Onboarding is Urgent

Set the tone for a great employee experience

Each year, onboarding surges towards the top of the strategic priorities list for businesses. And each year, it goes unattended as other ‘urgent’ items move ahead of the ‘important’ ones. It’s our nature, and the daily reality of business to focus on the immediate pressing needs. The problem, though, is that companies are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the employee experience but dropping the ball post-hire. Onboarding sets the tone for the broader employee experience, and right now, that tone sucks.

Which isn’t a surprise. Traditional onboarding pales in comparison to the sophisticated and elegant approach companies have embraced for employer branding, recruitment marketing, applicant tracking, and assessments. They’ve built engaging, compelling stories designed to reach, attract, and hire the best talent possible – but that’s where it ends.

The reality is that while it’s a top priority, the lack of focus and effort to modernize onboarding undermines the focus and effort invested to attract top talent in the first place. In most cases, onboarding is completely divorced from the amazing experience in the wooing and recruiting stages. Unfortunately, that means that most hires see the business go from Don Juan smooth to Steve Urkle confused in 10 seconds flat.

Modern onboarding fills the gaping chasm between employee engagement and the standard, highly- transactional forms process. It’s an experience that starts right after ‘Yes!’ and provides a steady stream of relevant, meaningful communication. It introduces them to the team, tells them what to expect, shows them where to go, what to wear, and compiles the other useful information while streamlining the HR stuff. It’s moving from a disjointed, transactional experience to one that makes sense for everyone.

Now, you may be thinking about all of the heavy lifting over the past few years to implement a new ATS or recruitment marketing platform. This isn’t that. Embracing modern onboarding doesn’t have to be painful, for either employees or HR. It’s not that difficult. There are tools that can help streamline the whole thing, but there are also a few things you can do NOW to start down the road to Onboarding Paradise:

Reinforce the decision to say Yes!

  • Schedule time for the hiring manager to reach out
  • Encourage teammates to connect via social or send a note letting the new employee know how excited they are
  • Give them some idea of what to expect on Day 1, where to go and what to wear

Get your ducks in a row

  • Make sure IT, facilities and security know when the new employee will start so they have a desk with a laptop already to go
  • Have business cards sitting on their desk
  • Schedule a team lunch for Day 1
  • Task the hiring manager with a Week 1 agenda so the employee knows what to look forward to

Get the administrative stuff out of the way before Day 1 so employee can focus on what they were hired for

  • Tax (w-4) and identification (I-9) forms are super easy and can be done in minutes, but the IT policy, benefits, employee handbook, and all of the other documents that require some amount of time to complete can all be tackled pre-Day 1.
  • Leverage an electronic signature tool to ensure compliance adherence
  • It’s a huge pain (and not to mention environmental faux pas) to print out, sign, scan and email documents. There are some great tools that make it easy for the employee to complete all of the forms, while also creating a communication bridge between offer letter and start date.

Automation & Efficiency