10 Best Practices for Successful New-Hire Onboarding

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Author’s Note: The following blog post offers a glimpse into viperks’ recently-published eBook entitled, "You Wouldn’t Believe How Awesome My First Day of Work Was at…" Creating the essential onboarding playbook for how companies with strong culture train new employees, this eBook was published in early December.

Here’s to new beginnings.

Like Opening Day of baseball season, optimism and anticipation rule the (first) day for many members of the workforce commencing new employment. Yet in order to truly capitalize on this first-day adrenaline, companies must implement new-hire onboarding strategies that cultivate and prepare rookies for the big leagues.

With proper onboarding of new hires, your company can bolster employee productivity and retention – feats that will ultimately improve your bottom line. Here are 10 best practices for successful new-hire onboarding:

1. Preparation for new-hire onboarding should begin as soon as an employee signs an offer letter, if not sooner.
Once hiring comes to fruition, HR professionals should kick into overdrive, finalizing training materials and collaborating with various departments to ensure new-hire logistical matters are handled. In some cases, however, the true seeds of HR prep work were planted long ago. Nowadays top companies mold future employees in advance through initiatives ranging from student internships to orientation days.

2. Having a suitable training space is crucial to creating a welcoming learning environment.
Companies go to great lengths to ensure new-hire training is conducted in the optimal location. The training area utilized for first-day onboarding should be inviting (think good lighting and comfortable chairs), should be technologically-equipped for electronic presentations and should be easily accessible to other amenities your new hires will need, such as restrooms and the cafeteria.

3. Always onboard new employees on Mondays.
It’s best to start at the beginning. Starting on Mondays fosters a consistent process, increases productivity and makes it easier to ensure availability of all contributing constituents – HR staff, IT staff, department heads, senior leadership, employee mentors, etc.

4. Lead off with an ice-breaking exercise to calm your new employees’ nerves and make them feel more comfortable.
It’s inevitable for stress to creep in as your group begins its new challenge. You can combat this by opening your onboarding process with an activity that calms your new hires, introduces them to fellow new employees sharing the room and even induces a laugh or two.

5. First impressions are everything.
It’s cliche but true – making a strong first impression on your new hires can prove meaningful. It’s why leading companies are willing to spend more than $5,000 per employee to onboard successfully. When your new hires go home after their first day at work, what do you want them to tell their spouse about the experience?

6. Tackle the nitty-gritty HR logistical details first.
Provided it’s not possible to finalize paperwork prior to a new employee’s arrival for day-one onboarding, now is the time to knock this out. As tedious as this paperwork can be, it’s important. Plus, your new employees will appreciate being added to payroll.

7. Align start dates so that groups of new hires experience their first day together.
It’s generally advisable to delay a new hire’s start date when necessary to accommodate a group setting. The strategy of group onboarding provides a host of benefits – it streamlines your training procedures, cuts onboarding costs, fosters camaraderie among new hires and reduces over-reliance on employees who assist HR.

8. Incorporate other employees into the onboarding experience.
Extend your onboarding process beyond HR, with employees from other departments playing an integral role. Create a cyclical approach whereby new employees receive guidance and mentoring from seasoned employees during their first day and week, then these new employees mature and eventually bestow the same assistance upon future new hires.

9. Take measures to prevent your new hires from feeling completely overwhelmed.
HR professionals must present a considerable amount of information to new employees during their first day and week. But this does not mean new employees should feel completely overwhelmed. Back up your onboarding materials electronically, offering new hires online resources that eliminate the need for memorization. Most first-day items simply don’t need to be committed to memory right away.

10. Develop your own onboarding materials rather than outsourcing this task.
By crafting your own onboarding materials, you’ll ensure you maintain control of the process. If your company’s fast-paced environment necessitates frequent updating of your theme and message, you won’t be at the mercy of a third-party vendor to make hasty changes prior to your next new-hire start date. Research existing onboarding materials within your industry…then let your creativity and originality shine!

Ten more best practices for successful new-hire onboarding await, but you’ll have to read on and discover them within our eBook:

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At viperks, we employ best practices on a daily basis. We offer unique rewards programs aimed at improving employee engagement for the betterment of your company’s bottom line.

Want to learn more about how you can help your employees be happier and more productive? We're hear to talk.

Topics: onboarding

blog author

Scott Moss

Scott is a business development professional with over 20 years of veteran experience dealing with large, complex sales of intangible services with extended sales cycles. He has domain expertise in rewards/recognition programs for Fortune 1000 organizations along with intimate knowledge of ecommerce best practices, consumer & B2B marketing, and behavioral economics. Scott is a 1991 graduate of Syracuse University.