Business | Onboarding

Productive Onboarding Processes and How to Build Them

Words by Alex Matheson
Productive Onboarding Processes and How to Build Them

A productive onboarding process can help new employees become effective, engaged, and happy parts of your workforce in no time. The journey from applicant to new starter to fully fledged employee can be a stressful one for both sides, and is full of potential pitfalls.

With an onboarding process that’s automated where possible and hands on where necessary, each new employee should glide gracefully into the ranks without any hassle at all.

What is an onboarding process in HR?

An onboarding process is the steps a business needs to take to get a new employee up and running in their organisation. This could include, but isn’t limited to, signing contracts, agreeing start dates, communicating goals and objectives, explaining internal processes, demonstrating business-wide policies and practices, and introducing company structure.

The whole point of a productive onboarding process is to get an employee ready to go in their role as quickly and efficiently as possible. It doesn’t encompass employee growth, but it shouldn’t stop at just signing a contract and sending over a one pager on the company.

What is the difference between onboarding and orientation?

Onboarding and orientation often overlap at times, but the simplest explanation is probably that onboarding gets you started while orientation gets you settled in.

Onboarding often handles the more nuts and bolts aspect of getting a new employee into their role. That means handling contracts, NDAs, communicating policy and goals. Alongside this there will be inductions into any day to day activities the employee will need to undertake.

Orientation is more about getting an employee going in their specific role. This could include in house training, meet and greets with staff they might look to for help, but who aren’t critical in their daily work lives. This might even be a mentor within the organisation who can help a new employee engage and succeed in their time with you. Essentially orientation is still focused on new employees, but extends beyond the essentials.

What happens during onboarding?

Onboarding typically begins once a contract has been agreed upon and signed by both an employer and a new employee. It involves setting start dates, organising the necessary equipment and work environment for the role, signing off on any non-employment related documents, such as NDAs, and a number of other potential activities.

The onboarding process will be different for different companies, but the general gist will remain the same regardless of where a new employee is being newly employed.

What is an onboarding checklist?

An onboarding checklist is a list of tasks that have to be completed by a company when they onboard a new employee. The must-haves will be different depending on the company, but there’s a few near-universal tasks that will show up on most onboarding checklists. For example:

  • Signing contracts
  • Agreeing start dates
  • Setting up payment details
  • Arranging a workspace or the appropriate work from home equipment
  • Introducing key colleagues

There are many more items that could be included and many things that individual companies will have to do each time that others may not, but that’s a rough idea of the kind of thing you’ll need to include.

It’s worth bearing in mind that onboarding is rarely a straight line. Each task in the process might involve a branching path where multiple different departments or people are contacted and brought into the flow.

For example your HR manager might begin with the signing on the dotted line, before passing the process on to the IT department for computer equipment, a people manager for protective clothing, a site manager for a tour of the workplace, or any number of other people within your company.

Each of these branching tasks might happen in unison or be dependent on a previous task in the process. Each one might also branch off into their own subset of dependent and/or independent tasks.

Constant communication is necessary throughout the process. In a world where work from home and flexi-working has really taken off, being sure that your new employee is informed, supported and included from the get go, even though they may be working far from home office, is now more important than ever.

How can I implement the best onboarding process?

Within Atlas Play you can create an onboarding process that’s effective, iterative, scalable and adaptable. You can automate the busy work and free up your HR professionals to focus on creating the most productive work environment possible for your employees, both new and old.

We believe in lean methodology and that means iteration and continuous improvement. So, first of all map out the broadest idea of what your onboarding process will look like. What does each employee need to do to begin work, and what do you need to do to get the work ready for them?

From there you can start creating user tasks and assigning user roles. Which departments need to be involved, which specific people need to be involved, what deadlines does each step have and what parts of the process must be completed before the rest can be started?

Then it’s all about automation and integration. You can start hooking up your payments systems and HR management systems so that employee information is safely and securely stored in the right places from the get go. You can automate the creation of any accounts needed across the systems an employee will need to use, both internal and third party.

With all of the drudgery automated and secured, you can start evaluating your own onboarding processes. How do new employees feel about it? How effective was each step? How do your HR employees feel it works? All of these questions can lead to improvements and enhancements in processes that change and grow as your company does too.

For all this functionality and more, try out Atlas Play today. Give the link below a click and start your 30 day free trial now.