3 Ways to Improve Employee's On-boarding Experience

Kelsie Davis
Kelsie Davis  |  July 10, 2018

Do you think as much about the impression you make in on-boarding as you do in recruiting?

Unfortunately, many organizations don’t and miss a huge opportunity for improving employee success. BambooHR’s recent survey found that on-boarding is closely linked to outcomes such as increased commitment to the organization, engagement, job satisfaction, performance, and more.

Explore employee engagement insights for 2019→

Improving the employee on-boarding process

Fortunately, with a little deliberate thought, you can improve employees’ experience. Here are a few things you can do to create the best on-boarding experience possible: 

Get a head start with on-boarding

BambooHR’s on-boarding study also found that 22 percent of respondents completed on-boarding before their first day of work. Now, we’re not making a judgment as to whether or not it’s a good idea to complete on-boarding before employees ever clock in, but we do know that getting a head start can improve the new hire on-boarding experience. You can get a jump start welcoming your new employees by:

  • Getting paperwork out of the way: Mortgage closings, taxes, and opening a new bank account don’t usually top the list of people’s favorite hobbies—probably because of the tedious paperwork involved. Fortunately, on-boarding doesn’t have to join the group. Instead, use tools like electronic signatures to get the legal stuff out of the way before employees start so you can focus on more interesting activities. 
  • Sending a welcome package: Starting a new job can be scary. New people, new responsibilities, and a lot of uncertainty. Hiring and recruiting teams can help reassure new hires that they made the right choice and get them excited for their first day by sending them a little something. Some organizations send company swag and a treat or two. Even just an email with a photo of their new team can help them feel welcome.
  • Providing benefits details: There are lots of decisions to make on the first day, and it can be a little overwhelming. Instead of hitting new hires with everything on day one, send them things like benefits details ahead of time. That way, new hires can talk over the options with anyone who might help them make their selections. Plus, increased transparency can help employees feel more secure about the changes.

Of course, there are plenty of parts to your employee on-boarding process (like on-boarding softwareprocess that will be more effective if they take place after employees start. Getting some of the other tasks out of the way early can leave more time and energy to invest in those activities. 

Incorporate culture into the process

With so many to-dos in your employee on-boarding process, it’s easy to get caught up with what’s right in front of you and forget to provide the guidance that could have the biggest impact down the road: culture training. Culture training should answer deeper questions about what it’s like to work at your organization and should cover your organization’s:

  • Behavior expectations: The best way to ensure employees meet behavior expectations is to make sure they’re aware of them. Teach new hires what’s acceptable at your organization by answering these questions: How do employees treat each other? What hours are employees expected to be in the office? What happens when employees disagree? 
  • Values: Communicating about your company culture and values is the only way to ensure they last and aren’t just words printed and hung on the wall. Start communicating values by answering these questions: How were your values selected? What are the priorities at your organization? What are the common goals that drive your actions?
  • Insider info: If you’ve traveled to a foreign country, you know how important it is to understand the customs of the area. Well, your organization has customs too and new hires need to learn them. They’ll want to know: Is there any lingo unique to the company? What special events or celebrations should they expect? What’s the best place to grab lunch?

Because each culture is unique, your culture training needs to be thoughtful and individualized for the specific culture at your organization. And if you don’t have a strong culture to communicate, then building one is the first step. Even if employees have the best on-boarding experience, it’s still crucial to have a strong culture that keeps them happy, engaged, and committed to the organization in the long-term. 

Encourage connections

 While your new hire might have an existing friend in the office, chances are they don’t know anyone. Meanwhile, 70 percent of employees say having friends at work is the most crucial element to a happy working life. A few extra steps in on-boarding could help your employees make connections that will help them feel more supported and committed to the organization as a whole.

  • Add a welcome email: Prior to their start date, have new employees fill out a short survey so you can learn things like their hometown, favorite candy, a bucket list item, a hobby, or their favorite vacation spot. Then, on their first day, send the information to the rest of the company or their team. Just knowing a few things about a new employee can help coworkers strike up conversations.
  • Go out to lunch: We’ve found it most effective for new hires to go to lunch with a few members of their new team on the first day. It’s fun, it takes a bit of the pressure off new employees, and gives everyone a chance to get to know each other.
  • Encourage manager one-on-ones: Establishing a positive relationship with managers early on can help employees feel more included and ensure that new hires get feedback on their progress. The best way to ensure that your new employee is on the right track is to frequently check their trajectory.

There are plenty of ways to help new hires feel incorporated into your organization and their new team. Whatever you do, your efforts in on-boarding to foster employee connections can help them have the best on-boarding experience possible.

Setting the stage with employee on-boarding

The employee on-boarding experience sets the stage for everything else your new hires will experience at your organization. Instead of checking only the necessary boxes, get a head start and be prepared to use on-boarding as an opportunity to increase employees’ culture knowledge and connection to the organization. Doing so can increase employee engagement and happiness in the long term.

Kelsie Davis

Kelsie Davis

Kelsie Davis is a brand journalist for BambooHR, the leading HR solution for small and medium businesses. Her mission is to help HR be more strategic and impactful. She does this by researching, analyzing, and writing about all things HR—particularly topics helping HR professionals engage, attract, and maintain employees. Because of their unique ability to influence the most fragile and important asset a company has—it’s employees—Kelsie believes HR professionals are crucial to company success. Kelsie studied Communication Studies and Journalism at Utah State University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude before pursuing a career in marketing. Kelsie writes frequently for BambooHR’s blog and has written for HR publications such as Talent Culture, TLNT, and about.com.