Employee Onboarding Best Practices

Welcome New Employees - Panopto Video PlatformYou spend a lot of time trying to find the right employees for your company. From trying to find the right talent, to evaluating their skill sets and cultural fit, hiring new employees can be a time consuming and costly undertaking.

According to research by the Center for American Progress, recruiting and training a single employee costs:

  • 16% of the employee’s annual salary for positions earning less than $30,000 per year
  • 20% of the annual salary for positions earning between $30,000 and $50,000 per year, and
  • Up to 213% of annual salary for executive positions

So, what can companies do to protect the investments they’ve made in finding the best talent?

The answer to make sure you set them up for success through effective employee onboarding. Studies indicate that focused, properly resourced new employee onboarding processes can help prevent early turnover for 1 in 4 new hires.

Here are a few key things that your organization can do to make sure that your new recruits are engaged and productive from the moment they walk through the door.

Onboarding Starts Before the First Day

For many new employees, the first few hours at a new office means completing paperwork — admittedly, not a very exciting task. Consider minimizing this downtime by sending documentation to new hires to complete prior to the first day. Additionally, electronic signature technology such as DocuSign can help streamline the process of submitting administrative paperwork. Since this process can be new for some people, we recommend creating short screen capture videos that offer step-by-step instructions and include a link to the recordings with your onboarding documents.

Online retailer Warby Parker takes the pre-first day onboarding process to the next level by sending their new employees a digital company handbook and welcome packet prior to their start date. We suggest taking this process one step further by having your executives create quick videos to welcome new hires to the company and include the links to the videos with your virtual welcome packet. It’s a great way to get employees excited for their first day and get them acquainted with their leaders.

Make the First Day Awesome

Even the most seasoned professionals get jitters on the first day, so make every effort to ensure your new employee feels comfortable. Schedule a member of your staff to greet your new hire upon arrival and show him or her around the office. Be sure to point out where important office “landmarks” such as the lunch room, washrooms, water fountains, and mailboxes are.

Don’t underestimate the power of little welcoming touches that show your new hire that you’re glad they’re there. If you know that your new hire likes a particular candy bar, leave one on his or her desk with a little welcome note. Or create a welcome box with company-branded items such as t-shirts, mugs, and notebooks. At Birchbox, desks for new employees are outfitted with a candy bowl and a handmade flag that reads, “I’m new. Come say hi!”

The first day at the office can be a whirlwind of new places that can be hard to remember right away. We recommend using your smartphone, tablet, or even Google Glass to record a welcome video that includes a virtual office tour so your new hire can be reminded where the photocopiers are without having to ask.

Introduce Your New Hire to the Rest of the Company

For many companies, introductions to the rest of the office occur during workstation visits on the new hire’s initial office tour. This approach is inefficient for two reasons. First, it doesn’t allow your new hire much time to remember details about a person he or she has just met before continuing on to meet the next new colleague. Second, it interrupts the workflow of existing employees who must drop whatever they’re doing to chat.

Employee Onboarding Best Practices - Introductory Video - PanoptoA better way to get your new hire better acquainted with their new coworkers (and vice versa) is through the use of employee introductory videos. Here at Panopto, all new hires create short videos that introduce themselves to the company using their laptop or smartphone. The videos are then uploaded to our internal video library (otherwise known as our “Corporate YouTube”), which serves as a searchable directory of coworkers that the entire company can access.

Weekly staff meetings also provide a great opportunity to make introductions. Senior executives at Fab, an ecommerce site for furniture and home design, use time during their weekly all-company meeting to introduce any new employees who started the previous week. During the meeting, the new employee answers one question posed by the rest of the employees.

Build Foundations for Working Relationships

The employee onboarding process shouldn’t end on the first day. The hiring manager and new employee should meet during the first week to discuss decision-making processes and set expectations about how work is done. Additionally, if your new hire is in a management role, he or she should set meetings with his or her direct reports, both as a team as well as on an individual basis, to develop an understanding of team dynamics and individual working style. It is critical that these details are communicated clearly and understood at the beginning of the working relationship so that all parties begin with similar goals in mind.
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What are your company’s best onboarding practices? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Enhance Your Employee Onboarding With Video
Download our complimentary white paper, Make Every First Day a Great One, to learn 15 ways your company can use video in employee onboarding to decrease costs and increase engagement.

If you’re ready to try video onboarding for yourself, contact our team for a free 30-day trial.

Published: January 05, 2015