Employee Onboarding: Setting Expectations

Find Out More

After a rigorous selection process, you’ve found the candidate of your dreams. But a great candidate doesn’t always make a great employee. If the realities of working for you don’t meet their expectations, they may jump ship and swim into the open arms of your competitors. This is why the onboarding process is so crucial. Not only does it allow new hires to hit the ground running and make the best start in their new roles, it also enables companies to make the perfect first impression for new team members. 

Setting clear and reasonable expectations is crucial to the onboarding experience. New employees need to know what the company can reasonably expect of them, and vice versa. The onboarding process provides an opportunity for new hires to better understand your expectations of them, not just in terms of their role but in terms of your workplace culture and their place within it. 

What effects does onboarding have on employee turnover?

Employee turnover can be a thorn in the side of any business. When gifted people leave your company, replacing them can be costly and disruptive for your operation. Moreover, your business loses their experience, talents, and contributions to the team dynamic. All of which may negatively impact your brand. 

But employees leave their jobs for all kinds of reasons, right? You can’t possibly exert control over that. 

Or can you? 

Believe it or not, your onboarding process is one of your most powerful weapons in the battle against employee turnover. Companies that invest in an engaging onboarding experience retain over 90% of their first-year employees. According to Salt Lake City-based employee recognition specialists O.C. Tanner, up to 45% of employee turnover takes place within a new hire’s first 45 days. 

With that in mind, it’s clear to see how your employee onboarding process can be pivotal in keeping new hires engaged, helping them integrate seamlessly into your business, and keeping employee turnover low. 

Onboarding new employees: Remote vs on-site

In today’s workplace, employees aren’t necessarily confined to a single office space. Recent events have hastened an already pronounced trend towards remote and hybrid working. It’s easy to see why. Remote and hybrid working offer new hires the flexibility and work/life balance that they’re looking for. But if you thought that the onboarding process had to take place within your four walls, think again! 

Digital onboarding can help to facilitate the functions of an engaging onboarding process without new hires having to leave their homes. Digital onboarding provides access to the services that new employees need from wherever they are. Using an online portal, new hires can submit the forms and documentation needed for taxes and payroll. They can access training content, undergo video training sessions. They can get 1-on-1 mentoring via video chat. In fact, they can get pretty much all the information they need about your organization and their place within it. All from the comfort of their own home. 

Remote or digital onboarding can benefit both employees and employers in a number of ways:

  • It’s highly automated, making it cheaper than onboarding on-site
  • It enables the onboarding process to start before the new hire begins working for you, so they can hit the ground running
  • It provides 24/7 access to learning and training materials for easy reference
  • It can reduce the administrative load on your team and help prevent the operational disruption that can come with employee onboarding
  • It’s easy to tailor learning to the individual’s needs and learning style
  • It enables new hires to learn in a familiar and comfortable environment

People over paperwork

Whether you opt to onboard employees remotely or on-site, it’s important to ensure that the focus of the process is on the employees themselves rather than the administrative process of getting them on board. 

Onboarding must naturally progress into a course of continuous professional development. One that’s directly tied to their career and personal goals. The process is designed to help companies to get the most out of their new starters. But it should also ensure that new employees get the most out of their relationship with the company. This reciprocity is integral to ensuring meaningful growth and development for new employees.  

tall stacks of paperwork and manuscripts in folders

How do you close the feedback loop to ensure growth and development?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that onboarding is a thirty-day process. It’s not just about getting new hires settled and helping them make it through their first month. Even if you employ a 30/60/90 day plan, onboarding is an ongoing process that goes beyond a new hire’s first year. 

It’s about creating an environment that’s conducive to learning, growth and development where the contribution of every employee is acknowledged and appreciated. As such, feedback can never be a one-way street. It needs to be a reciprocal loop where employees can see the direct impact that their feedback has on their onboarding and professional development. 

Here are some ways in which you can close feedback loops and show your employees that you’re all-in when it comes to investing in their professional development:

  • Ensure that you have a structured system in place for gathering employee feedback (e.g. their monthly, quarterly or annual review)
  • Analyze feedback with an objective eye. Be receptive to feedback. Even if it doesn’t always place your company in the most flattering light. It will all help to make your business as competitive as possible
  • Don’t just talk about how you’re going to take action. Share changes that come as a result of employee feedback. But ensure that they immediately translate into an action plan
  • Keep your team in the loop. Let them know how the feedback they’ve provided is making your company better

Training is the key to setting expectations 

Employee onboarding tends to be much smoother when new hires know what is expected of them and, crucially, what they can expect from their employer. This doesn’t just apply to the specifics of a newcomer’s role, but for the company culture. 

With the right approach to training, ambiguity can be eliminated and employer and employee alike can remain on the same page. Make sure that training is ongoing, engaging, accessible, and appropriate for the employee’s broader career goals. 

Whether you choose to onboard new team members on-site or remotely, the clearer both parties’ expectations are made, the more harmonious a relationship companies can expect to have with new hires. 

Learn More With Our Experienced Consultants

* required