Onboarding new employees is just as important as the interview, and often just as tough. It’s one of the eight steps individuals take during their employee journey.
What is an employee journey?
An employee journey includes everything an employee learns, does, sees, and feels from the moment someone looks at your careers page to the moment they leave your company. Think of the employee journey as a framework that can be used to understand the sum of all the employee’s experiences during their time with the company.
The employee journey is also used by Human Resources to understand and enhance the employee experience. Human Resources can track data collected from employees, managers and other key stakeholders inside the company and analyze it to help see trends that impact company successes and failures.
The moments and milestones (big and small) that employees go through contribute to their employee experience. They also present opportunities to tune in to your employees’ needs, to find ways to be more equitable and inclusive, and to close the gaps that exist for employees across all departments.
The 8 steps of the employee journey
- Sourcing and recruiting
Think of this stage in the employee journey like lead generation in the customer’s journey.
- Hiring & Onboarding
Start engaging new hires right from the time they accept and offer all the way through their entire onboarding process.
A software platform can help accelerate the time to productivity by bringing together a space for welcoming new employees, accessing essential information, and even providing a platform for asking questions in between meetings.
- Ongoing learning and development
Continually expanding an employee’s knowledge and skills is an integral part of their employee journey.
- Ongoing engagement, communication, and community involvement
Remember: informed and connected employees are engaged employees. Make it easy to access business-critical information and feel in the loop.
- Rewards and recognition
Employee recognition + rewards = employee loyalty + engagement. There are many solutions for nominating and showcasing people’s achievements which help you manage every aspect of your employee recognition program.
- Performance planning, feedback, and review
Include detailed information about when and how people will receive feedback on their performance. This helps to reduce confusion and builds trust between the employee and the company.
- Mapping the journey to advancement
Employees need to understand the KPIs and benchmarks that will determine when they move up the ladder during their journey. This clarity helps them stay motivated and engaged over the long term, not just the short term.
- Retirement, termination, or resignation
The end of the employee journey is different for every employee. Each individual’s employee journey map will highlight the different resources required to support them through their exit from the company.
Why onboarding is so important
The onboarding process sets the stage for the rest of the employee’s time with the company. It’s very important to get it right to set the entire team up for success. With so many companies experiencing such high turnover rates, it’s more crucial than ever to connect with your employee right off the bat.
That’s one reason why monitoring the employee experience in real-time during every step of their journey is essential to establishing a positive workplace culture.
It’s safe to say onboarding is a major component of employee engagement and retention. Onboarding impacts human resource metrics like productivity, longevity, finances, and culture. To earn employee loyalty and commitment, focusing on a new employee’s onboarding process and developing a strong connection is vital.
The financial and productivity impact of good and bad onboarding is significant. Research from the Conference Board of Canada shows that acquiring new talent can range anywhere from $3,300 to $43,000 per employee. Time to hire can also take anywhere from 4 weeks to 17 weeks (sometimes longer), resulting in a significant loss of productive time for the company to have vacant positions.
When does onboarding begin?
Onboarding employees begins when you make an offer of employment to them. Clear and swift communication sets expectations and the tone for your interactions. It also begins building the basis of the rules of etiquette in your workplace.
Once you make an offer of employment, send them a welcome email. Try encouraging your new employee to explore your Human Resource Information System (HRIS) before their first day. This way, they can become more acquainted with your organization and the system.
Onboarding Welcome Email
Stuck on what to say in a new employee’s onboarding email? I’ve got a template you can use below (be sure to personalize it!):
Welcome [insert the new hire’s name] to [insert the company’s name]!
We’re so excited for you to join our company and meet everyone on the team. Your first day will be [insert start date]. Please arrive at [insert time and time zone if applicable] so we can help get you acquainted.
You’ve got mail! We’ve sent over your account information for our online human resources software. With this, you can begin creating your employee profile and fill out any required documents before your first day.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re more than happy to answer them.
Again, congratulations! We’re thrilled to have you join our team and look forward to working with you soon.
[insert organization’s name]
Immerse them in your culture right away
Demonstrate the importance of your company’s culture with new employee questionnaires within your employee experience platform or your Human Resource Information System! Have them fill out questions that will guarantee a laugh or that will help to establish some common ground.
Some great get-to-know-you questions you can ask include:
- Are you a cat or dog person?
- What’s your favorite documentary?
- What characteristics do you most admire in others?
- What would a “perfect” day look like to you?
- What movie can you watch over and over again?
- If you could instantly pick up a new skill, what would it be?
- How do you like your eggs?
- What has been your favorite concert you’ve been to?
- What’s the last book you read?
- What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?
- What are you currently watching on Netflix?
- What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
- If you could visit one place in the world, where would you go?
- Have you ever met anyone famous? If so, who?
- What would you sing at karaoke night?
- Who would you want to be stranded on a deserted island?
- If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
- What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
- Aside from necessities, what’s one thing you could not go a day without?
- If you were a superhero, what powers would you choose to have?
- What’s your most used app on your phone?
- Do you have any secret talents?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- How many languages do you speak?
Don’t forget to share some of this information with the employee’s manager to use as great icebreakers or conversation starters when you introduce them to members of the team.
For instance, manager David knew that new hire Sarah liked her eggs over easy. So when David introduced Sarah to team member Tom, he led with a fun fact, “Hey Tom! I want you to meet Sarah, she’ll be the new graphic designer on the creative team. I know you love a good over easy egg – I learned today that Sarah does too!”
What better way to spark connections than by finding common ground right away!
Who do you introduce new employees to during onboarding?
During the onboarding phase, you’ll likely introduce the new hire to many key players in the company, as well as their supervisors, managers, and team members. Don’t forget about other informal stakeholders, especially if there’s a hierarchy in the business.
Remember, there might be other non-managerial employees that the new hire will work with on a regular basis. Introduce everyone immediately to help new employees settle in sooner.
Onboarding Action Step
Review your onboarding process regularly to make sure you’re setting the team up for success from the start!