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Onboarding New Employees: A Complete Guide 2023


Employee Management

Onboarding New Employees: A Complete Guide 2023

A well-designed onboarding process for new employees can help employers save time and create positive first impressions.

January 11, 2023
min read
January 11, 2023
8 min read
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One of the primary functions of the human resource department is onboarding new employees. It’s responsible for the conceptual and strategic part of the onboarding process. This process comprises several phases involving other departments and their immediate managers. Unlike before, the onboarding process is more important than ever because of its power to boost employee engagement and help new hires catch up more quickly in an organisation.

This post covers various aspects of employee onboarding, including its phases and how this process differs across companies. If you’re a member of the HR team or a business owner looking forward to onboarding new employees, this guide will help you through the process.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is a systematic and purposeful process of integrating a new hire into an organisation. Usually, it starts when an offer is made to a new employee until the employee becomes a productive member of the organisation. During the onboarding process, new hires are familiarised with three key aspects, i.e., their job role(s), organisational culture, and policies.

More importantly, employee onboarding entails equipping new hires with the necessary tools for the job. Additionally, it’s crucial to create an environment in which the new employee is comfortable engaging with other employees and establishing social relationships within the organisation.  

Depending on an organisation's operations, this process can last weeks, months, or years.

Why is Onboarding Process Important?

Carrying out an onboarding process offers significant benefits to a new employee and the organisation. Here are the benefits:

1. Increased productivity

One of the main reasons to onboard new employees is to help them familiarise themselves with an organisation's culture and clarify what role they will be taking and the expectations. It also entails providing them with the necessary support, including job training and tools for work. As a result, new employees feel more empowered and equipped, increasing their productivity.  

2. Enhances employee engagement

 An effective employee onboarding program is more likely to boost employee engagement. How? During this process, it's easy to integrate new employees into the organisation, creating better opportunities to establish relationships.

Statistics show that effective onboarding results in 54% employee engagement. Besides, another study by Gallup found that companies with more engaged employees have better results than companies with fewer engaged employees.

3. Increased job satisfaction and low employee turnover

An effective onboarding process leads to increased job satisfaction and low employee turnover. A study showed that new employees who underwent a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be in the same organisation for at least three years. Another research by Brandon Hall Group focusing on strategic onboarding found that a robust onboarding process improves employee retention by 82%.


What are the 4 Phases of the Employee Onboarding Process?

The process of onboarding new employees is systematic and comprises four key phases with specific activities. Notably, these 4 phases help in creating a great onboarding experience. So, what are these phases?

Phase 1: Pre-onboarding

This process commences as soon as a candidate agrees to the job offer released by the HR team until a new hire is welcomed on the first day of joining. During this phase, ensure that the new employee gets a clear overview of what is expected of them and what they expect. It also includes helping them with the necessary paperwork and a general idea of the various company policies.

If the new hire is relocating and unfamiliar with the surroundings, it’s good to offer help finding a new place to live.

Lastly, consider sharing with the employee what the onboarding process will look like. It makes the entire process more inclusive and welcoming.

Phase 2: Welcoming new hires

This phase involves several activities, such as welcoming new hires on their first day at work, orientation, employee engagement, and teaching them about company culture. Generally, this phase is meant to give new hires a clear picture of how an organisation works.

A new employee should feel welcomed and appreciated on the very first day. It’s also good for them to meet other team members and stakeholders. The orientation process should help new hires understand organisational culture and show them around to get familiar with the various places within an organisation's premises.

Additionally, it’s crucial to introduce topics such as attendance, payroll practices, time off, etc. However, make it open for the new hires to ask questions.

Phase 3: Job-Specific Training

New hires need support and tools to start and remain productive. That’s why this phase is quite important during the onboarding process. Some new hires may need formal training depending on their work experience and the assigned role. For this reason, it’s good to have a new hire training plan in an organisation. 76% of employees believe training is the most critical factor in their first weeks.

Once the training opportunities are identified, the new hire explores available learning methods and what suits them.

Additionally, during this phase, a new hire should be helped to get familiar with the organisation's management system.

Good training during the onboarding process makes new employees feel valued, accommodated, and ready for their new roles. Consequently, it helps reduce the employee turnover rate. 

Phase 4: Transition to the new role

This last phase of the onboarding process is meant to help new hires transition smoothly into developed employees.

To make this phase a success, a new employee must work on a few things, including establishing healthy interpersonal relationships with team members, adopting a skillset for the position, and understanding the organisational culture.

Notably, this phase should involve a lot of dialogue about a new hire’s progress, challenges they’re facing, and possible solutions to underlying issues (if any). Performance reviews are also necessary for this final phase.

What are the 5Cs of Onboarding New Employees?

The 5C’s refers to components that provide the best practices that should be followed while onboarding new employees. They include the following:  

1. Compliance

One of the best onboarding practices is compliance with legal rules, organisational standards, and obligations. In brief, these are the things that must be done when a new hire starts and during the onboarding process.

Compliance refers to completing the necessary paperwork, providing the right/safe working environment, conflict resolution, dealing with workplace discrimination, etc.

2. Clarification

Clarification is all about how new hire understands their roles and performance expectations. The involved persons during the onboarding process, especially the hiring and department managers, need to clarify to a new hire what they’ll be doing (job responsibilities), how it should be done and what is expected of them. More importantly, it entails establishing a support network for new hires to help them deliver their assigned roles diligently.

3. Culture

A new hire ought to learn an organisational culture through the onboarding experience. New hires need to understand the organisation's mission, vision, and values. Often onboarding is one of the critical ways that organisational culture is formed, maintained, and changed.

A strong culture attracts and retains the best employees and has a tangible effect on a company’s success.

4. Connection

It’s good for a new employee to feel valued, recognised, and accepted in an organisation. It’s achieved through connection, whereby new hires establish relationships with other employees and seniors. Therefore, it’s essential to foster connection during the onboarding process.

Connection results in better job satisfaction and employee engagement in the workplace.

5. Check-ins

It’s vital to check in with new hires throughout their first quarter and beyond (during the transition phase) to understand their performance and address some of the challenges they may be facing. It can be done through regular meetings with new hire, team members, and their managers. Check-ins also help assess whether the new hire is happy with their role and job.


Use Workpay to Streamline the Onboarding Process

The onboarding process can be challenging for an organisation and new employees. A survey found that nearly 63% of employees feel overwhelmed or stressed by the onboarding experience. However, with Workpay the process is stress free and easy. We help organisations manage every aspect of the onboarding process, from sending offer letters and pre-onboarding new hires online to tracking real-time updates of the onboarding process online!

Workpay is customisable to suit specific onboarding processes and is an essential tool for any business owner or HR team. Switch to Workpay today and experience the ease of automated HR management

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Workpay is a HR and Payroll software company that offers time & attendance, payroll, human resource, leave, expenses and remote teams solutions to businesses across Africa.

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