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Five ideas to level up your employee onboarding experience

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Like all other HR processes, employee onboarding has changed in the past year, adapting to the new workforce set up and various health & safety protocols that companies need to follow. Even as businesses start to recover from the pandemic, 82% still intend to continue remote working for the foreseeable future, impacting how new hires join an organisation.

Employee onboarding remains just as important, however, maybe even more in this new business environment. It is more than just making a good first impression on your new hire or checking items off a list but setting them up for success. Studies have shown the short- and long-term impact of a good onboarding process not just to the employee but to the business.

Business leaders now have an opportunity to level up their onboarding experiences to ensure each new hire will have what they need to thrive in their new role, whether working remotely or not. Here are some ideas on how you can level up your onboarding process.

1. Establish connections and build community

With most employees still working remotely, new hires will not have the same in-person experience as others did. While their immediate teams may establish some connection, meeting other coworkers across departments can establish a more profound sense of belongingness to the organisation. Managers may help kickstart this by a simple email introduction of their new member with the broader group so other employees can get to know and welcome them.

Another idea is to consider grouping your new hires into ‘batches’ and organise a series of virtual events for them to mingle and meet people outside their team. These events can be something formal like a policy or code of conduct presentation, or a simple online happy hour, with guests from the leadership team so they could also have a chance to connect in an informal setting.

2. Create a virtual buddy system

An onboarding buddy system is not a novelty in organisations. They have seen many benefits in partnering up their new hires with a tenured employee to provide context, boost productivity, and improve new employee satisfaction.

The same buddy system can be implemented virtually, too. Just like one-on-one meetings with their managers, buddies can set up a specific cadence of check-ins across the first six months of the new hire’s tenure to answer questions and help them feel more comfortable. HR leaders may also consider creating a formal buddy program if they do not have it yet, to ensure a consistent experience. And because everything is virtual, new hires are not limited to having a buddy in the same office—they can connect to another employee across locations, too.

3. Embrace your company purpose and values

In transforming your onboarding process, do not forget to embrace your organisation’s purpose and values. Employees—especially younger ones—want to work for organisations that have a meaningful impact on society. Many employees would leave their jobs or prefer to take a pay cut to work for a company that shares their values.

Often, culture and values can get lost in all the tasks involved in an employee’s onboarding, resulting in a disconnect between the new hire and your organisation. Make sure to reinforce your purpose and values in all parts of your onboarding process—from the messaging to the activities to the virtual meetings—to help get your new hire’s commitment to your company’s cause.

4. Make it easy to track, accomplish and align their goals

Administrative tasks are part of every onboarding process, but these can often fall through the cracks, eventually becoming a hurdle to their actual job function. Furthermore, it can be challenging to set short-term goals and responsibilities for the new employees, especially when working remotely and have never met any of their teammates in person.

One way to help make it easier for both employee and manager is to automate and streamline these activities through employee onboarding software. Having all resources in a central hub can help organise tasks, track progress, manage expectations and align their goals to understand how their work contributes to the organisation’s success.

5. Unify the employee experience

Multi-country organisations have always faced the challenge of unifying their workforce across their different locations. Remote working has added another layer of complication to this. 3 out of 4 employees had felt that they were missing out on important company information before the pandemic even happened. Building connections across a decentralized workforce is now more important than ever to ensure your employees remain engaged.

Investing in a human capital management platform to automate your HR processes can help create a more consistent employee experience regardless of their location. This is especially helpful for new hires working remotely—they can turn to the platform to find any information they need to grow their career, stay connected to the organisation, track their development, and control their work.

Make your onboarding experience matter

Even as the world of work changes, employee onboarding remains critical in developing your employees, increasing engagement, improving productivity and ensuring retention. Employers need to be more creative with their onboarding strategies, utilising technology to transform and optimise their HR processes to support their workforce better and lead their business to success.