With your new onboarding process in place, and a heap of new hires ready to walk through the door, it’s time to put your plan into action. But implementing your process will require just as much care and attention to detail as it took to design it. Remember, 88 percent of businesses admit they don’t onboard well, and that’s likely because of the many steps involved along the way.

Fortunately, if you follow these onboarding best practices, you’ll be sure to get your new program off to a good start.

prepare a warm, personal welcome

Employee onboarding provides the opportunity to make a great first impression. The first person your new hire meets should be central to the onboarding process. This may be an experienced HR staff member, the director of HR, the hiring manager or another relevant stakeholder. Never underestimate the value of a warm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.

provide necessary documents and information

There is undoubtedly paperwork and other information that must be completed by the new employee. Having the necessary new-hire paperwork — all in one place — adds an orderly tone to this process. Furthermore, providing information about the organization’s values and history can help make a new hire feel connected right from the beginning.

Relevant information may include:

CheckList_Yellow a welcome guide
CheckList_Yellow HR policies or employee handbook
CheckList_Yellow company-wide policies and procedures
CheckList_Yellow information about the organization’s values, mission and culture
CheckList_Yellow a company directory and a team organizational chart
CheckList_Yellow tax forms
CheckList_Yellow a benefits guide
CheckList_Yellow key departmental processes
CheckList_Yellow projects and work expectations
CheckList_Yellow a glossary of company terms and acronyms
CheckList_Yellow a detailed schedule of the first day

try to limit first-day administrative tasks

While completing necessary forms and information is a key part of the hiring process, most new hires would rather not spend their first day solely engaged in this task. If possible, provide as much information and documentation online before the first day of employee onboarding. This will leave more time for workplace socialization, skills learning, team bonding and more. If it’s not possible to address administrative tasks in advance, take a few days to complete the process.

establish the lines of communication

Every employee should know whom to talk to, whether regarding a business-related question or otherwise.

set expectations about performance

Managers or direct supervisors should also communicate the cadence for reviewing the employee’s progress so your new hire knows when to expect feedback. This can be especially critical during the first 90 days of the employee onboarding process.

arrange workplace resources

An onboarding checklist of elements to address may include:

CheckList_Yellow providing tools or equipment that will be used on the job, including software
CheckList_Yellow setting up email accounts and communication portals
CheckList_Yellow company-wide policies and procedures
CheckList_Yellow supplying reading materials or anything that can help bring the new hire up to speed with current company projects

Include phone numbers for internal resources like the help desk, IT or HR, so the new hire feels empowered to try to fix any issues immediately.

make the onboarding process relevant to the position

While a good portion of onboarding is dedicated to educating the new employee about company-wide operations, culture, goals and mission, time should also be devoted to job-specific learning. These elements may include:

CheckList_Yellow a tour of the relevant department
CheckList_Yellow meetings with immediate supervisors
CheckList_Yellow a detailed description of job responsibilities and duties
CheckList_Yellow information about departmental processes and objectives

introduce the new hire to a mentor or peer guide

This can assist the new employee with skills learning and building a company social network during the new-hire orientation phase — which are both key to accomplishing better productivity and loyalty. Shadowing someone else in the role, or an employee with similar responsibilities, can be a great way to quickly learn best practices. Additionally, arranging an activity or lunch with a group of coworkers can be a great way for a new hire to socialize and begin to build a professional network within the organization.

prepare the new hire’s workspace

Have all necessary materials, supplies, equipment and furniture in place to create a welcoming environment. Request access to tools or software that may be used.

request feedback on the current onboarding process

Include everyone involved in the onboarding process: your new hire, immediate managers and supervisors, HR staff, senior leadership and coworkers. The collected information can be an invaluable source of actionable data for improving future onboarding efforts.

Careful execution of employee onboarding also involves regular monitoring. Depending on the duration of the process, plan to check in consistently with the new employee and with managers. These check-ins can take the form of a simple phone call or email at the end of each day, or they can be planned meetings that are part of the onboarding schedule.

key takeaways

If you made it this far, and followed all the steps outlined here, then you should be well on your way to improving the onboarding process for your new employees.

Smart onboarding helps businesses move forward and fosters deep personal connections in the workplace. It strengthens an organization’s focus on continuously developing its talent, which is something that prospective and current employees value — and expect — from their employers.

To get access to all these onboarding insights in one place, download your copy of the full series here.