Onboarding is an entirely necessary process for new employees. While hitting the key points of rules and regulations is the bare minimum, this can feel quite boring and formulaic.
The more engaging a new employee finds the onboarding process, the quicker they’ll feel at ease in your organization. If you’re stuck on what this would look like, here are some tips on how to improve the onboarding process.
Why Onboarding is Important
The answer to this is fairly obvious. The employee onboarding process is important because it gives new hires all the necessary information they need to get started.
That's not to say it includes full training. Rather, it’s the period in which a new hire becomes familiar with workplace processes and regulations and begins to understand more about what is required from them.
As an employer, your main obligation is to ensure your new employee has filled out the necessary paperwork and has a copy of the employee handbook. Anything else is technically optional but definitely helps to make the employee feel more at ease.
What’s Wrong with Current Onboarding Systems?
The main issue with current onboarding systems is that they fail to give an accurate summary of workplace culture. For many, this is a difficult concept to summarize in a short presentation because employee culture is a feeling or an attitude more than anything else.
Also, the onboarding process steps can be very stressful. A new employee will likely feel nervous on their first day; this isn’t news. But moving through necessary steps like contracts and handbooks doesn’t make many people feel at ease.
First impressions are vital for employee retention, and onboarding will always be a new hire’s main first impression of your company. While they won’t ask, most new hires will want to know more about the people (particularly management) they’ll be working with, and whether they’ll like working at the company.
These issues aren’t addressed in onboarding processes, but they should be. This is the main problem with current onboarding systems.
Ways to Make Onboarding More Fun
So, how do you make onboarding more fun? Rather than attempting to make it more light-hearted (after all, this is a serious and necessary process), it’s better to simply make your employee feel more at ease. Here are some tips on how to improve the onboarding process.
1. GIVE CUSTOM SWAG
Everyone loves a welcome gift. It’s a great way to make people feel more comfortable and valued. Giving away free swag also helps to introduce your workplace culture and the value you put on your employees.
While this swag can be anything you want, some great ideas include custom socks and custom beanies. Including your company name and logo on the product will help your new hire to automatically feel part of the work-family because they’re literally wearing your name.
Of course, it’s great marketing for your company too.
2. CONNECT NEW HIRES WITH YOUR TEAM EARLY IN THE PROCESS
Connecting new hires with current employees should happen as soon as possible. After all, these people will be working together, so you’ll want them to start forming relationships.
You can do this in person at work or online before the new hire starts. Consider inviting everyone out for a drink or meal after work too because this will allow them to connect in a more informal setting.
3. MAKE THEIR FIRST DAY MEMORABLE
Onboarding involves a lot of information, so try not to overload your new hire. It’ll stick much more easily if they don’t have too much to think about.
Make their first-day fun: invite them to ice-breaking sessions, take them out for lunch, or do whatever you want. The important thing is to take away the pressure so they enjoy themselves.
4. CONNECT THEM WITH A MENTOR FOR THEIR FIRST 45 DAYS
You can’t cover a whole job’s worth of information on the first day. Therefore, connecting them with a mentor for their first 45 days will make things much easier.
Doing so will ensure they pick up the necessary knowledge and will give them a point of trust in your organization. In short, a mentor will make the onboarding process steps smoother and will ease pressure on the new hire.
If you’re wondering how to improve the onboarding process, the simple answer is to make it fun and memorable. The less formal it feels, the more comfortable your new hire will be.
Of course, giving them loads of free swag will make them feel as welcome as possible too, and will highlight your workplace culture.