8 Questions to Gauge Your Employee Onboarding Process
Let’s face it: By the time your new employee starts their first day, you’ve spent hours vetting them, interviewing them, and preparing their paperwork. You’ve already invested a lot of time in your new hire, and as you already know, that doesn’t slow down as their first day comes around. That’s why an effective employee onboarding process can make all the difference. And maybe, just maybe, that onboarding process you are working with now could use some improvements.
For new hires, the onboarding process is significant; it sets the stage for what’s to come and determines how prepared employees are going into their roles. Your onboarding process can lead to happier, more productive, and better-engaged employees.
However, despite the benefits of a positive onboarding experience, many companies still manage to get it wrong. (And with turnover rates at an all-time high, who can afford to do that?)
For you, an effective onboarding process could mean saving lots of time in the long run by preventing you from having to fill that gap in your organizational chart later down the road.
Wondering how your company’s onboarding process holds up? Here are eight questions you should be asking as part of your employee onboarding process review:
- Are you starting your employee onboarding process with pre-boarding?
- What’s the goal of your onboarding process?
- How long is your onboarding phase?
- Do you prepare an onboarding agenda in advance?
- What’s included in onboarding versus training?
- How do your employees rate the onboarding experience?
- Is socializing built into your onboarding process?
- Are you using any tools to help improve onboarding?
1. Are you starting your employee onboarding process with pre-boarding?
When you think about employee onboarding, you immediately imagine endless paperwork and information being thrown at you—which is obviously a less-than-ideal way to kick things off. That’s why many employers are starting the process before new hires’ first day by “pre-boarding,” sending important paperwork and information over email. This helps ease employees in and allows time for more meaningful onboarding activities, like socializing with new coworkers and learning more about the company’s vision.
2. What’s the goal of your onboarding process?
Generally speaking, onboarding objectives are clear—but homing in on one key priority will help you ensure that goal is met. What’s your goal for new employees during the first few days? Is it to foster a positive experience? Orient them to the organization? Provide a more detailed overview of the role they’re starting and how they’ll train for it? By identifying which of these goals is most important, you can build out a focused, effective onboarding process that doesn’t fall behind or move too far ahead of schedule.
3. How long is your onboarding phase?
It’s not only the content that you should focus on—the length of your onboarding process matters, too. Ask most companies how long their onboarding phase is, and they’ll likely say somewhere between one and three months. In fact, studies have shown that anything under a month is detrimental to retention rates. Plan for your onboarding phase to be at least one month long to ensure employees have time to adjust and are adequately trained to do the job well.
4. Do you prepare an onboarding agenda in advance?
If you prepare an onboarding agenda in advance, you can send it with other pre-boarding documents before new hires start working. This will give them a better idea of what to expect over their first few days and (hopefully) help ease the anxiety and uncertainty that come with a new job.
Employee onboarding agendas can also help other team members outside of your HR department, like the new hires’ direct reports, teammates, or managers, prepare for the activities and training they will also be a part of. Remember, onboarding isn’t just an activity between HR and new hires—it impacts all of your employees who will be working with your newest team member.
Sample Onboarding Agenda Checklist
|8:30 a.m.||Set up working station with a laptop and phone|
|9:00 a.m.||Greet new hire and show them around the office|
|10:00 a.m.||Meet with manager to cover company and team goals|
|11:00 a.m.||Introduce the new hire to the team|
|11:30 a.m.||Plan for new hire and manager to go to lunch|
|1:00 p.m.||Explain the pay schedule and various HR policies|
|2:00 p.m.||Provide an overview of all internal tools|
|3:00 p.m.||Allow new hire time to settle in and setup email|
|4:30 p.m.||Debrief with employee and answer any questions|
5. What’s included in onboarding versus training?
It’s important to differentiate onboarding activities from role-specific training activities. Onboarding activities are designed to introduce a new hire to the company, employees, management, and culture. On the other hand, training covers the specific tasks related to the role, such as learning internal processes and systems.
Although part of your employee onboarding process should focus on training for the role itself, companies often make the mistake of going straight from new-hire paperwork to training—which is obviously less than ideal because it leaves out the time when employees can learn about the company’s vision and culture.
6. How do your employees rate the onboarding experience?
Always make it a point to ask employees for feedback after the onboarding process, whether through an anonymous survey or directly. By asking them to rate their onboarding experience, you can gain firsthand insight into how effective the process is as a whole—and then, of course, correct accordingly to improve on it.
A lack of role clarity, and issues with management are some of the common complaints that employers hear regarding their onboarding process. Gaining this type of insight allows you to address issues directly—for example, you might provide a more detailed job description, complete with details on future growth, expectations, and more.
7. Is socializing built into your onboarding process?
Everyone needs a work best friend. You know, the coworker who loves to see new pictures of your pup or is your go-to for a quick Slack message asking for feedback when you’re unsure of something. Socializing is a critical part of the employee experience—and it’s also essential to an effective onboarding process. Make sure you introduce new hires to the team and plan a get-to-know-you lunch on day one to help them feel more connected to the organization.
Social games are also a great way to break the ice on an employee’s first day. For example, Two Truths and a Lie is a game that requires each person to share three stories or facts, with one being a lie. The object of the game is for participants to guess which was the lie; however, it ultimately helps new hires socialize, learn new information about their coworkers, and share a few fun facts of their own in a laid-back setting. Office scavenger hunts are another great way to break down social barriers and encourage new hires to mingle with members of the team.
8. Are you using any tools to help improve onboarding?
Even with the best onboarding strategy in the world, you can still benefit from using certain tools to help improve the process and save tons of time. Many employers utilize digital tools like Slack and Box to improve communication and streamline file sharing during the onboarding process and beyond.
Additionally, org chart software (like Pingboard!) is extremely helpful during new-hire onboarding. It offers employees a way to put faces to names, visualize how the company is structured, and learn about the company’s mission and core values. New hires can also build a personal profile with photos, details, and fun facts about themselves—not to mention see where they fit within the organization. With the right tools to back you up, you can create an onboarding process that’s highly effective.
If you’re worried your employee onboarding experience isn’t quite making the cut, organizational chart software like Pingboard might be exactly what you need to improve the process. Download 4 Ways to Find Out If Modern Org Chart Software Makes Sense to learn more about how org chart software can improve your onboarding process—and so much more.