Nine simple tips for a better onboarding experience

December 17, 2021
June 26, 2023
Employee Onboarding

Even if you have the best onboarding experience in the world, there’s still that early doubt about whether you’ve made the right decision or if this is the role for you.

Now imagine you’ve had a mediocre, bland or downright awful experience! Those doubts are exacerbated by those early woes, and so there’s really no excuse for not looking at how you can deliver a better onboarding process.

Amazing experiences won’t happen overnight, but there are absolutely things you can do today to improve your onboarding program! Here are nine quick wins and actions you can take right now, but before that, we need to address why it matters in the first place…

Why is employee onboarding important?

Because bad experiences drive people out the door! 64% of employees are likely to leave new jobs within 12 months if they have a negative onboarding experience. And a poor employee retention rate effects your productivity, profitability, culture and happiness.

Personalise it

Ever been called by the wrong name? It stings, doesn’t it! Sending EVERYONE the same plans, courses and resources is the onboarding equivalent of that. Both are a sign that people don’t really value you as an individual, but at least the name issue can be chalked up as an honest mistake. Rolling out the same old onboarding course is a conscious effort.

Onboarding should be customised for each person, for their personality, experience and the job they’re doing! You should be thinking about what those new employees need to know now to perform their role effectively and much sooner. Not everybody needs to know the same things and nobody needs to know everything in the first few weeks!

Why are we starting with this one? It’ll influence plenty others we’ll be discussing here (not to mention the employee experience altogether)…

Set better goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, how on earth are you going to get there? Or anywhere! Too many onboarding courses lack tangible goals, which prevents leaders from including the right content at the right times.

This is where forcing functions might be helpful. For example, a new sales rep might have the goal of completing their first demo call at the four-week mark. Your onboarding program can then be structured around getting them to that point through product training, shared knowledge from colleagues and practice sessions.

Establish 30, 60 and 90-day goals

It’s a similar point to the one above, but as well as those key actions, we need to establish milestones – big or small – across the first few months. They don’t necessarily need to be hard goals, but they are progressive steps based on how much knowledge and experience that person has built.

It’s far less daunting to have regular milestones, so don’t fall into the trap of saying, ‘this is what we expect you to achieve by the end of your three-month onboarding period’.

Use the preboarding stage

There’s a wonderful gap between signing the contract and starting the role. It’s not quite countdown to Christmas energy, but people certainly start to buzz and even experience some nervous energy as their new role approaches.

Some people want a way to channel that energy or are eager to do whatever they can to hit the ground running on day one. Others might just need some reassurance or clarity about who they’re working with. Your role is to tick some of these relevant boxes in that preboarding stage.

Start by sending an email to check in, which can be a starting point for completing paperwork and asking new employees if they’ve got any requirements. Maybe you can use that window to make key introductions with colleagues and ensure they’re warmly welcomed by the people they’ll be working with.

Involve the right stakeholders

The idea that only one person is responsible for or will be interested in a new employee’s onboarding process is ludicrous. Whether that’s people who will cover the technical things like tech teams, human resources and people operations, or those at the very top who will require a fast ramp up to reach the company goals, it’s a team effort!

Who’s involved in the onboarding process

Tap into internal experts

Snap quiz question. Someone in your team has been responsible for similar tasks as your new employee, do you, A) gain as much of that tacit knowledge as you can, or B) leave them to it and hope their paths cross at some point.

It’s not B. It’s never B. One of your biggest onboarding assets is that current employees have a wealth of relevant and on-the-job experience which can be shared with new team members. That should be considered and built into the onboarding and learning pathways.

Map out and build the process in your learning platform

A logical structure, dependent exercises and clear stages of progression – mapping out the process is useful for every party. The question is, does your current learning technology enable you to do this and measure that progress? If the answer’s no, it might be time to drop us a line and discuss how to improve your employee onboarding program.

Onboarding Sales Course Example In HowNow-min

Consider your remote and hybrid approaches

Where and how are your people onboarding? And is your approach being tailored with that in mind? It comes back to our very first point, but different joiners need different onboarding journeys.

Somebody who is fully remote will need a far different experience to those in the office every single day. Tech requirements will vary, the social side of things is vastly different, the way they learn from others changes drastically – and you need to preempt how, as well as how you’ll tackle it.

Get the right technology in place

If you’re growing at pace and welcoming loads of new employees, your life’s a lot more difficult if the process is managed manually. Having to update systems, send resources to each person, set up every check-in by hand – that takes up plenty of your time, which could be better spent getting to know new employees.

One thing you absolutely need to update is your HR system, but wouldn’t it be handy if that connected with your other tools so that new employee information was sent to all the right places?

We’ll do just that! HowNow integrates with your HR systems, meaning data for your new employees is sent automatically to your learning platform. This gives you the power to automate the sending and distribution of relevant content based on custom rules around their role and joining date.

Book a demo today and we’ll show you some of these simple ways to improve your onboarding experience, boost employee retention and ramp people up in their role!

You can also check out our complete guide to building an effective employee onboarding program by clicking on the image below:

Employee onboarding The complete guide for fast-growing companies (1)

Check out our other employee onboarding resources