Is your new hire orientation program giving new employees the information and resources they need to succeed in their roles? Or are they getting bogged down by seemingly endless and tedious paperwork?
A strong new hire orientation program is a must to retain talent and increase engagement: 69% of employees who go through an excellent onboarding process are more likely to stay with a company after three years.
In this article, we’ll cover the new hire orientation best practices that’ll set you–and your employees–up to succeed.
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Why is New Hire Orientation Important?
Employee orientation is the process of welcoming new hires to your organization. The purpose is to communicate important policy and get employees ready for their new roles.
New hire orientation also sets the stage for what employees can expect. A comprehensive and engaging orientation program is key to making a lasting impression with new employees. Fail to make an impression and new hires will likely look elsewhere for a new job.
45% of employees who have been at their company for less than a year started looking at other job opportunities after a bad day at work. The first few days, weeks, and months are crucial as new hires are evaluating your company.
Here’s what should be included in new hire orientations:
- Introduction to the company mission and values
- New employee paperwork
- Enrollment in benefit plans
- Review of safety, health, and company policies
- Administrative procedures (e.g., computer systems and logins)
10 New Hire Orientation Best Practices to Welcome Employees
Bringing on new hires isn’t cheap. Companies spend an average of $986 a year just to train employees and that figure doesn’t even consider hiring costs or the time it takes to fill a position.
High turnover rates can have a negative impact on your bottom line, especially if you’re repeating the hiring process multiple times a year. The good news is you can improve employee retention and boost engagement with a solid employee orientation program.
1. Create a New Employee Orientation Checklist
There’s a lot to take care of when bringing on new hires — employment forms, team introductions, administrative access, etc. Onboarding programs have an average of 54 activities for new hires to complete.
And those activities are for just for the hires. You’ll also need help from managers and team members from HR and IT. Trying to keep track of everything without a system in place isn’t exactly practical.
Create an employee orientation checklist to stay organized and ensure no important steps are left out. Here’s a new employee checklist in Google Sheets. (Note that you’ll need to make a copy first before you can use it.)
2. Start the Process Early
The first day is always exciting for new hires, but it can also be overwhelming.
New hires go through a lot from the time they accept your job offer to the first day. Communicate what to expect before the start date.
Start the process early — communicate the schedule about a week before their first day. Having the necessary paperwork done in advance is a simple yet effective way to improve the overall employee onboarding process.
It also means that new hires can start being productive from day one instead of getting bogged down by tedious paperwork.
3. Schedule One-on-One Time
Orientations typically take place in a group setting with new hires from other departments. This gives all new employees an opportunity to interact with each other and get a formal introduction to the company.
However, the best way to get new hires ready for their roles is to have managers set aside time to check-in with them. 89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing feedback and regular check-ins have had a positive impact on their organization.
Managers should prioritize one-on-one time with their new hires to provide feedback and get them on the right track. This will help them transition into their new roles.
4. Make Their First Day Memorable
The first day for a new hire is arguably the most important as it sets the stage for what they can expect. The goal for any company should be to make a great impression with new hires.
Instead, what typically happens is that new employees are swamped with paperwork on their first day and left to simply figure out their roles. That’s not a good way to make a lasting impression with new hires.
Here are some things you can do to make the first day memorable for new hires:
- Give them an office tour
- Ensure their workspace is ready
- Prepare a welcome package
- Introduce them to the team
- Take them out for a company lunch
Giving personalized attention and letting your new hire feel at home is the best way to enhance the orientation experience and motivate them to be productive.
5. Automate Paperwork
Before a new hire can officially work at your company, you need to prepare various forms as required by law.
The most common types of forms you’ll need for new hires include:
- W-4 Form
- I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form
- State tax forms
- Direct deposit form
You may also need to prepare additional documents for internal purposes, such as non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality forms, and more.
Every organization should also have an employee handbook that compiles the company’s policies, operating procedures, and other job-related information.
Bringing on new employees always comes with paperwork. But this doesn’t mean you need to bury them (or yourself) under piles of forms.
With frevvo’s employee onboarding software, you can level-up the efficiency of your onboarding process. Use an online form builder to capture the info you need from employees, automatically generate official PDF forms (like the W-4 and I-9) from submitted forms, and store documents to the cloud.
Here’s an example of what form-to-PDF mapping looks like in frevvo:
Employees can use mobile-responsive online forms to submit the necessary paperwork they need before they start working.
Follow these steps to streamline and automate new hire paperwork with frevvo.
1. Digitize Your Paper Forms
Filling out paperwork is time-consuming and tedious. With frevvo, you can digitize paper forms that are part of the onboarding process.
Here’s an example of an onboarding form template you can use to collect personal information for new hires:
All forms are fully customizable. Simply drag any of the elements from the palette on the left side onto the form. You can also collect electronic and digital signatures.
2. Create an Onboarding Workflow
Build a workflow from scratch or choose from one of our available templates.
Here’s an example of our employee onboarding workflow:
This is the exact workflow we use at frevvo, but you can customize yours to fit your processes.
Employees won’t have to waste time figuring out who to send their forms to. The workflow automatically sends it to the right person.
3. Test Your Workflow
The next step is to test your workflow to ensure everything is working correctly.
Be sure to also check your workflow from mobile devices.
4. Deploy Your Workflow and Get Feedback
Deploy your onboarding workflow and send it over to new hires, so they won’t have to spend their entire first day filling out forms.
There may be some hiccups along the way as you implement a new process. Get feedback from new hires and ask for their thoughts. The feedback you gain is especially valuable as you can use it to improve your onboarding workflow.
Want to automate your employee onboarding process?
frevvo makes it easy with visual, drag-and-drop tools. No coding required.
Try it free for 30 days.
6. Create Interactive Training Materials
Employee training is one of the most important aspects of onboarding. Training materials should provide new hires with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to do their jobs.
More companies are incorporating videos into their training programs. But one study found that 72% of employees don’t give their full attention to these types of videos — they skim through them, watch without sound, or ignore them completely.
Instead, create interactive videos that let employees interact with the content itself. Examples include adding 360 views, data inputs, and quizzes at the end of each section. 82% of employees say that interactive videos hold their attention longer than linear videos.
7. Provide Clear Paths to Career Development
Employees are unlikely to stay if they’re not given opportunities to advance their careers. A lack of career development is one of the top reasons why employees leave their jobs.
Outline exactly what needs to be accomplished for new hires to move onto the next “rung” of the career ladder. This sends a clear signal that you’re willing to invest in their development.
Managers can even create journey maps that are personalized for each new hire. These serve as a way to outline career goals and the steps to achieve them.
8. Commit to a Longer Onboarding Process
New hire orientation programs typically last a few hours but can be longer or shorter depending on the organization. However, don’t expect employees to hit the ground running on the first day.
Between learning the company’s culture and adjusting to their roles, it can take months or even longer for new hires to reach their full potential. To reduce the time to proficiency for new hires, commit to an onboarding process that extends well beyond the initial orientation.
It may sound obvious, yet 38% of organizations provide onboarding training that lasts only a week.
Only 4% provide onboarding training that lasts between 3 to 6 months. While you undoubtedly want new employees to start contributing on their first day, it’s important to give them sufficient time to fully transition into their roles.
9. Arrange a Work Buddy
The first day on the new job can be lonely. Try to help new hires get rid of the nervousness and anxiety they might feel about starting at a new organization.
Partner new hires with a buddy who can help them learn new processes and adjust to their work environment. They can also be the ones to give team introductions, show them around the office, and take new hires out to lunch.
Research has found that having a best friend leads to better work performance for both men and women.
10. Check-In Frequently
Implement frequent check-ins with new hires to see how they’re adjusting to their roles or to assist with any areas they might be struggling with. If a manager doesn’t check-in until several months later, it can send the wrong message.
53% of employees aren’t engaged or connected to their workplace. They generally show up, but only do the bare minimum.
Take the time to check-in with new hires to let them know that their contribution is valued to increase engagement. Check-in more frequently with new hires in the beginning until they feel more proficient in their roles.
New hire orientation is important as it lays the groundwork for new employees to become productive team members for years to come. An effective orientation program is also key to retaining employees.
With frevvo, you can make the paperwork part of your onboarding process more smooth and efficient–for both you and new employees. Fewer mistakes, less going back-and-forth, and more time to focus on the work that matters.