The Art of Onboarding: How to Get It Right



Onboarding is an integral but often overlooked process part of the candidate experience. Programs are frequently cursory, without any meaningful follow up to determine effectiveness. This situation leaves new hires wanting more, but forced to settle for less.

To mitigate this, the same kind of high-touch strategy used to nurture and hire candidates can work during the onboarding process. When new employees start a job, it is a chance to immerse them in the corporate culture. It also presents an opportunity to harness their new-job enthusiasm and fresh perspectives.

We hire people because we think they can make meaningful contributions to our firm. That’s why our onboarding process is designed to capitalize immediately on the excitement new recruits bring.

This requires preparation and getting everyone involved. Here are the basics:

  1. Use a pre-boarding site - If new hires complete necessary paperwork online before they start, they can get involved more quickly in the business. A pre-boarding site also sets the tone for immersion into an inclusive, mission-driven culture prior to day one.
  2. Brief teams and managers about the onboarding process - While onboarding is a process that starts with HR, the new hire’s team and managers should have a good understanding of the role they will play. A site for managers with onboarding resources such as checklists, templates, articles and best practices can help.
  3. Consider a different onboarding model - Indeed has piloted a concept called “impact onboarding.” Rather than attending generic training courses, new hires at Indeed spend their first four and a half days going through carefully curated activities that harness the power of play. This allows them to try new things, innovate and impact Indeed early on. It also helps them learn company culture in a low-stakes way and build cross-functional relationships that continue after the week is over.
  4. Check in over the first three months - Giving the process more time allows new recruits to absorb information while getting to know colleagues. We check in on day five, day 30 and day 90 and ask for feedback. This helps us identify areas of improvement for the onboarding experience.

By preparing and setting the right tone for new hires from the moment they walk through the door, you can elevate the onboarding process and empower new employees to start contributing immediately.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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