The Benefits of an Efficient Employee Onboarding Process

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An organisation's onboarding process is important for new employees to adjust to their roles. It can also engage these employees and make them feel like a valuable part of the company by increasing their morale and motivation. If you're a human resources personnel or manager, learning more about the onboarding process and its benefits can help you improve the experience of new hires. In this article, we define employee onboarding, list the benefits of having an efficient onboarding process and discuss the key components of this procedure.

What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding, also known as organisational socialisation, is the process of welcoming new employees into an organisation and providing them with the resources they require to excel in their roles. An onboarding process aims to ease an employee's transition into a new environment and set them up for success. Additionally, employers can also use this process to make a great first impression on new additions to the company.

The organisational socialisation time frame can differ from company to company, with some onboarding programmes lasting up to a year or more. Generally, many organisations plan for the onboarding process to last no more than two to three months.

Related: What Is an Onboarding Process for New Employees?

Benefits of efficient employee onboarding

Here are the main benefits of an efficient onboarding process:

Defines roles clearly

Many organisations use their onboarding programmes to provide job training and inform new hires about their positions. In addition to providing more administrative information about a role, job training might also feature some demonstrations. For example, a senior employee working in the same role might perform a task to show a new hire the accepted way of doing this task. These initiatives can provide new employees with a distinct idea of their overall function and significance in the organisation they've just joined. This clarity with regard to their role can increase their motivation to perform well.

Aligns new employees with organisational goals

Each onboarding period gives managers an opportunity to review the current organisational policies and procedures to ensure they're still pertinent. Having done so, they can introduce these concepts to the new employees and help them understand the importance of following them. While these employees might be aware of a company's objectives from the job posting or the interview process, reinforcing them at the beginning of their employment can accelerate their transition into a new workplace culture.

Enhances communication

Typically, new hires meet their managers and team members during an onboarding period. This gives new employees a chance to establish a rapport with their direct superiors and peers, which can positively influence the quality of their work and experience in the company. Additionally, new employees may be more willing to ask their managers or team members for help or clarification if they're already on excellent terms.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication and Why Is It Important?

Increases productivity

During the first week of onboarding, new hires usually encounter the necessary resources to perform their roles well. For example, a data analyst might find out the company's preference regarding software for analysing customer patterns. This gives the analyst sufficient time to become familiar with the program. The same applies to learning the company's procedures for other matters. Leaders who might supervise the new hires during this period are also able to lend their expertise, which can lead to an increase in competence and productivity.

Related: 12 Strategies for Increased Productivity (With Definition)

Improves employee retention

A high employee retention rate can help a company lower the costs it might incur when looking for replacements. By making new hires feel welcome during the onboarding process, organisations can increase the likelihood of them staying for the long term. To this end, many organisations put extra effort into making their onboarding process an exciting and engaging experience. For example, onboarding programmes might feature some icebreaker and team-building activities and catered meals.

4 key components of the onboarding process

Here are some of the common elements featured in the onboarding processes of many companies:

1. The pre-boarding period

The pre-boarding process occurs between the acceptance of a new employee and their first day. It involves preparing for the employee's arrival. For example, you could designate and prepare their workspace, to ensure it's presentable and conducive to work. If the employee requires a computer to perform their role, it contains all the necessary software and the most current updates. You could also prepare an onboarding checklist during this period. Some organisations put together a bundle featuring helpful items, such as the company handbook and a welcome gift, such as a water bottle with the company logo inscribed.

Before their first day, you could also send all new hires an introductory email containing important information they might require. You could also attach any paperwork they're required to fill out, as this can save them some time on their first day. Here are some other important details you could feature in an introductory email:

  • start date and time

  • location to report to

  • schedule for the first day or week

  • login information for various company accounts

  • parking details

Related: How to Create an Onboarding Checklist (With Definition)

2. Welcome new employees

When new employees arrive for their first day at work, provide them with an overview of the company, including information on its vision, values and culture. You can also give them a department summary so they know what to expect. It can be helpful to brief them on other critical topics, such as remuneration plans and conflict resolution strategies. By doing so, you ensure that they know their rights and the approaches they can take to navigate any potential challenges.

Subsequently, you can take new employees on a workspace tour, showing them key places, such as the staff pantry, canteen and conference rooms. This may help them become more comfortable and settle easily into their new surroundings.

Related: What Is Conflict Resolution? (With Methods and Examples)

3. Introduce them to their colleagues

Next, set aside time to introduce them to their team members and managers. You might alert the new employees' colleagues ahead of time so they can prepare and make themselves available. After introducing them, give them some time to socialise. This can help the new hires to understand the company's culture and integrate into the team more quickly. To achieve easy integration, many organisations often plan or encourage their new employees to have lunch with their team members on the first day.

If the company's policy allows it, you could assign the new employees to their mentors and introduce them. In addition to lending their expertise and guidance, a mentor can also ease a new employee's transition into the workplace. For example, a mentor might share their knowledge of the company's traditions, inside jokes and other casual information. If their role is complex, you might assign them to shadow a more senior member for the first week to learn about the various protocols the company expects them to follow.

Related: What Is Mentoring at Work? Definition, Steps and Benefits

4. Arrange a follow-up

Once they've settled into their new role, you may leave the new hires to their duties. Ask them if they have any questions and inform them of a follow-up meeting. Since you've imparted much information about the company and its procedures, following up with new employees is a useful way to check on how they're transitioning into the new work culture. It's ideal to schedule this follow-up at the end of the week to allow them to clarify any doubts they might have developed after you last met.

A follow-up meeting also enables you to ask how they're handling the workload and what accommodations they might require to perform at their best.

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