Best Onboarding Practices to Follow in 2019

The centerpiece of any company is the people. Their motivation and dedication towards work are the driving force behind the company’s growth and development.

There are hundreds of HR practices that help companies retain employees and increase their loyalty and engagement. But, despite the company’s size, industry, or the number of employees, it always starts with one thing: onboarding.

Many companies overlook the onboarding process, thinking that it’s something that can be skipped. However, onboarding plays a vital role in the employee’s perception of the company and can have a big impact on the further decision about further work. At SoftTeco, we came up with the best onboarding practices that, in our opinion, will be relevant for any company that wishes to create a healthy working environment.

The ultimate benefits of a well-organized onboarding process

Onboarding brings numerous benefits both to the employee and the organization. These benefits, in turn, eventually result in a profit for the company:

  • Increased retention rate
  • Increased loyalty towards the company,
  • Increased motivation,
  • Establishment of good relationships with colleagues.

All this eventually leads to the company’s growth and enhancement as well as to better results and increased efficiency. But for that, a company needs to properly organize the onboarding process. Below you will see the best onboarding practices that are recommended for every company to adopt.

Start onboarding during the negotiation phase

Professional HR specialists do not spam everyone with a copypaste job offer. Instead, they personalize the offer and want to involve the candidate with the company’s culture.

This is why it is important to begin onboarding during the negotiation and recruitment phases. You want the candidate to feel at ease when coming to work so you are responsible for that. Provide all the necessary information about the company, encourage them to ask questions, and give honest replies. But remember: you are not trying to sell a company here. Instead, you are giving a realistic preview of the (hopefully) future workplace to a candidate. This will help the candidate faster adapt to the work environment and mix well with the colleagues.

Get ready in advance

This point relates to the one that we discussed above: you need to get ready in advance to make the onboarding a wholesome experience.

For that, make sure to:

  • Notify everyone about the newcomer and especially the manager 
  • Prepare all the necessary documents
  • Prepare the workplace
  • Schedule the meetings (if necessary)
  • Think about the introduction of a newcomer

Your primary goal here is to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for the new employee and help them feel at ease.

Focus instead of forcing

Every company has its culture and wants to promote it among the employees.

While there is nothing wrong with that, the onboarding process demands a slightly different approach which is: focus on the newcomers and their strengths instead of promoting a corporate culture straight away.

Let the new employee get accustomed to the company and showcase own strong sides and skills. As well, do not expect the candidate to love your company from the start – after all, they need a bit of time to assess it and see whether it matches their expectations and professional interests. 

Thus, during the onboarding process, help the new employees to maximally unlock their potential and get assigned to the tasks where they will bring the most benefit. Only after the adaptation period is over, you can gradually start involving the person with your internal PR strategy.

Build an internal PR strategy

Internal PR is all about promoting your company’s brand and values among the employees. It is important to remember that internal PR is not something to be forced: you need to really involve the people with the company’s culture and offer them something valuable in return.

Onboarding is a perfect starting point to build your PR campaign. While the person is new, it often happens that they share their ideas and thoughts more eagerly than well-seasoned employees. Give them full freedom in expressing themselves and, if some of the ideas are actionable, implement them and thank the person for the contribution. 

The offering of incentives is another common internal PR practice for many companies. By incentives we mean small gifts or tokens of appreciation. Companies usually give them to employees on their first day, 1-year anniversary with the company and similar events. Such incentives significantly boost the employees’ satisfaction and loyalty and are overall a nice gesture.

Focus on communication

Communication is the key to success and this is true for all aspects of our lives.

In business, efficient communication processes help prevent an array of problems: misunderstanding of project requirements or tasks, missed deadlines, conflicts with the clients, etc. As for onboarding, well-organized communication contributes to easier adaptation and eliminates many questions from the employee’s side.

Here are a few ideas of how you can optimize your processes:

  • Make the communication transparent: show the newcomer that they can always receive help and support and approach their colleagues about any question or issue
  • Always give feedback: conduct a meeting after the trial shift and discuss the employee’s performance
  • Encourage asking questions and always give honest answers: show that your company supports that.

Once an employee sees that your company has robust communication processes, they will gain more confidence in work and will faster adapt to the company’s culture and code of conduct.

A comment from SoftTeco Head of HR, Olga Yaroshevich

SoftTeco is based on two things: trust and responsibility that come from both the employer and the employees. We want to develop a sense of mutual trust among the new employees and since their first day, we do everything possible to show them that they can rely on the company in every way. We also expect the same attitude in return and are incredibly glad to receive it.

One of the ways that helped SoftTeco grow and strengthen its processes is a constant feedback from employees. Because every team member is approachable and ready for communication, employees are more willing to share their thoughts and ideas, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the company’s development.

Being a company with over 180 people, we understand that it is impossible to cater for everyone’s interests. But all of these 180 people are bright individuals with own interests and mindsets – and SoftTeco offers a variety of opportunities to help people grow their talents not only in the professional sphere.

Summary

Onboarding is the first step in leading the employee towards becoming a loyal company ambassador. If well-organized, onboarding can greatly improve your company’s culture, increase the loyalty of employees and their motivation, and help you build long-lasting relationships with the people in the company.