Your relationship with a new employee starts the moment they’ve signed their contract. Every interaction between that person accepting the job and their first day creates an impression.

Their first weeks in the role are critical too: the quicker new hires get to grips with your essential processes, the sooner they can add real value.

Earlier this year, we wrote a blog post on why the first 90 days can make-or-break staff retention. A good onboarding process makes sure new relationships begin on the right foot. To help you get off to a flying start, here are 7 tips for creating a smooth onboarding process:

1. Tell your colleagues who’s joining the team

Fresh talent can bring new energy and motivation to existing employees. So when you’ve hired someone, let your whole workforce know who will be joining the company, what their role will be, plus their contracted hours and start date.

In addition to helping your newest recruit receive a warm welcome, it’ll give key members of staff the ‘heads up’ that they’ll soon be issued with onboarding tasks. It’s not just HR and direct line managers that need to settle in new starters; everyone from IT and office managers to health & safety delegates may need to play a role.

2. Get HR documents in order

With every new hire comes paperwork and due diligence. Getting this completed early ticks your boxes and shows new recruits that your company is well organised.

Create a list of HR documentation that every new recruit needs to provide. This checklist may include signed contracts, tax documents and medical/emergency contact forms, along with certifications if they have a specialist skill or qualification.

To reduce the burden of onboarding admin, many firms use an online HR management tool to collate and store information. HR software allows you to create a checklist template that you can roll out for each new starter, so you never forget to request an important file.

Storing HR documents online also allows you (or an approved colleague) to access information when needed at a later date, via your new hire’s employee record.

3. Set up equipment, access codes and passwords

There’s nothing worse than turning up on your first day to find that nothing works. So it pays to make sure your recruits have their devices and passwords set up in advance.

The list of equipment and programmes your new hire needs access to may include:

  • Key fobs/cards to enter and leave the building
  • Desktop or laptop computer – plus connection to printers
  • Mobile phone
  • Email address
  • Video/conference call software
  • Internal messaging software
  • Productivity/task management tools
  • Staff shift planner
  • Access to relevant folders on the company server

You may wish to create an IT onboarding checklist, so you don’t need to brief colleagues every time someone new joins the company. If you’ve invested in an online system for managing HR tasks, you can create checklists for other departments through this software.

4. Create a first day/week/month checklist

On the subject of lists, there are many milestones that your new recruits will need to pass in their first weeks and months with your company.

One way to ensure new talent meets your expectations is to create a first day, first week and first month induction plan. Consider what your new starter should be able to achieve in those time frames and what support they will need from you to meet those goals. Then create day, week and month-long onboarding programmes that help you to achieve them.

Your day one plan may be as simple as your new hire attending a company overview with your CEO, working through a set of guided instructions on using key systems, and having an essential tasks meeting with their line manager. Strategic meetings and jobs can be saved for later in the introduction process.

All your plans can be templated and saved centrally if you have HR software.

5. Send a welcome email to your new recruit

Starting a new job is nerve wracking, so think about what you can do to help people settle in quickly. Emailing out simple information such as a reminder of start/finish times, directions to the right building and a copy of the dress code can make people feel more at home.

If you’ve created an induction schedule for someone’s first week, it’s a good idea to share it. This will set expectations and give your new recruit an opportunity to familiarise themselves with their initial timetable and who they’ll be meeting.

6. Keep an eye on completed sessions

The best onboarding programme in the world will only work if it actually takes place! More often than not, valuable introductions get postponed because the person leading the session is too busy. Many of them never get rescheduled.

If you’re running your induction schedule through HR software, you’ll be able to track whether tasks get completed on time. Assign each job or meeting to somebody within your business and ask them to check-off the item once it’s been completed. This system works well for both pre-onboarding tasks like setting up IT equipment, and for induction sessions once your new starter has joined the company.

7. Ask new employees for honest feedback

Being well organised will help your new employees to get up to speed quickly and hit the ground running. But even an action-packed induction schedule can be missing important information.

Make sure you review the onboarding process with every new starter to check if any critical information has been missed. Honest feedback will help you to refine your programme.

Sitting down with new recruits will also help you to gauge their feelings and identify areas they would like further support. By doing this, you can start creating personal development programmes that empower your newest employees to enhance their skills and thrive in their role.

Staff development programmes can involve a huge volume of work if you’re running them manually. However, if you’re using HR software, they become much easier to manage. All data can be captured centrally through an online employee record, plus you can diarise regular meetings and assign tasks to make sure your discussions become meaningful actions.

A well-run induction programme will create a good first impression. However, it’s continuing that level of organisation into your employee relationships that will secure their loyalty long-term.

WhosOffice is a shift planning platform that incorporates HR management and document storage software. Book your free WhosOffice trial to start building your onboarding programmes online.


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