Create Your Perfect Onboarding Flow [Template Included]

Onboarding, the constant hot topic for managers. Did you know that 22% of companies do not have a formal onboarding process? Not surprisingly, 88% of employees believe their employers do a poor job at onboarding them. What a shame. In contrast, when a company has an effective and a well-structured onboarding flow, employee retention rises by 82% and productivity levels by more than 70%. Let’s say that’s incentive enough to create a well-thought-out onboarding flow.

For many, this topic brings up an important question: what is the right way to on-board? We believe there are many right ways, as long as it first starts with defining a clear motivation, thinking through the employee journey and appointing tasks to key stakeholders.

In this blog, we will walk you through all the steps you need to know to create a cohesive onboarding flow and provide you the tools to build one yourself.

Let’s being with Why

In this initial step you get to define what your company stands for and the “why” or company values you wish to portray in your onboarding experience. It is critical to advertise yourself and your onboarding journey with full truth and transparency to what the company mission and vision are. Stay alert that you do not want to appear one way in the hiring process and then present a different reality during the onboarding journey. To draw this alignment, start by asking yourself what the real intent is in creating an onboarding experience and what you want the employee to take away from it. Some examples include:

  • Help the new employee feel welcomed and engaged
  • Build and solidify company culture
  • Get employee up to speed and performing at full capacity quickly
  • Make sure to depict what is preached during the hiring process

During the onboarding process, you will bring this intent or “why” to life and you will need key stakeholders to participate and contribute in doing so. Throughout the remainder of the blog we will reference four key players identified as playing a critical role in creating a cohesive onboarding flow. These are:

  • HR Manager
  • Manager
  • Buddy
  • Employee

As you assess and develop your own flow, you may have more stakeholders present, feel free to adjust as is fitting for your company.

Now that we have the prerequisite step clarified, let’s dive into the onboarding flow.

Onboarding flow

Pre-boarding

Help your employees engage with the organization before they officially begin working there — this starts with the pre-boarding process. There are 3 key steps you should take as soon as you have the new hire contract cleared and are preparing to bring them onto the team.

  1. Send a welcome message
    The Manager should send this about a week before the employee’s start date and share how excited they are to have the new employee be a part of the team. It’s also a fundamental step in cultivating an important manager and employee relationship.
  2. Create a ‘meet the team’ video message
    During the hiring process, new employees are expecting to receive communication via video content. Use this expectation to your advantage by capitalizing the effective tool and creating an introduction video of your team. The best part about it, it can be informal, quick to capture and overall helps employees familiarize themselves with the many faces they will soon meet. The HR Managers should gather these videos from the colleagues they expect the new employee to have a lot of interaction and interplay with and then send this to the employee some days before their first day.
  3. Prepare practical info
    Prepare practical information to set clarity of what the new employee can expect during the first few weeks or months. Share with them the schedule for their first day and any other practical information they may need to know (i.e. getting keys to office, how/where to get lunch, how to book meeting rooms, dress code expectations, how to register hours, where to find the emergency kit etc.). In this step, the Manager should prepare a list of people that the new hire should set one-on-ones with in the next coming weeks/months. Composing this list eases the overwhelm of getting to know many colleagues at the same time and sets up the roadworks to easily ask those on the list to lunch or short 1:1s.

Onboarding

  1. First day welcome tour
    During the onboarding process, assigning a Buddy for the new hire is an effective way to help them adapt to the company culture and speed up proficiency (studies show 87% of companies do this). On their first day at work, have the Buddy show them around, let them know the fun things like snacks, coffee, lunch etc. and also the practical things like where to print, get supplies, get their tech fixed etc.
  2. Set-up & initial training
    In the first week, the HR Manager and/or Manager have an opportunity to help set up all necessary equipment for the new employee to get started on their job. It is also a time where initial macro-trainings would start about the products, processes, cross departmental collaborations etc.. Another great way to pass the knowledge is to set up in-person touchpoints with key stakeholders from each department so the employee can meet and understand how their role will impact other areas of the business apart from their focus.
  3. In-depth training
    Set up a process they can follow for in-depth learnings of all the ins and outs of your company. Help them dive into everything they need to learn to set them up for success by providing micro-learnings paired with blended learning for greater retention. Overall, learning in micro amounts (less than 15 mins per learning) helps employees retain information 20% more and boosts engagement by 50%. Use this understanding to reframe your trainings into smaller, shorter, more snackable lessons.
    Watch the video here for a further breakdown of the pre-boarding and onboarding process.

Continued onboarding

Continued onboarding is important because a new employee usually takes up to eight months to reach full productivity levels. Therefore, some of the best onboarding programs go beyond just the first week and focus on developing the new hire journey to extend up to a year. Follow the leaders and do the same. The two critical points of developing the roadmap beyond 90 days is focusing on setting up one-on-one meetings of new employees with their Managers and other colleagues.

  1. One-on-one with Managers
    Employees need feedback. Sit down with employees within the first week and get one-on-ones scheduled for the next few months to share feedback, appreciations and discuss their growth path. Most importantly, keep those appointments with your new employee. This is a critical piece to see long-term positive results from the onboarding process as 72% of employees say that one-on-one meetings with their direct manager was the most crucial part of their pre-boarding and onboarding journey. Overall, it is known that when an employee has a good relationship with managers, they are 56% less likely to leave for a different job even if that job offers them a 10% raise. Use these consistent one-on-ones to build a strong and lasting relationship with employees from the moment they start at the company.
  2. One-on-one with colleagues
    Managers need to help set up one-on-ones for new employees with their colleagues. This not only builds company culture, but it also encourages employees to share knowledge and collaborate more frequently. 33% of productive onboarding processes build in a social network element. Encouraging these info sessions or informal lunches is worth much more than it seems.

Tips for key stakeholders

All employees want to feel like what they do matters. The more you invest in your onboarding process, the more engaged, productive and collaborative your employees will be and less likely to leave their position. But, this all depends on how aligned your selling points are to the reality of your company. Stay true to what you can provide and if you have something you are striving towards but have not yet achieved it, use phrases like “We’re at our best when…” to distinguish where the company is headed versus where the company is now.

Remember, turnover rates are a direct indicator of engagement rates. Let that be your benchmark and invest more in the new employee’s onboarding experience to maintain interest and engagement from the moment they sign the employment contract.

Here are some short essential tips for key stakeholders:

  • HR Managers
    If you want to keep your new hires, you have to keep the promises you made to them during the recruitment process.
  • Buddy
    You are the new hire’s safety net. Use the fact that you know the company well to make first hand introductions of new hire to other colleagues and be the best guide you can on their first day.
  • Manager
    Harness the excitement your employee has by guiding them in the company. Set up a list of people for your new employee to meet and set up key connections for them to be informed firsthand.

Create your own onboarding flow

Now you know how important it is to have an effective onboarding process. Statistics show that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for 3 years if they went through a great onboarding. As a reminder and in summary to all the steps above, a successful flow involves four key elements:

  1. Set up a pre-boarding process, this is key to overall success
  2. Appoint a co-boarding buddy
  3. Split up trainings into snackable content
  4. Create continuous ongoing one-on-ones with Managers and colleague

We want to make it super simple for you to create your own flow — just click the link below and get your own onboarding template. We’ve made it so you edit it straight away and put it into action for your next new employee. It’s simple, snackable and actionable, just how you should be.

Download your free resource right away