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What is the Best Employee Onboarding Process

The benefits of effective employee onboarding are often overlooked. But, done correctly, onboarding will contribute to your organization’s financial health. When you make the effort to acclimate your new employees to their new roles, they will become productive more quickly and will stay longer.

Finding and training the right people is expensive, and you risk wasting financial resources if you don’t do everything you can to make your new hires successful. By creating an effective onboarding plan, you’re also shaping your company’s culture into an environment that bolsters teamwork.

Onboarding acclimates your new hires to the company and their position within it. The best employee onboarding process will steer new hires toward success in their roles and create alignment with the company’s culture and values.

New Employees and Getting Started

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when considering how to onboard a new employee. You’ll need to create an onboarding schedule that’s unique for each role, even though many tasks will be the same for all new hires. For example, every employee will need to know and understand your harassment policies, but those in management will require further training.

Additionally, there’s pressure to come up with creative new ways to onboard employees. Like most employers, you’re probably experiencing a shortage of qualified applicants. You don’t want to risk losing your new superstar under piles of employment forms and reels of outdated videos.  

COVID-19 has created yet another series of challenges as many human resource professionals wonder how to onboard new employees remotely. You can get started by breaking down the steps to onboard a new employee.

First, consider your onboarding goals. These goals will vary for each position. In general, the onboarding process should transform a new hire into a productive team member.

Determine the metrics you’ll use to measure how long it does take for a new employee to be productive. These metrics will become goals for the new hire. Determine the support your new hire will need to achieve each goal. Armed with this information, you’re ready to create an onboarding process flow chart.

Employee Joining Process Flow Chart

An employee onboarding process flow chart is a powerful visual tool because it creates benchmark deadlines. Your onboarding flow chart should take your onboarding processing from the preboarding stage through to the employee’s first annual review.

A team member should be assigned to each phase of the flow chart and a deadline should be assigned. Goals should be clearly communicated for each item. You can use onboarding software to manage communications and organize important documents.

Onboarding software can help you create a flow chart for the new hire training process. The flow chart you create with onboarding software can assign tasks to your onboarding team. The customized workflow can automate assignments and trigger reminders. Team members will be able to access files and reports from within the system.

Software can help you organize your onboarding process and save you time. Using software, you can easily create an onboarding process flow chart template for every position in your organization. New hires will be able to fill out their employment forms digitally and their information can seamlessly merge with your human resources system. Everyone on your team will spend less time inputting data and managing records.

New Employee Orientation

The best orientation practice will help your new employee understand how his role fits with the company’s larger picture. Orientation is your opportunity to present your company’s mission. This crucial introduction will help rally your employees around the company’s values. It’s a key component to creating a strong team.

Many organizations create games to make new employee orientation fun and memorable. You can create a mock game show using questions about the employee handbook. Or you can create an office scavenger hunt for new employees. To help new hires get to know their coworkers, give them an autograph book. Tell current employees to initiate a short get-to-know you conversation when they sign the book.

The best practices for employee onboarding will incorporate a technology perspective. You can use onboarding software to create training modules for your new hires. Use the triggering feature to avoid overwhelming employees. You can even send automatic reminders to gently nudge employees to complete training modules.

Onboarding software will come with free templates and checklists to make new employee orientation easier to manage. You can create new hire packets quickly and easily.

Virtual New Hire Orientation Ideas

COVID-19 has upended the onboarding process for many companies. If your organization operates in a state that has mandated work-at-home policies, you may be concerned about providing your new employees with the support they need. Even if your employees are able to work onsite, masks and social distancing policies may undercut your efforts at team building.

Now it’s even more critical to make sure new employees are able to build rapport with their coworkers. Advise supervisors and team members to check in with new employees while they learn to navigate their role in a pandemic world.

Many organizations have turned to creative ideas for new hire orientation during the pandemic. Make the most of virtual meetings. You can avoid “Zoom fatigue” by utilizing breakout rooms and doing interactive activities.

Team members can also create a welcome video for new hires. You can also encourage team members to have a virtual “coffee break” during which they can chat and get to know each other. You can use these techniques and others to encourage the socializing and relationship-building that happens naturally in the office.

Ideas for orientation can include a presentation for new hires during which the team can get to know each other with ice breaker questions. These ideas include employee orientation videos and PowerPoint slides that new hires can view remotely.

New Employee Welcome Packet PDF

You can send the digital portion of the welcome pack to the new hire’s email. Include welcome messages from the new hire’s manager and team members. Also include a link to the online benefits portal as well as their digital employment forms.

The welcome pack should include the things all new employees need to know. Include the company’s mission statement and organizational chart with the employee welcome booklet. The new employee welcome packet PDF should also include the company handbook and policies.

The welcome packet is also an opportunity for your new hire to get to know your brand. Throw in some company swag such as a t-shirt or a hat. Mix in professional items with fun items. A personal development book with something fun like a mini basketball net to go over the waste basket will foster productivity and creativity.

Your new employee will grow as she moves through the stages of the onboarding process. The welcome packet, orientation, training, productivity goals and ultimately the first year performance review should all be structured to support your employee’s success.

Employee Onboarding Process Flow

The key to a smooth onboarding process is a checklist. Software can help you easily create and customize a checklist for each position. You’ll be able to assign tasks and deadlines from within the application. Each stakeholder will be able to access the checklist and communicate from within the software.

The employee onboarding process should flow seamlessly from the preparation stage all the way to the first annual review. When you use onboarding software, you can track your progress and data so you can improve the onboarding checklist over time. You can create a questionnaire for new hire’s to complete at the end of their first year to find ways to improve your onboarding process.

If you’re wondering what the phases of the onboarding process are, we’ve broken it down for you here.

Employee Onboarding Process Summary

Strong job growth over the past decade and, more recently, the pandemic have forced organizations to get creative with their employee onboarding process. The talent shortage of the past few years has made hiring more difficult. COVID-19 has made it difficult for new hires to build relationships and acclimate within their new organizations.

The unique challenges companies face going into 2021 mean the employee onboarding process is more important than ever. By using digital tools to foster community and putting extra effort into team building, you can increase employee retention and build a stronger team.

Companies are finding it takes more than converting their welcome packet into a PDF file to meet the digital challenges during the pandemic era. As it becomes more difficult to find and keep talent, more companies are asking what is the best employee onboarding process that will reduce turnover.

But the best onboarding process hasn’t changed in these stormy times. A new set of challenges simply helps you see the solution more clearly. By seeing the onboarding process as an opportunity to support your employee’s success and develop a dynamic company culture, you can bolster your organization’s financial health. 

 

Want to learn more about onboarding software?

Schedule a live demo today!

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

Release Notes: Tracking Job Application Abandonment and Improving User Experience

5 Pro Tips for Quickly Pivoting to a Virtual Employee Onboarding Process

The new normal of living amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic is causing many employers to adopt new business processes…and to adopt them quite quickly.

For those organizations who are fortunate enough to continue hiring new employees, one of those business processes is to learn how to correctly onboard remote employees in a distributed workforce.

A hastily created employee onboarding process will put new hires at risk of feeling disconnected from their work and organization. On the other hand, a productive virtual employee onboarding program will forge a connection between the new teammate and the organization; thereby, positively contributing to employee satisfaction and the goals of the organization despite the uncertainty and hardship attributable to our current coronavirus reality.

Are you ready to pivot to a distributed workforce? Whether virtual employee onboarding is a brand new practice at your company, or you’re just looking for ways to fine tune employee onboarding for distributed workforces, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll discuss five best practices for quickly pivoting to a virtual employee onboarding process.

1 – Create a “remote-first” pre-boarding experience

With so much uncertainty on everyone’s mind, your new hire’s interactions with your organization in the days leading up to his start date shouldn’t further increase his anxiety. Make a toolkit of digital assets to share with a new teammate to make sure he feels adequately prepared and informed on day one. Here are some ideas:

  • Provide an organizational chart listing all employee names, titles and the hierarchy of the management structure. If you are a part of a very large organization, then a chart of the new employee’s department and/or division may be sufficient.
  • Create a task list or training schedule for the new hire’s first few days on the job. Create this in a shared document (e.g. Google Docs) that can be edited on-the-fly to include additional tasks as time progresses, as well as hyperlinked resource documents. With this approach, the employee can follow links to conduct further research to acquaint himself with your company and its organizational knowledge as his schedule permits.
  • Task relevant co-workers with creating video welcome messages to be shared with the new employee in the days leading up to the first day. We use a variety of tools at ExactHire (ranging from completely free to very affordable) such as video capture on our smartphones, and video applications like Soapbox, Vidyard and Camtasia.
  • Share a short, hyperlinked list of your company’s social media profiles with the new hire, as well as expectations about whether he is likely to be bombarded by social media invitation requests in his first week (as this can be a common way for remote workers to connect with one another).
  • Make it clear what equipment will be provided by the company (and by what date), and/or whether the new hire is responsible for bringing any of his own devices to his remote workstation. Ensure that all devices are accompanied by robust instructions on how to use and/or setup appropriate security protocols for effective work within the organization.

2 – Leverage the unique onboarding resources now available to your organization

While social distancing has caused many of us to approach the work setting in dramatically different ways, it has also led to the installation of a handful of new laws and limited regulations meant to help the American working population and employers cope with this crisis. Aside from new laws such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also recently relaxed its normal requirements for Form I-9 compliance when hiring new employees. This change will help employees who have never hired remote workers to examine and temporarily approve employment eligibility documentation with confidence.

In particular, DHS has “[deferred] the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.”

However, not all employers meet the criteria necessary for taking advantage of the option to initially virtually examine new hire documentation. In fact, only employers who have gone 100% remote for all employees may utilize this temporary flexibility in document examination. For more details on which organizations qualify and what documentation is necessary to participate, check out this recent Forbes article.

3 – Make a short list of near-term new hire expectations

To make this pivot toward remote onboarding manageable and relatively fast, focus on only the absolutely critical expectations that you need all new hires to know right from the start. In doing so, make sure you communicate that the current situation necessitates focusing on the “must-knows” initially, but that icing-on-the-cake knowledge and nurturing will be sure to follow as things calm down a bit.

Your new hire will appreciate your candor, and be more likely to establish trust in the organization early because it is helping to flesh out priorities to ensure the new hire’s success.

Here are some examples of employee expectations that may resonate with your team. Be sure to educate your new hire about each of the items below that may be important for his work.

  • Training prerequisites that must be completed before certain aspects of a job can be endeavored (e.g. safety, password security protocol)
  • Preferred methods for co-workers to communicate with each other (e.g. email, phone, Slack, text, video conference, project management tool comments)
  • Mission-critical reports and metrics that must be updated…and with what frequency

Remember that while your ability to equip your new employee with these essential bits of information can shorten his learning curve and improve outcomes, don’t forget that our normal isn’t so normal right now. In fact, it reminds me of an unidentified quote that my co-worker shared on our Slack channel today…one that very appropriately describes the current plight for many of America’s remote workers:

“You’re not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”

There’s a place for grace right now.

4 – Communicate your culture

While company culture can be somewhat nebulous to describe to others, as it is often something experienced for one’s self in-person, there’s no doubt that remote cultures exist, too.

However, it may take longer to assimilate remote workers to cultural norms if you don’t take strides to help them take seed early. Here are some ways to make your virtual culture more quickly tangible:

  • Facilitate video introductions between a new hire and fellow department members and other key co-workers. Make sure all teammates take a turn to introduce themselves, explain their respective roles, and offer suggestions on how they interface with the new employee in his job.
  • Recognize that your organization likely has a multitude of multimedia approaches for communication in different situations. Create a “cheat sheet” of common scenarios to give your new employees a head start:
    • Protocol for out of office messages
    • Appropriate channels for different types of Slack posts
    • Frequency for co-worker video meet-ups and the purpose of each (e.g. is this a project-related call or a virtual happy hour?)
    • General guidelines on how quickly to respond to different inquiries and requests (make sure to allow for time zone differences between co-workers)
    • Location of a schedule of regular working hours for different employees
    • Protocol on whether to use one’s video camera on conference calls (is it preferred or required by various departments?)
    • Acceptable format for email signatures
    • Preferred software applications for different assignments (e.g. MS Word or Google Docs when both are available?)

5 – Implement employee onboarding software for remote hiring success

Depending on the industry in which you work, you likely use a set of software applications critical to the productivity of your business–it’s your tech stack. From CRMs to POS systems, and project management suites to ticketing portals, these varied forms of technology are essential to different industries because they leverage technology to automate and improve repetitive, and perhaps otherwise manual tasks for different employers.

While health clinics may not need POS systems, and safety equipment manufacturers aren’t desperate for software issue ticketing suites, I will advocate that all employers who are currently hiring should consider employee onboarding software.

Moreover, if you are hiring remote employees, onboarding software gives you a significant competitive advantage as you can improve the new hire user experience (aka first impression) as well as minimize documentation errors.

ExactHire’s OnboardCentric employee onboarding software can be implemented either as a stand-alone solution to meet your urgent onboarding needs; or, as a hiring component integrated with our ExactHire applicant tracking system.

As employers face constantly evolving news related to COVID-19, they are adjusting priorities and re-allocating resources on a daily basis. Our team understands the need for fluidity and responsiveness, and we’re equipped to get you up and running with onboarding software quickly.

To expedite implementation and improve your new hire experience despite the current pandemic, we recommend that you start by implementing required new hire forms (e.g. state tax forms, Form W-4, Form I-9, direct deposit, etc.) and allow us to train supervisors who need access right away.

Then, as demands on your schedule decline, our team is happy to work with you to include non-essential nice-to-have new hire forms, discuss onboarding process best practices and conduct more advanced user training with all of your hiring managers. Our responsive team is ready to work as your partner through this crisis.

Demo ExactHire Onboarding Software

Are you ready to improve your employee onboarding experience and respond to the rapidly changing hiring landscape with success? Schedule a demo of OnboardCentric today.

How to Effortlessly Use Texting to Hire Hourly Workers

You only have to look at your smartphone’s weekly screen time report to know that the amount of time we spend accessing our phones is increasing at a relentless pace. Whether our pervasive mobile usage troubles or encourages you, it is undeniable. In fact, according to research done by Hitwise, the average device split for searches was 72% for mobile and 28% for desktop in 2017.

In consideration of the amount of time people spend doing web searches on phones, naturally we’re in a climate where employers must adapt and leverage mobile communication in their hiring process–particularly while unemployment is at an epic low.

Today, the name of the hiring game is speed, and this is painfully realized in industries that employ a large number of hourly, non-exempt workers. The reality of those employers is that if they hesitate to respond quickly, the competitor across the street has already paid their would-be new hire for their first shift.

Signs that you’re not effectively using a text recruiting strategy

We can and should all continuously experiment with and tweak our hiring processes. The hiring landscape changes so quickly that constant attention is required. However, there are telltale signs that help identify when your organization has a more significant mobile communication problem.

Phone ghosting

I was initially surprised a couple of years ago when I heard that many employers of hourly workers, in particular, struggled to get candidates to respond to phone invitations for an initial interview. If your recruiters are frequently encountering full voice mail boxes when reaching out to schedule a conversation; or they discover that a candidate doesn’t even have voice mail set up, then it’s time to try something other than a phone call.

Candidate shelf-life

It’s not uncommon for employers who rely on large numbers of hourly workers to empower the managers and assistant managers of various store locations to screen candidates and invite them to proceed in the hiring process. Because hiring is just one of myriad operational responsibilities for these managers, they don’t always respond to candidates as quickly as may be necessary in this job market.

This failure in prompt candidate engagement all too often sinks a retail location’s recruiting efforts before the ship even leaves port. Or, maybe a manager is in such tremendous need of candidates that he recognizes this deficiency and immediately calls or emails new applicants. However, because many hourly workers tend to fill positions that aren’t necessarily accompanied by a desktop computer or an office landline, their tendency is to communicate via text rather than voice mail or email.

If a job seeker doesn’t recognize a general manager’s incoming phone number, chances are she’ll avoid taking the call–meanwhile, if she has applied to multiple hourly positions, a savvy competitor is grabbing her attention and her time via text before she checks her inbox.

Standardizing communication and respecting candidate privacy

In the absence of a strong hiring software platform that allows managers to contact job candidates via text message, many managers of hourly workers will resort to their own smartphone to contact applicants to connect for an interview.

This is commonplace; however, it isn’t in the best interest of the employer. In many cases, these applicants were not prompted to opt-in to receiving text messages during the job application process–why would they if the applicant tracking system didn’t support text messaging?

Not only is this a privacy concern as it does not allow job candidates to formally opt-out of text messages once they are initiated, but practically speaking, candidates won’t necessarily be on the lookout for text communication from your organization.

Arguably, they will probably quickly adapt given that texting is second nature to many of them, but your organization is missing an opportunity to set expectations about the hiring process and endear itself to candidates…candidates who are in hot demand.

Moreover, when general managers take texting candidates into their own hands outside of an ATS, there is no guarantee of adequate communication documentation with the job applicant. By utilizing applicant tracking software that includes in-application texting functionality, an employer is ensuring that multiple users of the system have access to review communication between candidates.

After all, in this highly competitive recruiting landscape, recruiters have full plates and may be called to work on different job requisitions if a co-worker is on vacation, on leave, etc. What you don’t want is for only one person in your organization to have access to candidate conversations–that’s a significant obstacle for a scaling company.

Why is mobile recruiting an opportunity for hourly jobs in particular?

Hourly workers are often the front-line defense (or offense) for your organization. They are the individuals who are most likely to interact directly with your customers. And, unfortunately, they are often in the positions with the highest turnover–whether that is related to the nature of the job, the typical lower pay (relative to exempt positions), and/or the lack of benefits (at least in the case of part-time hourly employees). In a job market flooded with open positions, candidates will leave for a few cents more per hour.

You see this happen in positions like

  • hosts and servers at your local restaurant,
  • cashiers at your retail store,
  • LPNs at your healthcare facility,
  • service techs at your automotive dealership, and
  • direct support professionals (DSPs) for nonprofits.

People who fill these types of positions tend to be on the go (i.e. not doing a desk job) and may have more than one part-time job at a time. They don’t get into email or voice mail as frequently (if at all), and so they need fewer barriers to communication when it comes to job consideration, as well as long-term engagement with an employer.

Considering that over 58% of America’s working population fills hourly positions (BLS, 2017), there’s real opportunity to leverage texting to be the first to attract and engage hourly job candidates. I’m offering the following steps to help you position your organization as an earlier adopter of the mobile recruiting revolution.

6 steps to successfully use texting to hire hourly workers

1 – Create communication efficiency

Use pre-built text message templates within your applicant tracking system. Create and label them for different stages in the selection process for hourly workers. This saves store managers time when they need to hire three new retail associates–“yesterday!”

2 – Model the right texting behavior

Train your hiring managers on appropriate texting etiquette for your recruiting process. Does the language they use and the tone they convey support your overall employment brand? Additionally, make sure they understand how text messages will show up to the job candidate.

An easy way to accomplish this is to test the messaging feature from within a sample job application. Then, take a screenshot of how it appears to a recipient on your phone and share it with managers. This step will help them understand from what number(s) messages may originate, whether the sender’s name, job title and/or organization name are referenced, and how much of the message will appear on the preview screen before being cut off.

3 – Lightning fast speed

Use text to reply promptly to candidates once they’ve responded to your initial outreach. Don’t make the mistake of resting on your laurels once you have native texting functionality and take your sweet time to reply–jump on message responses!

Remember: texting affords job candidates fewer communication barriers to entry, so they expect organizations to respond quickly, too.

4 – Strategically plan text content

You should absolutely use text to reach all types of job candidates to screen and schedule interviews. However, text messages also present an opportunity–when used thoughtfully and selectively–to reach candidates who are on the fence about joining your organization.

Consider the potential impact of a personalized message sharing a link to a positive article about your company. Or, the likelihood that a hired candidate will end up ghosting you during the pre-boarding phase if you regularly connect with him to prepare him for his first shift.

5 – Flip the script on thank you notes

Use text messages to thank a job candidate for her time and preparation after you conduct an interview. That’s right–once upon a time, we expected job candidates to thank recruiters and hiring managers for their time in order to help them secure an offer–but times are changing!

Thank you notes are still an amazing gesture on the part of a job candidate, but they are no longer a mainstay for job offer consideration in today’s job market given the sorry state of many employers’ candidate pipelines.

Today is about sourcing, not screening. Break through the clutter by proactively thanking candidates with a simple text message and humanize your hiring process.

6 – Hiring process visualization

When candidates know what to expect from the hiring process it

  • helps them visualize how they see themselves interacting with your organization,
  • may allow them to more adequately prepare, and
  • it makes it easier for them to say “yes” when you make the job offer.

You can use text to quickly outline the various hiring process steps at the onset of the recruiting process. Think of this step as reducing friction for distracted job seekers who probably have many options before them. If you can grease their understanding runway regarding your job opportunity–and you can do so quickly–you’ll be the employer who is poaching job candidates from competitors across the street.

Mobile recruiting facilitated by text message communication is here to stay. Armed with the steps outlined above, you’re on the way to engaging the job seekers in your hourly job candidate pipeline and positively impacting your employer’s bottom line.

ExactHire Hiring Software | Text Recruiting

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Release Notes: Mobile Application, Dynamic Questions, Candidate Texting and Hiring Teams

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