How to Effectively Onboard New Employees

Finding and retaining excellent talent is an incredibly undervalued aspect of business management. A critical part of that process is effective onboarding. After all, onboarding gives a company the chance to put its best foot forward and make a case for why employees should invest in the company and be valued as part of the team.  

However, instead of using this opportunity to pitch the value of the company to the employee, many businesses waste it through a never-ending deluge of training materials and policy information, much of which isn’t relevant to the new team member’s day-to-day responsibilities and will soon (or immediately) be forgotten. 

Here’s how to use the onboarding process to make each team member feel valued by your company, creating an engaging, smooth, and successful start for all parties. 

The Power of Clear Communication 

Clarity is key to preventing misunderstandings from sprouting and spreading, according to Ferguson Alliance. All team members must understand the roles and responsibilities of the new employee.  

The new employee needs to feel secure in their position and sure of what they are expected to handle. Meanwhile, other team members need to understand what value this new person will bring to the company, and how they are expected to interact and collaborate with them in the future. 

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Preparation Is Paramount 

A plan and schedule for how to onboard your employees should be in place well before their first day of work. 

To create a guiding framework for each new employee, it’s suggested that your team collaborate on the best ways and pace to introduce them to the company and their role within it. During this development, current team members can also offer insights on what they found helpful during their own onboarding and what could be improved for the future. 

In the end, expectations should be set not only for the new employee but for the current team on how to best support and welcome them during the onboarding process. 

Get to Know Them 

In addition to employees learning about the company and their new teammates, you should get to know them. Many onboarding processes operate like lectures with few engagement opportunities, making new employees feel distant and uninvolved with the organization. To fix this, encourage the new team member to interact throughout the process, sharing their background and asking questions where appropriate. Not only does this help them feel more valued and involved straight away, but it also allows everyone to learn about their new coworker, where they’re coming from, and what they can bring to the team. 

The Speed of Visual Storytelling 

Visual storytelling is an underrated aspect of bringing new employees up to speed. During the onboarding process, pages and pages of text can be shared and presented to the new employee rapidly. That’s a lot of information to take in and very little time to properly process and understand it all. 

However, visual aids (charts, diagrams, screenshots, etc.) and walkthroughs can make things click much quicker and bring team members up to speed at a much faster pace. 

Checking in with New Team Members 

In the same way that it’s important to get to know your new teammate, it’s also important to check in regarding how they’re doing during onboarding.  

Do they have any questions about anything you’ve covered?  

Is the pace of onboarding comfortable with them, or are you going too slow or fast? 

Make sure that they feel comfortable with how onboarding is progressing and show that you value their insight. This demonstrates that they can be an active participant in the process rather than just a passive listener. 

Creating a Welcoming Environment 

Cultivating and maintaining an environment where employees, new and seasoned, feel comfortable is critical for the health and future of your business. Preach and practice values of accessibility and openness, making them feel comfortable to reach out for questions and concerns. According to Ferguson Alliance, this practice helps to reward their curiosity and makes them feel valued, helping them grow into the best employee they can be. 

Beyond the onboarding process, this should extend to weekly or bi-weekly check-ins. This creates a dedicated space for conversations about how things are going, areas for improvement, and questions about anything related to their role or the company as a whole.

Culture Is Key 

The first 30 days of a job are the most important for new employees settling into their place in the company. While much of that will be dedicated to learning and taking over tasks specific to their role, a great deal of it should be getting to know the company and the people it’s comprised of. An employee can’t feel valued on a team without first understanding and buying into the culture and values of the company. 

The Importance of Effective Onboarding 

Actions speak louder than words, so remember to not only speak about the importance of communication, education, and internal support to your employees but to practice it yourself. It should be demonstrated at every level of your organization. Doing so will help create the culture you envision, where everyone is valued, supports one another, and invests in the success of themselves, the team, and the company. 


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