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Effective Onboarding: Take the guess work out of starting a new job.

As employers seek new ways to attract and retain employees, effective onboarding is a key strategy. However, onboarding and orientation programs are often disorganized and complex, with too much information thrown at an employee. When evaluating an effective onboarding program for new employees, employers should step back and evaluate their onboarding process through the lens of new employees. Often those responsible for creating the onboarding process haven’t been a new employee in quite some time. It’s easy to forget how it feels to be a new employee starting a new adventure and the worries that come along. Here are three simple strategies to incorporate to help take the guess work out of starting a new job for your new hires.

1. There is nothing like the fear of the unknown. Create a general schedule to provide to the new hire on their first day, based on what is feasible for your organization. For some, it may just be a one-day schedule. But for other organizations, a week or more could be possible. Be sure to include information such as the topic/what they will be doing, where it will occur, what time, and with whom. Remember, your new hire may not be familiar with company abbreviations and acronyms for locations, conference rooms, etc. so be clear on the schedule. Pro-tip: develop an acronym or commonly used language guide. By providing new hires a general schedule you’ll take the guess work out of what’s coming, and they can focus on getting acclimated in their new role.

2. Take care of all new hire paperwork in one session. Tax forms, required identification, direct deposit information, policy manual acknowledgements… There is a lot of required paperwork when new employees come onboard. Be sure your onboarding process includes a specific session dedicated to thoroughly complete this paperwork. Before the employee’s first day, clearly communicate the documents and information the employee will want to bring for their first day to complete all the required paperwork.

Additionally, provide the employee with the payroll schedule, holiday schedule, etc. and communicate when they can expect to receive their first pay check. Do not assume new hires will know and understand your pay schedule, as pay schedules vary widely across organizations. For an employee who is accustomed to receiving a pay check weekly, moving to a bi-monthly pay schedule will be an adjustment.

3. When does my insurance start? In the midst of learning the ropes of a new position in a new organization, new employees also need clear and direct information regarding their eligibility for benefits, associated employee costs, how to enroll, and clear deadlines for enrollment. Often benefits information gets shuffled to the side during onboarding—especially when the hiring manager wanted the employee to start, last month. Ensure employees have a good understanding of the benefits offered and the deadline to enroll, and a contact if they run into any questions as they make their elections.

While onboarding is specific to each organization, the goal is the same: successfully acclimate new employees as smoothly as possible into their position in the organization. If your organization hasn’t reviewed your onboarding process from the lens of the employee, it may be a good time to do so. Take the guess work out for the new employee, so they can focus on being successful in their new role!

What strategies have you found most effective in your onboarding process?

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