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Onboarding is the procedure of integrating a new employee into a company. A strategic and consistent onboarding process is key to helping new hires integrate into your business.
Particularly in graduate recruitment, when candidates are likely to have limited experience in full-time employment, a clear onboarding plan or employee orientation checklist essential to help them settle in, integrate with your team, work effectively, and ultimately stay at your company.
But effective employee onboarding doesn’t just involve initial training and introductions – and it isn’t just something to tick off on a list of to-do’s. The onboarding process should begin when a candidate accepts their offer, and continue for at least their first year, helping to nurture and develop graduates to become engaged, motivated and productive employees.
Nowadays, virtual onboarding is more popular than ever. With many offices working from home and using technology to virtually communicate when working remotely, it is important to know how to onboard employees and keep the remote onboarding process proactive, engaging and productive as possible.
This will give your new employee the opportunity to talk about how they are finding the onboarding process. Having a one-to-one virtual meeting will give the employee the time to explain if there is anything they want to address and be a great opportunity for you to get feedback for the virtual process for onboarding new employees.
For fully remote workers and employee onboarding, creating an online community or virtual hub is a great way to boost morale in your company, help each other out and keep in contact during isolation.
This is great from a business perspective to have a dedicated space to share ideas and store information virtually, but it is also a good idea from a personal perspective.
Engage your new team members with unique onboarding ideas such as introducing them to the office with a fun competition, end of the week quiz (such as ‘Guess the baby photo’) and video calls.
Make the most of the virtual tools for remote onboarding which can be a great help to your virtual onboarding. Use remote training tools such as scheduling software, internal communications platforms and videoconferencing to ensure that all the tasks being completed by your new starter are clear and useful.
The best onboarding processes are the ones which are continuous and supportive throughout the entire employee journey. This is especially important for remote employees, because if they do not feel as though the virtual training was sufficient enough for them to perform the role, then they may not know who to contact about it, or might unknowingly be making mistakes.
A top tip for virtual onboarding is to ensure that you regularly checking in with your remote employee and consistently being a good manager to ensure their happiness and success from home.
See our in depth sample new employee onboarding checklist below for the most effective onboarding strategy:
Send out offer letters, contracts and welcome packs. Keep your new hires in the loop about how often they can expect to hear from you in the time before they start, and include them in company-wide emails – a great way to make them feel involved before they’ve even started.
During the week leading up to their start date, set up their email address and ensure that all technology is in good working order.
Ensure their workplace is how you would want to find your own - clean and tidy, with business cards if they are going out to clients straight away, and maybe some company swag (stationery always goes down well!)
Then, contact the candidate via phone or email, make sure they know what they need to bring (passport, bank details etc), and who to ask for on arrival. Especially with graduates who have little previous experience, their first day can be hugely daunting – so taking steps to ensure they feel comfortable and welcomed at your company is an important part of the process.
For more information on this, check out our guest blog 'graduate hires - what do they need from you' with top advice from Hannah Ovenden, Senior Marketing Executive at Hireserve.
On their first day, introduce them to the team and take them on a tour of the office / building / surrounding area (showing them some of your favourite places!)
Then, take 10-15 minutes to sit, have a tea or coffee, and explain what will be happening on their first day, and what they can expect from their first week.
Throughout the day, encourage them to ask as many questions as possible. Finally, we think it’s a nice touch to take them out for lunch or for a post-work drink - showing your graduate hires how much you value them from the start.
In their first week, create a clear and structured agenda for your new hire. If they are training, sitting in meetings, or working on projects, tell them when, where, and what they should bring to each one.
Then, encourage them to sit down with their line manager or supervisor to discuss their goals, ambitions and where they see the role developing. Finally, why not kick-off their first week by getting them to work on a meaningful task with other team members? This will give them great insight into what the role is going to involve.
Their first month is integral to the success of your new hire – so initiatives like matching them up with a mentor to confide in can be hugely valuable. Then, at the end of the month, organise a check-in to ensure that they’re enjoying their new role.
The check-in doesn’t need to be with an HR team – and can be conducted by a line manager, a team lead, or a mentor.
Finally, ask them to evaluate their onboarding experience – what was useful, and what might need more clarification or attention. Their evaluation will help you improve your process for future hires, as well as help improve employee morale in the workplace, as individuals like to have their voice heard!
The graduate recruitment process isn’t over once you’ve completed the initial onboarding program (up to their first month). More than 22% of new starters leave a firm within the first 45 days of employment due to a poor onboarding process.
Moving forward, you can retain your new hires by providing ongoing support, regular catch-ups, opportunities for growth and development, rewards and salary reviews, mentoring schemes and company-wide perks.
From the moment a candidate accepts their offer, to your new hire's first day, week, month and year, the onboarding process is a vital part of graduate recruitment - the key to ensuring that they integrate in to your business seamlessly and effectively.