6 Step Guide to Successful Onboarding

September 17, 2021

A team welcoming a new team member with coffee

61% of employees say new job realities differ from expectations set during the interview process. Follow this six step onboarding checklist to make sure you and your new hire get off to a great start.

The Evolution of Work 2.0 report surveyed over 8,500 employees and employers across 13 countries and found significant gaps in organisations delivering on the promises that attracted workers in the first place.

Why is there such a gap between the dream that’s been sold and the reality of work and why is this important?

Getting onboarding right is essential.

According to PWC first-year-of-service turnover among U.S. organisations is circa 24% compared to a median turnover of 15%. So ensuring that the onboarding process is as smooth as possible should mean lower attrition, a positive and productive start and hopefully a chance to count your employees as your biggest advocates.‍

Annabel Jones at ADP: “Employers need to change their focus and meet a broader set of needs for employees’ personal growth. At present, employers are doing a great job in delivering elements of talent management associated with the earlier part of the employment journey. But in order to retain talent, they need to remember what attracted an employee in the first place and ensure they deliver on the promises they offered. The results show that failure to do so could see that talent walk out the door.”


Your 6 step onboarding process‍

1. Show your candidates the ‘real life version’ of your company

When you think you’ve found the perfect candidate it’s tempting to do everything you can to get the contract signed, but it’s important to be honest. If things aren’t as they seem when a new starter joins, you risk having to go back to the drawing board. Be open about areas where the company is trying to improve and you’ll benefit from setting more realistic expectations. Your new starter might even have some ideas they want to contribute, making them feel like they’ve made a difference before they’re even through the door.

2. Use what you learnt during the culture interview

During the culture interview you have the chance to go beyond skills and experience to learn more about the type of environment your future hire likes to work in. Make sure you keep your culture interview notes to refer back to and remind yourself of what’s most important to them.

In the first few weeks consider questions like:‍

  • How do they prefer to interact with their teammates?
  • Are they comfortable with remote working?
  • What was the best thing about the last team they were part of, what was the worst?

Take time to make the first few days feel really personal, ensure HR and the team leader both have access to culture interview data.

Tip: If you need some help with your culture interview, you can read our guide here.

3. Understand values alignment

Teams with high values alignment perform 1.9 times better than less aligned teams. They have demonstrably lower attrition rates and report greater satisfaction.

Think about how company, team and personal values will impact your onboarding process. With Saberr you can measure your team's value preferences. Not only will this help identify good team fit it also helps you understand what motivates the team making it easier to set meaningful goals and objectives.

It’s also important to provide some guidance around company values. Explain how they were developed, why they’re important and how they might influence your new hire on a day to day basis. According to an IBM study 80% of employees felt more engaged when their work was consistent with the core values and mission of their organisation.

4. Be open about team norms

Norms are the unwritten rules that govern our behaviour in teams. New hires will pick up on these, whether they are intentional or not, so before onboarding it’s worth looking inwards at your team’s good and bad habits.

Even if you’re hiring internally norms vary widely from team to team, so it’s good practice to actively design the norms of behaviour to build a positive team culture.

Norms can be anything from meeting etiquette, where to go for lunch or how often you socialise as a team.

5. Get to know each other

We spend the majority of our week at work so it helps if you have a friend in your team. Not only does this improve happiness it has positive impact on business results too.

LinkedIn found that 46% of professionals believe having friends at work is important to their overall happiness. Similarly, a 2012 Gallup report revealed that 50% employees with a best friend at work reported a strong connection to their company — compared to just 10% of employees without a best friend at the office.

Encourage your team to get to know each other and new starters.

Tip: We find a good place to start is with your alternative career — what would you be doing today if money and talent was no object?

6. Make admin easy

Have an online library of useful resources. Detail things that a new hire might need to refer back to when they crop up, for example what to do if they’re sick or how to install a printer. Also make sure you’ve covered the essentials some new hires might feel uncomfortable asking about, such as how to claim expenses and if there’s a training budget available.

Finally, it’s useful to start the onboarding process with a chat about what to expect in the first month, should they hit the ground running or take some time to get to know the business?

With all of these in mind you should both feel confident that you’re going to get off to a positive start.

Onboarding remote employees

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