By: Kayla Bell on November 28th, 2014

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Annual Review of Your Onboarding Process - 3 Quick & Easy Updates

Best Practices | Employee Relations | Talent Acquisition

If you’ve ever had a conversation with an HR professional, you’ve likely heard us go into detail about how important a positive onboarding experience is for your new hires. This is your organization’s chance to not only validate for the employee that they chose the right position/organization to join but to also energize them to help create an engaged and effective member of your team down the road.

We’ve all heard of the orientation programs that the “big guys” put together – flight and hotel accommodations to a lavish city somewhere much more exciting than your corporate office, new hires are spoiled with company logo embroidered paraphernalia, a fun team building and learning experience with a group of other new hires who are just as excited to be a part of the team! As an HR professional, this idea gets me excited; but it’s not a realistic approach to onboarding new hires for many organizations due to lack of time and resources to dedicate towards such an event. Not to mention, some organizations are only bringing in one person every three months – and that’s okay, but it’s important that each individual joining your organization has a positive and effective onboarding experience.

I recommend that you consider conducting an onboarding effectiveness assessment to help determine your organization’s strengths and areas for improvement as it relates to bringing in new employees. In the meantime, here are three quick changes that will boost their experience with minimal effort on your end.

1. Review and Update your Orientation Presentation
If you’ve been using the same PowerPoint you developed years ago (and let’s be honest…most of us are) it’s probably time to refresh it a little bit. As organizational information has changed, you’ve likely edited a slide here and added a slide there, and as a result your presentation may not flow as smoothly as it once did. Dedicate a couple of hours of your day to taking a big picture look at your presentation. What do you hope to communicate to employees? What order of information make sense? I like to keep the length of the HR related orientation presentations to roughly an hour. Content of your presentation will be based on a number of factors, to include the other venues from which the new employee is receiving information during his/her onboarding process. At a minimum, your new hire should receive information on: history of the company; mission, vision and values; service offerings; key players; key organizational policies; company benefits; leave/holiday benefits; payroll schedule; accounting and timekeeping information.

If you don’t currently have a PowerPoint presentation of some kind that is consistently used to communicate important information to your new hires, I encourage you to put something together. I still consider this a quick fix – as the HR representative for your organization you know these details, it’s just a matter of formalizing the presentation. Keep in mind as you are presenting the information that although you’ve heard this spiel over one hundred times, it’s the first time the new employee is hearing it. Show some energy and excitement as you are presenting the information!

2. Review and Update your New Hire Paperwork
Similar to your PowerPoint presentation, as new forms and informational documents have been created you’ve probably just added on another page to the new hire packet. Review your paperwork to make sure that you’ve provided clear instructions to the new hire on what is informational vs. required/voluntary to complete. Are all of your forms relevant? Have you organized the paperwork in an easy to follow manner?

In addition, over the course of the last several years details such as your company logo, font preference, preferred language, etc. have likely changed. Review your new hire paperwork to ensure consistency in formatting and provide the new hires with a clean and organized new hire paperwork packet.

3. Review and Update your Initial Communication Templates
Before your new hire actually joins your organization, they receive a lot of information about the way you communicate and operate. Consider your e-mail conversations during the recruitment process, your offer letter template, and your welcome/orientation information e-mail. Review each of these documents and create templates that both streamline your process and provide a positive first experience for your potential new hire. Each of these communications should be welcoming, informative, truthful and grammatically correct.

These three quick, and fairly simple, fixes will help to create a positive first impression for your new hire. The little details, such as consistency in logo and formatting, can go a long way in exuding professionalism and impress your employee. Remember, your orientation and onboarding program plays a major part in employee satisfaction and engagement for the remainder of their tenure; we only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one! Here's a couple other articles you might find helpful: "How to Welcome an Employee and Make a Lasting Best Impression and The Best Ways to Make Sure Your New Hire's First Year is Successful.