Define the Process – Employee Onboarding

This post is a part of a series to help you define processes in your business

Defining and documenting processes is critical to the growth of your organization. There are many different types of processes you need to be thinking about, but one of the most important is your employee onboarding process. Starting a new job is stressful for anyone. If your employee will be doing knowledge work, their onboarding process will be difficult not only because they learning all about your organization and how you do things, but they will also be learning technically how to do their job.

“Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Companies with weak onboarding programs lose the confidence of their candidates and are more likely to lose these individuals in the first year.”

Madeline Laurano, Brandon Hall Group

We just can’t afford to have our new hires leave their job because they are stressed. We also can’t afford to have endless training to get them up-to-speed to add value to your team. Creating a strong onboarding process gives you a return on investment by providing quick learning that leads to both job satisfaction and effectiveness.

I find that small and medium-sized organizations usually have very little documentation of their onboarding processes. Each person trains based on how they were trained. As the leader, you have to own your onboarding process. You might not be creating all the documentation, but you have to hold your team accountable for creating it.

When you are creating your onboarding process, it needs to include the following documents:

  1. General onboarding. We have an overall set of documents that our employees read to help them understand our culture, our values and some key aspects of how we do our work. We then have a document that guides a manager through creating all the accounts they will need to work with our organization. These accounts would include logins for various pieces of software like communications tools, documentation repository, CRM, and others.
  2. Job overview. Each job has a job overview and expectation. We like to review this to make sure the team member understands the expectations of the job as they start. This is also helpful for the manager to review to make sure if anything has changed or to add more detail. These job descriptions are also used to create new hire ads, so it is helpful that they stay updated.
  3. Job training. We now jump into specific job training. Each position has a list of articles that help a team member how to do their job. These are used in the initial training week, but they are also referenced by them many times in their initial months on the job.
  4. Knowledge base. We have over 400 knowledge base articles and SOPs, but there are a couple that usually applies specifically to a job. We call these out and link them in our onboarding process. This helps them jump into on-the-job training. Again, they will be referencing these docs throughout their job with our organization we want to give our team members a head start in learning common job techniques and provide training for them so that they are set up for success.

You have to start somewhere. So if you don’t have any onboarding documentation, just start now with your next hire. Set aside time to document everything you know about the position and how to train a new team member. Even if you just write a high-level outline and then add detail over time, this gives you a great starting point to make sure you cover all the bases. I guarantee this time will be well spent. I believe that employee onboarding can be a primary competitive advantage for your organization. Prioritize it and you will see a return!

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