What do hiring managers want? There are countless answers, but we can all agree on a few: obtaining top talent, retaining top talent, and having their employees work hard.

What all hiring managers want to figure out is how to do that; the simplest answer and first step is a great onboarding process (coupled with a solid onboarding software platform). Making sure your employees are set up for success and are happy on their start date puts them on the path to being happy with the position at  90-days, 365-days, 1,095-days, etc. into the future.

In this article, we are going to share some of the best onboarding practices to ensure you know the key to talent retention.
Something to consider: are you utilizing an applicant tracking system (ATS) that includes onboarding software?

The best onboarding practices take pre-boarding into account.

When do you believe the onboarding process starts? It should be before day 1. While you don’t want to overwhelm your new employee, you also don’t want to underwhelm them. It’s no secret thatemployee onboarding statistic by SmartSearch candidates could rescind their offer or just not show up on day 1, so we suggest implementing these employee onboarding best practices before your new hire even starts.

Pre-boarding could include a welcome package — maybe these are company branded items like a new mug or t-shirt — this should also include admin tasks such as benefit enrollment information or setting up bank information to your organization’s payroll system. Best onboarding practices also cover getting the mundane questions out of the way:

  • What time should they show up on day 1? What about normally?
  • What do your paid holidays include?
  • What’s the office attire?
  • How do they enter the building on day 1? (if onboarding remotely, schedule a quick welcome meeting at the start of the day!)
  • How should they request PTO or working from home if offering a hybrid model?

Help set the expectations for what will occur.

A “what to expect” email is another smart addition to your pre-boarding and onboarding best practices. This could include the above list of the questions you want to get out of the way as well as emails they should expect from HR, what their first day will entail, how to login to their new email, and if they should bring lunch or expect to go out on day 1. This information is a way to help your new hires feel comfortable during the first few days increasing the probability of retaining top talent.

We often forget the small nuances we are used to on a day-to-day basis, so you want to make sure this new employee knows what current employees know (within reason) so they don’t feel excluded from the team. As their reporting manager or hiring manager, you want to make sure they know these things for their first day, week, and month as a new member of the team.

Expectations also include what success looks like for this role. Each company, department, and role could have a different definition of what success looks like, and new hires especially want to know how to excel. Be clear with your new team members on how they will succeed in their new role and the company overall. Start these best onboarding practices by giving them a goal timeline and schedule check-ins that make sense with your schedule.

Ask for feedback throughout the onboarding process.

There is no such thing as overcommunicating, so, don’t shy away from asking for appropriate feedback. Feedback is a crucial step when creating a top-notch onboarding process; information from the new employee, hiring manager, and any other stakeholders will help you adjust your onboarding best practices.

Implementing an NPS survey for all who are involved in the hiring process helps you receive feedback on employee satisfaction from multiple individuals. Asking for candid feedback within the new hire’s first few days will also begin building trust between manager and employee.

Instilling trust during the onboarding process is a major key to talent retention. Schedule check-ins with your new hire to give them a platform to give you this feedback. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions, give feedback, and create a relationship with their manager from the start.

Employee onboarding best practices start by preparing internal and external stakeholders

Of course, you want to inform the team that a new member is starting, but you also want to inform any external stakeholders that they’ll have a new or additional point of contact. Scheduling interactions between current employees and clients with your new hire is an onboarding best practice that will make your new employee feel confident and set them up for success.
Incorporate shadowing into your onboarding best practices

Utilize cross-team collaboration here by having your new hire shadow individuals who are not necessarily in their department. Is your new hire a part of the marketing team? Have them shadow a sales rep to see how they’re utilizing marketing materials, for example. Shadowing is the simplest way to have your new employee learn while current employees can still get their work completed for the day.

Employee Onboarding best practices diagram

Involve team members to better build your employee onboarding best practices

Whether you want to do this prior to the new hire starting or during their first week, this will provide comfort early on. With the newer remote environment, it’s difficult to establish meaningful relationships swiftly. Many employers have seen success with current employees putting a 10–15-minute invite on the new hire’s calendar to meet over a video call to get to know each other. If available, these could be scheduled prior to their first week to get them even more excited about starting on day 1 (remember, don’t overwhelm OR underwhelm). There are also benefits to scheduling these within the first 2 weeks because it gives the new hire a break from training modules and allows the reporting manager to save time in their day if they’re choosing a 1on1 training approach.

Optimize your onboarding best practices by building eSigning into your process.

Utilizing strong onboarding software and an applicant tracking system (ATS) can make onboarding easier for your internal teams. SmartSearch’s onboarding software offers an eSigning tool (SmartSign) to complete documents securely. Our SmartSign tool will give your new hire a unique link to access all documents that need to be signed during the hiring and onboarding process such as their offer letter, NDAs, non-competes, etc.

Work smarter, not harder, by creating a repeatable process for all new hires.

SmartSearch offers a configurable OnboardTrak for your internal or external recruiting teams to follow. The OnboardTrak tool offers automation to streamline and ensure new hires receive all necessary information. As we mentioned earlier, a “what to expect” email could be beneficial during the pre-boarding process, and a solid onboarding software, like SmartSearch, can automate these emails for you to ensure new hires get all the information they need before starting. This feature also guarantees that every new hire will follow the determined onboarding process your team has put in place.

SmartSearch works to better the onboarding process.

As mentioned, SmartSearch offers configurable tools to control and make certain the onboarding process follows your method. Are you utilizing a recruiting or staffing agency to find contract talent? With SmartSearch you can configure an OnboardTrak for each client that will confirm your external recruiting team is following your onboarding best practices. Thinking about sending a few reminders through email or text messages before your new hire starts? SmartSearch’s applicant tracking system offers automated messaging, so you know you are keeping in touch with your new hires before their first day. Interested in seeing these features of our onboarding software? Request a demo with our team today.