Tips for Effective Employee Onboarding

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First Impressions Count

Research into bad hires by the job search and review site Glassdoor suggests that organisations with a strong onboarding process not only improve retention of new hires by 82%, they also reported much higher overall productivity.

The onboarding process is a vital part of a new employee’s experience, and can often define the first weeks at their new job. The first impression really does count, and if you can instil a sense of belonging in them from the get go, this will help to motivate the new hire. However, onboarding can be a tricky thing to get right. A 2017 Gallup report revealed that less than a fifth of employees felt their organisation had a good onboarding program.

“It is so important that employee experience is seamless during onboarding,” says Helen Armstrong, Managing Director of the independent HR & Payroll system consultancy Silver Cloud HR.

“People are used to online automated processes everywhere else in their lives and now they expect it at work. For instance, Businesses need to remember that younger generations have probably never filled out a form before! A new starter form will throw them straight away.”

Having an effective onboarding process of new employees is a crucial part of their experience as they start a new chapter in their career. As much as it is said that a new hire must make a good first impression, it is true that an employer does too. Onboarding is about trying to achieve a successful integration of a new hire into the organisation, and there are many different aspects that need to be considered to get this right. 

Below are some of our best tips to help to achieve a successful onboarding process:

Onboarding starts before they do

Onboarding begins long before the meet and greets in person. Creating an onboarding program that starts before your new employee steps through the door is an excellent way to integrate them effectively. This is critical onboarding time, so having an employee onboarding software, that gets the new hire involved and informed as soon as they have handed in their notice helps them to hit the ground running.

It’s an opportunity for the new employee to learn about the organisation, their new teammates and company culture. It is time that can be spent letting them know that their arrival is welcome and eagerly anticipated, reinforcing their decision to join your company.

This onboarding period can be used to invite the new hire to use the employee onboarding software helping them to feel integrated and a part of the team as early as possible. With the use of an intuitive, self service onboarding software, new employees can log in and access their profile weeks before their first day.

This streamlines the onboarding process, cutting out unnecessary communication between the HR department and employee.

Don’t neglect the psychology

Being a new hire can be a nerve racking experience, and so it’s important to take into consideration what can be going on in the mind of a new hire, and how you can make your employee onboarding process a smooth, and welcoming one.

As they enter your workplace as a new employee, you want to consider how your onboarding process can help them to settle in as quickly as possible. Making the employee feel acknowledged by their co-workers and managers during onboarding can help them to feel like a valued team member right away.

Effective onboarding processes and initiatives can be put into place before they arrive, such as regular check-ins with your employee to see how they are bedding in, and access to all the right tools they will need to make sure the onboarding experience is as frictionless as possible.

Kill day-one admin

A new hire’s first day used to involve filling out endless forms for HR, a lightning tour of the tea-making facilities, and a speedy greeting of the team members.

However, times have changed and with our cloud-based HR software, new employees can access their HRMS profile before they’ve step foot through the door. This user-friendly onboarding software eliminates the hours of form-filling and policy reviews that are normally done in the first week, making for a seamless onboarding process.

Their first day at a new job is key. This means that you begin the first day with face-to-face introductions, introducing the new hire to their team members, a one on one with their manager and the chance to get to know the day to day working environment to help them bed into the company culture.

Create a checklist and automate where possible

Having a clear, well structure onboarding program can make all the difference to your new employee. By using our cloud based onboarding software to create customisable onboarding workflows and checklists, you are ensuring an organised and structured first day for your new hire.

Employee onboarding software allows for configuration and automation of the basic processes, alerts and reminders associated with the onboarding process. This can include job-specific checklists, with relevant content and resources which allow consistency and an easily followed onboarding process.

This helps to make sure the new employee does not miss out of any thing, and that all the important documents are received, personal information is captured, and policies and obligations are communicated. Having an onboarding software that creates a smooth workflow from start to finish allows for the employee to have a seamless transition into their new role.


As important as it is for the new hire to get to know their employees and the working culture, they also need the right skills to do the job. Using XCD’s learning and development software, it is easy to manage and organise all the training that new hire’s will need. It is important that new employees have access to all of the training right from the start with an easy to use software so that they can set foot in the office on the first day feeling confident and motivated.

Assigning a mentor from day one to your new hire is a great way to help ensure your onboarding program is covering all the bases that your new hire needs. By having an experienced member of the team mentor your new employee from their first day, they will feel supported and have someone to go to whenever they have a query about work.

Consistency is Key

Onboarding and retention go hand in hand. The employee onboarding process is not just about the first day, but first few weeks. Remaining consistent and keeping track of the employee and their performance is important to make sure they are fitting in, and getting to know their new role.

By using performance management software, you can keep track of how the new hire’s onboarding experience is going, to help identify what is working and well, and what isn’t. This also lets you make data-driven decisions to correct any problems with the employee onboarding experience for future onboarding.

Even after the first few weeks, it’s important to remember that your new employee is still getting to know the company, building relationships with their co-workers and continuing to figure out where they fit amongst it all. Keeping track of any problems will allow you to catch them early on and show that you as a company value each and every employee’s experience.

The worst thing HR can do at this point is leave them high and dry. An automated onboarding process can incorporate wellbeing check-ins with the recruit and their line management, say, on key milestones – a month, three months, 120 days…

This allows you to get ahead of and potentially defuse potential problems, and it boosts that all important feeling of belonging, because you didn’t just drop them like a stone as soon as they weren’t the newest thing on the block.



“There are some simple quick-wins organisations can achieve by automating rule-based tasks,” says Silver Cloud HR’s Helen Armstrong. “There’s a lot of administration involved in processing a person’s joining, but much of this information can be automated. The moment someone is typing data into two places, your organisation should be asking ‘is there a better way to do this?’.”

Want to know more? Download our Employee Onboarding Checklist for Line Managers now.