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Hiring is a two-way street. To begin a hiring journey, the candidate must woo the potential future employer. For the candidate to stay on the journey, the employer must woo the new hire. 31% of employees quit their jobs within the first 6 months of being hired; 33% of employees knew whether they would stay with their company long-term after their first week. This is where the onboarding process starts its work.

Studies show the top reasons employees leave so early in their tenure is due to a poor onboarding experience, a lack of clarity surrounding job duties, unrealistic expectations set in the hiring stages and a manager they can’t get along with.

Read more about how to nail your onboarding process with this cohesive guide.

A candidate may not understand your company, its values and its mission until they hit the ground running with your team. Depending on your industry, hiring can take anywhere between a few days to a few months, and the average cost-per-hire is roughly $4,129. How can you ensure that the new hire you spent so long searching for stays? First, we’ll go through some of our favorite onboarding hacks, followed by a quick assessment to help guide you on what you need most to build your custom onboarding package.

Start with these five onboarding tips:

A Welcoming Desk

Having your new hire’s desk ready to go when they arrive may seem like a simple gesture, but it can speak volumes. Imagine walking into a brand new environment, everyone surrounding you is new, your workspace is new and all your assignments are new, but nobody set up a space for you to sit. Feels pretty awkward to be the new guy, doesn’t it? The more unprepared you are for your new hire, the more they’ll feel you hired them on a whim. Having their desk prepared for them also allows them to start working faster, which saves you money. Here are some aspects to keep in mind when preparing your new hire’s desk:

  • Set up as much of their intranet connections as possible. They can change their info at a later time if they prefer, but setting it up before will help them feel like they belong.
  • Have their computer ready to go with any programs they may need already installed.
  • Have a starter kit ready to go full of company swag or items they may need around the office such as a notepad or pens.

When your new hire walks in with a desk ready and a computer fired up for them, it shows you’re prepared and serious about their contributions to the role and the company.

The more unprepared you are for a new hire, the more they'll feel like an "on a whim" hire.

Read more: Nobody Puts Onboarding in a Corner


Career and Personal Development

One of the perks you may have mentioned during your hiring process is that your new hire would have opportunities to grow, develop or advance professionally. You may not be able to offer much in their first week, but what about helping them conquer one of their greatest fears? That’s exactly what Medallia tries to accomplish during their onboarding program.

Getting held back by donating blood or speaking in public? These fears are all on the table during the Medallia onboarding process. They provided a safe and supportive environment for their new hires to overcome something that may have been holding their new employee back for years. They may not offer professional development immediately, but they do offer personal growth and the opportunity to overcome your own fears to supply the building blocks for getting over professional hang ups.

The foundation of our onboarding curriculum is self-reflection: on where a given person is “at” (in career, life, etc.), where they want to go, and how they want to grow. From there, we encourage people to let go of perfect and form working team dynamics with people well outside their usual teams… This may seem like a gross deviation from the skills training that is required with any new position, but it’s not a “feel-good” week of fluff. Instead, it’s designed to challenge our employees’ assumptions and to instill a common language of understanding that forms the glue of our company culture,” said David Galloreese, Chief HR Officer at Wells Fargo.

Tip: Career and personal development can go further than the workplace. Find out what they want to succeed in and how you can help. You may discover a talent of theirs your team can utilize you didn’t know about before.

As one of the top three non-financial motivators, 76% of employees want opportunities for career growth, and 87% of millennials say professional development opportunities are very important. Especially if you used career development as a way to market your job opportunities online, starting off the conversation with your dedication to their growth with you is vital. This shows your new hires you are loyal to their development and have a plan in place to work with them to make it come true.

Have you ever considered personal development for your employees? Here is why you should:

Tip: Career and personal development can go further than the workplace. Find out what they want to succeed in and how you can help. You may discover a talent of theirs your team can utilize you didn’t know about before.


Read more: 5 Surprising Employee Development Statistics You Don't Know


Less Paperwork

The last thing any new hire wants to do is a mountain of paperwork. Instead of giving them an oxygen mask in preparation for their ascent of Mount Papermanjaro, try making the process a little fun.

Valve has created one of the best (and most entertaining) employee handbooks. It was created by their employees due to how bad their onboarding process was. It would take some employees up to 6 months to get fully operational. The best part is that it’s fun to read while still outlining all of the information necessary to thrive in the company. The book begins with calling it “a fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one’s there telling you what to do.”

Are you paperless or pro paper for the onboarding process? Why?

Not every company is going to have the time, energy or know-how to create an employee handbook that’s entertaining. What you can do is:

  • Complete and fill out as much of their new hire paperwork as you can before their first day.
  • Give your new employee an electronic copy of everything they may want to read over or refer back to in the future.
  • Utilize the ability of an electronic signature as much as your new hire feels comfortable with. It will save you money and help further streamline the process.
  • Ditch the paper process and start fresh with a new paperless onboarding system.

Read more: Ensure a seamless first day with paperless onboarding

 

There are some serious time saving perks to onboarding for both the employee and the HR team. Can you believe companies used to print and mail new hire paperwork to new hires in hopes they would sign and bring all their documents to the office on their first day? Not only is this wasteful, it runs the risk of lost documents, which would then require the employee to complete the same form twice, wasting more time.

Paperless onboarding includes “smart forms” which also saves the new hire from the hassle of filling out the same information on several forms. Once information is entered the first time, it’s duplicated for them to automatically fill in their details on all required documents.

Meaningful/Impactful work

One of the most difficult things for a new hire to understand is the impact of their daily work. They will most likely be excited about their new work environment, new coworkers and probably their new salary, but what about the actual job? 64% of millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.

How can you make your new hire more excited about their job? Show them the big picture. What your company does is exciting, and they should know that. Your new hire may not understand how their specific work impacts your company's greater influence. They’re a part of your team, knowing how their work affects others on their team can change their entire perspective.

Tip: Show them what each one of their team members does and how their work will impact them. Then show them how their team works together with other teams to produce your final product.


Read more: The Easiest, Most Impactful Thing You’ll Do All Day


If you have the resources and bandwidth, consider making a “hype” onboarding video for your new hires. The video can introduce key players of the team, clients, company history and your company’s goals, missions and past biggest successes. This way your new hires have a quick 3-minute engaging video to help familiarize them with their teammates, and get an idea of what your company is all about!

Team-Building Activity

One of the keys to getting a new hire started is getting them familiarized with their team. Building work relationships as fast as possible will help build company culture and retain your new hire as well as your current employees.

51% of respondents in a Gallup survey reported they work with passion and feel a profound connection to the company when they have a best friend at work, compared with only 10% of those who don’t have their best friend working with them.

Having friends at work: Distracting or beneficial? Read about it:

Building a great team starts at the beginning of each hire’s experience. Create the best experiences with these team building activities:

  • Take your new hire and your team out for lunch or dinner after work.
  • Have a trivia game where your team gets to know your new hire.
  • Take a team walk to show your new hire around the area you work in.

Read more: 5 Team Building Exercises and How You Can Learn From Them


Google found a nontraditional way to connect their teams, through sensitivity.

“Matt Sakaguchi, a mid-level manager at Google, was keen to put Project Aristotle’s findings into practice. He took his team off-site to open up about his cancer diagnosis. Although initially silent, his colleagues then began sharing their own personal stories. At the heart of Sakaguchi’s strategy, and Google’s findings, is the concept of ‘psychological safety’ - a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking,” said Merily Leis, Marketing Lead at Scoro.

This particular exercise might not be for your team, but gather your management crew and brainstorm unique ways for each manager to take their teams or departments out on team building exercises when new team members are hired; sort of like a welcome exercise to introduce the new members to the family.

Look Inward: Where Does Your Onboarding Stand?

There are so many different ways you can welcome your new hires, but only a few of those tactics are right for your company. Take a look inward at what you currently do to welcome new employees and think of where you can make improvements, big or small. You might not be ready for paperless onboarding this year, but are you looking to move in that direction? Whatever your budget or work limits may be, you have options!

Take a look at this Onboarding Buyer’s Guide by ClearCompany to take a deeper look at your potential timeline for a life changing onboarding experience. Ready to jump right in with a demo? Sign up for your free demo to start driving your talent success.

Winning over a new hire with an onboarding process can seem unnecessary, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A standard onboarding process creates 54% greater new hire productivity. Get your new hire up and running as fast as possible with the right onboarding program for your company. Save time and money with benefits in engagement, retention and productivity. Start your one-on-one demo today and keep your new hires on a journey with your company.

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Sara Pollock
Sara Pollock
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.

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