Strategies for Improving Your Employee Onboarding Program


While it may seem like an unimportant, back-end necessity, onboarding is one of the most important business functions. The effectiveness of a company’s onboarding program has a substantial impact on other business outcomes, such as employee retention and even customer satisfaction. The idea of onboarding has been around for eons, but today’s onboarding practices are embracing innovation and adopting more engaging opportunities to set new hires up for success. understands fully the importance of employee engagement from the very start, which is why we put together this guide for ways to improve a stagnant employee onboarding program. 

Make It Interactive to Boost Retention and Engagement 

If you’ve ever sat through a week of employee onboarding consisting of watching a series of low-budget videos created by the human resources team, you understand just how un-engaging those training programs can be. Interactive training often cultivates greater information retention, as participants are more involved in the learning process and have the ability to put their knowledge to use in real-world or simulated settings. 

Address Varied Learning Styles with an Individualized Approach 

Differentiated instruction is a concept often discussed in the education sector, as educators seek to accommodate students with instructional design that is best-suited for individual learning styles. The benefits of differentiated instruction aren’t limited to the classroom, though. Onboarding processes that incorporate a variety of instructional delivery methods offer something for everyone and make it possible to engage new hires with a variety of learning styles. 

Solicit Feedback at Key Checkpoints

Onboarding isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it process. It’s important to check in with your new recruits at specific checkpoints throughout the onboarding process to evaluate concerns, fill knowledge gaps, and customize ongoing training programs to meet the unique needs of every employee. 

By checking in with new hires and soliciting feedback on how they feel about the onboarding process and what areas they feel like they need more support in, you’ll make every employee feel valued and supported. Employees who feel valued, supported, and engaged are more likely to stick around for the long haul. 

Implement a Lengthy Relational Onboarding Timeline

There are two primary forms of onboarding: transactional onboarding and relational onboarding. Transactional onboarding refers to the background, basic knowledge of corporate policies, the setup of technology and other tools, taking care of legal and accounting requirements, and similar short-term priorities. 

After the transactional onboarding process comes the valuable relational onboarding program. Relational onboarding should take place over the course of several months – ideally, a full year – and include opportunities for hands-on learning, job shadowing, and coaching and support. If your onboarding program includes only transactional onboarding, you’re missing a big opportunity to boost employee retention. 

Make Initial Paperwork and Setup More Seamless

When it comes to employee intake, having a streamlined approach will not only benefit your business in the long run, but it also projects a professional image to your new hires. Ideally, your HR go-to can help with setting up new employees, but if you go it alone, organization will be critical. This includes having easy introduction and access to any database systems, quick company email creation, providing all necessary tax forms, dispersing any necessary packets for company introduction and adding your new employees to your payroll. And especially if employees will be working off-site, you should also use this time to train employees on any field service management or other operational software you use so that they’ll be able to hit the ground running and are comfortable managing their day and customer schedules on their own.

If your intake process could use some polish, make those changes as you improve your onboarding program. For example, if your staff has grown by 50 percent in the last year, now may be the time to upgrade your payroll services. Today’s payroll tools make payroll processing more efficient, offering features like automatic payroll scheduling as well as tax calculating and filing. Many services also offer same-day direct deposit, in addition to benefits management all in one place. Remember, whatever you can do to properly expedite employee intake will lay the groundwork for fewer problems later. 

Is your employee onboarding program missing some of these elements? These best practices and strategies are some of the most beneficial ways to improve your existing program to improve outcomes, make your employees feel engaged and supported, and realize gains in employee retention to reduce training costs. 

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