Welcome Aboard! How to Create An Onboarding Plan

Did you know that your employee retention rate lies in how organized your onboarding process is? Only 12% of employees find that the onboarding process was a good experience.

A bad experience can fail to capture the emotional high that an employee has when they first start a new job. If that initial excitement wears off after a few short days, that employee is likely to leave.

You’ll then have to spend even more money to identify and train a replacement. You can lower these costs simply by having an onboarding plan for your new hires.  

Keep reading to discover how you can create an onboarding plan that keeps employees engaged and loyal to your company.

What Is an Onboarding Plan?

An onboarding plan is a documented system that companies use to welcome new employees. This usually contains things like legal forms that need to be completed, orientation, regular check-ins, and mentorship.

The goal is to integrate an employee into the company as quickly as possible.

Take a Long View of the Onboarding Process

Companies look at onboarding as what happens in the first few days of a new hire experience. Others think of onboarding as the first day, and then they’re thrown into the fire of figuring out how to do their new job.

Both of these scenarios are common, but they don’t serve the company or the employee. The new hire will easily get frustrated and look for another job.

You need to look at onboarding as a long process. Think of onboarding lasting at least a few months as you start to create your plan.

You need to get multiple stakeholders on board with this long-range view. Managers, executives, HR departments, and other employees need to be on board and a part of this process to be successful.

Creating an Onboarding Plan

Does it seem overwhelming to create an onboarding plan? Start with a simple outline of the goals of the onboarding process. Think about the things that you want employees to walk away with at the end of it.

You may want the employee to feel comfortable at the company. Another goal is to introduce the culture and values of the company while holding the new hire accountable.

Once you have an idea as to what you want the onboarding plan to accomplish, you can then start to map things out. There are also some legal requirements that need to happen on the job. Make a list of all of the forms that you’ll need to have an employee fill out.

There are some companies that get these out of the way before the employee shows up for the first day of work. They’ll incorporate them into a remote onboarding process, so the new hire doesn’t have to spend half of the first day filling out forms.

You can give the new hire an I-4 Form, employment agreement, employee handbook, Form W-4, non-disclosure agreement, and a direct deposit form through remote onboarding. This can be done 1-2 weeks before the employee is scheduled to report to work.

You don’t need to have a new hire to stop by the office to get these done. There are remote onboarding tools that let employees sign the documents at their convenience.

Setting Up Technology

Nothing makes an employee feel welcome more than having all of the technology set up when they show up for the first day of work. Once an employee is officially hired, have a process in place for the IT department to set up a phone line, email address, and access to company-wide tools, such as communications and messaging tools.

The new hire may also need to have a laptop or workstation set up, business cards, and a building access card. You can impress new hires by having these things ready to go on day one.

Employees that have to sit around for weeks waiting for an email or building access to get set up will have a bad impression of the company. They’ll also feel like a low priority in the grand scheme of things.

Planning Out the First Week

You’ll need to have the first week planned out. You should assign one person who is responsible for guiding the new hire through the first few days. That person can also serve as a mentor and be the go-to person for questions.

You should schedule a welcome lunch for the new employee, and schedule meetings with the people they’re going to be working closely with. All of these things have to be coordinated early because you want to make sure that everyone has the time to welcome the new hire.

Beyond the First Week

You and the new hire’s manager should set up benchmarks to track the new employee’s progress. These should be made clear during the first week.

After that, there should be regular check-ins about the employee’s progress. They can provide feedback on the onboarding process.

It helps employees to feel integrated when there is a social connection beyond everyday office talk. Once a quarter, offer employees the opportunity to get together after hours. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Something as simple as pizza and cornhole games will keep people entertained.

It’s also a great icebreaker and helps all of your employees get to know one another.

Make an Onboarding Checklist Template

How can you stay organized and remember each step of the onboarding plan? Make a simple onboarding checklist as part of your company’s standard operating procedures.

This ensures the paperwork is sent to the employee, the IT team sets up the new accounts, the initial team meetings are scheduled, and the employee is invited to after-hours activities.

Welcoming a New Hire to Your Company

First impressions are everything, and you need to make the right first impression with new hires. You could have them packing up before they hit their one-year anniversary if they don’t feel welcomed.

Creating an onboarding plan will ensure that all the employee feels welcomed and immediately a part of the team. They’ll be sure to stick around for a while.

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