How to Onboard Employees with Illustrated Examples

PRemployer on November 2, 2022


Onboarding is crucial. Low-quality onboarding is a quick way to get rapid-fire turnover, in which employees quit right as you get them trained. Implementing good onboarding is, however, challenging. Many newer companies don't know what to expect. The person designing the onboarding process may not have experienced a quality process. 

Here are some examples to illustrate efficient processes and help you understand how to do onboarding right, which might not be how you have seen it done in the past. 

Onboarding Recap 

Let's start with a reminder of what onboarding is and how it works. It's the stage of recruitment that happens between the candidate accepting an offer and starting their job duties. 

Traditionally, this has been a nebulous period, with new hires often left on their own until they walk into the office and sometimes even then. Modern onboarding is a little bit different. Ideally, it fulfills the necessary steps efficiently before the employee starts, so they can get to their tasks quickly and learn their role. That way, they don't need to worry about paperwork, security screenings, or other essential tasks on their first day. 

Onboarding Steps Illustrated 

It's Susan's first day.  She's going to be working on a hybrid schedule...three days in the office and two at home, but her first day is in the office so that she can meet everyone. 

That includes lunch scheduled with her immediate team so they can talk in a more relaxed environment. She arrives about ten minutes early, finds the break room, and gets some coffee. She already knows where her office is, although it still takes her a couple of minutes to find it. The company set everything up already, and she boots up her computer and enters the username and password IT already provided her. 

She goes straight into the company's collaboration program, where she sees a tutorial to go through and then her first work assignment, which helps her learn the ropes while still being productive. 

Her supervisor swings by to check on her to see if she needs help, but she's already at work. There's also training she can do when she gets a moment. 

Compare this with the traditional method where the person twiddles their thumbs, waiting for IT to set up their account, and then fills out many forms that take up the entire first day. Susan doesn't need to do that because she already filled out all the paperwork online before starting. Instead, she can get right to work and feel welcomed and productive.  

A Smooth Onboarding Process is Safe and Efficient 

Onboarding must be efficient, but there are other issues too. Handling onboarding properly also ensures compliance with all the complicated labor laws at the state, federal, and sometimes local levels. 

New hires must fill out various forms, including a W-9 for tax reporting, state tax withholding, direct deposit form, and forms for benefits. If these get completed incorrectly, it is, at best, an inconvenience, at worst, a major compliance issue. 

Tony is a permanent resident who immigrated from Italy to marry an American woman three years ago. He fills out the required forms, including the I-9 form that indicates eligibility to work in the U.S. On his first day, he hands these forms to Mark in HR. 

Mark dutifully enters the forms into the system. However, when he types in Tony's USCIS number, he enters it incorrectly. It then ends up incorrect in the E-Verify system, and the government flags Tony as not eligible to work in the United States. His employment then gets put on hold until they can fix the issue. 

With electronic onboarding, Tony enters the numbers himself, which decreases the chance of mistakes because fewer steps are involved, and Tony is most likely to know his information.  

Get Employees Trained Quickly 

It can take six to twelve months to train an employee and easily a year or more before they reach full effectiveness in their role. If you have a disorganized onboarding process, new hires may be twiddling their thumbs waiting for training or doing work well below their potential. For example, you don't want your new office manager to spend the first week sorting files in the filing room because you haven't trained her properly yet. She will get bored and start shopping her resume instead. 

Remember Susan? She's at her desk doing her first task, which also trains her on some of your company's protocols. She's doing applied training. However, it's the afternoon, and she's a little confused. She calls up Steve, her assigned mentor, who goes over it with her, helping her get through the bottleneck. Not only does she get clarity, but she is now starting to engage with her coworkers and learn that she is in a culture where it is not only acceptable but expected to ask for help as needed. She has positive work experiences that make her feel welcomed and wanted. 

Efficient Onboarding Establishes Efficient Processes 

Streamlining onboarding lets, you get your new employees on task right away. A professional employer organization can help! Not only do we have the software to allow you to complete all the paperwork online before they start work, but we can also help you create robust training procedures. Partnering with a PEO makes all aspects of HR easier, more efficient, and better, including onboarding. 

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