chat. These check-ins are often to make sure employees are progressing as expected against their milestones, but it also gives employers the opportunity to ask for feedback on the onboarding process. 

Requesting feedback from new starters is a great way to refine your onboarding process and the individual plan for the employee to ensure they get the most out of it.

The onboarding process is an art and like any art form, there is a lot of trial and error involved. Not every onboarding plan is going to be a masterpiece, but by following the onboarding best practices you can help to nurture new talent and ensure that they stick around for years to come.


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