2022 Employee Onboarding Guide

According to research, employees that experience a positive and effective onboarding process are 29 times more likely to feel satisfied at work and happy in their roles.

While there are several benefits to having a strong onboarding plan in place for new hires, creating one or revamping an existent plan can be a difficult task.

In this guide, we are going to cover some of our onboarding best practices at a time when remote and hybrid working are dominating in 2022, and share our own step-by-step guide on how you can onboard your own new hires.


What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process of introducing a new employee to an organization and familiarizing them with key processes, culture, and policies so that they can become an effective member of the team in their role.

Onboarding is a key opportunity for managers to welcome their new hires and put them in good stead for success. It is also important for other things such as retention and engagement – especially in the current climate.


Onboarding and Employee Engagement

On the subject of onboarding and employee engagement: When done correctly, onboarding is a highly effective strategy for ensuring a good level of engagement from new hires. According to the Harvard Business Review, in an employee’s first 90 days, they will be presented with a huge amount of information covering your organization’s culture and practices. This process of helping your employees to become familiar with your culture will enable the new hire to understand where they fit in.

It’s so important, in fact, that research has shown that employees who experienced effective onboarding were as much as 18 times more likely to feel more committed to the organization. Thus, ensuring that an employee feels welcome through an effective onboarding strategy means that it can significantly improve retention rates.


5 Onboarding Best Practices for 2022

Before we take a look at how to onboard new employees, let’s go over some of the important best practices that form the foundations of any successful onboarding effort.


1. Begin with a Plan

A positive onboarding experience begins with a solid onboarding plan that includes clear processes and goals, such as measuring and improving retention rates.

Creating an onboarding plan can be a significant undertaking, but once you’ve got one in place your organization will start to realize the benefits from the moment you bring in any new hires. Try to continually improve your onboarding plan to optimize the experience, for example by conducting employee surveys and exit interviews.


2. Involve Corporate Leadership

Executives and other corporate leaders can play a big role in making a new hire’s onboarding experience a positive and memorable one.

The involvement of the “big bosses” signals to new hires that the people at the very top are aware of them and the important role they’ll be playing in their new roles. This not only lends a morale boost by instantly making new hires feel valued but also helps to begin building relationships between the people at the very top and the people who are just beginning their journeys at the company.


3. Personalize the Experience

Finding ways to personalize the onboarding experience helps to make new hires feel valued immediately, a factor that can work wonders for long-term retention.

We’re not talking about creating a bespoke onboarding experience for each new hire. Simple, straightforward gestures such as giving the option to new hires to introduce themselves in email blasts or personalizing some branded equipment with their name on it will get things moving in the right direction.


4. Make It Social

The social aspect of day-to-day working is something that largely disappeared due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While workplaces might not be as social as they once were, this doesn’t mean that social elements of onboarding can be ignored.

Introductions to colleagues and other social elements of the onboarding process are still important, and managers should continue to take the time to help their new hires get to know their new co-workers and build positive relationships. Introductory team-building activities, after-work drinks, and new-hire lunches are all great ways to enable this.


5. Eliminate Any Confusion

The last thing you want your new hires to be feeling is confusion. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that you eliminate any confusion surrounding their job, what their responsibilities are, and who they report to from the outset.

Managers should take some time during the onboarding process to walk their new hires through their role, what is expected day to day, and answer any questions that they might have. It’s also a good idea to create reference materials that new hires can refer to as they settle in and learn the ropes, such as an organizational chart that clearly sets out internal structures and reporting relationships.


8 Simple Steps for a Solid Onboarding Experience

Here’s our eight-step guide for delivering a solid onboarding experience. While it won’t be wholly applicable to all organizations, you can use it to inspire the creation of your own onboarding process.


1. Initial Preboarding

Employee onboarding begins with a process known as pre-boarding. This involves all the tasks that you need to complete before your new hire arrives for their first day on the job. These might include:

  • Sending a welcome email
  • Clarifying information on start date, time, and location
  • Setting up employee portal access
  • Creating a copy of the company handbook
  • Getting any necessary paperwork ready
  • Preparing an agenda for their first day

Pre-boarding takes care of everything that the employee needs to get off to a good start, meaning that they can spend more time settling in rather than wasting time waiting for processes and paperwork to be completed.


2. Prepare Employee Workspaces

Prior to the employee starting their new role is also a good time for you to arrange any physical and/or digital workspaces that they need. You can achieve this by setting up any physical desk space and working with the IT department to get their digital accounts up and running.

Consider ticking other items off the onboarding to-do list by including them as part of this step, for example by providing access to handbooks, putting together a box of office supplies, creating their ID, and putting together a welcome gift of branded swag such as water bottles and notepads.


3. Create an Orientation Plan

When starting in a new role, many employees will be eager to learn about the specifics of their role and what’s expected of them. Employee orientation ensures that the new hire knows all this and feels aligned with the company’s goals.

It’s therefore important to send over any documents that cover things like the onboarding process, remote working policies, and any other information that’s important for them to know.

A new hire will also want to know about the company culture, so prepare some materials that they can read to give them a more rounded view of the company.


4. Arrange the Welcoming Committee

We’re not saying that you should get the entire organization together to welcome your new hire… but assigning a greeter or peer mentor to meet them when they arrive is an easy way to make them feel more at ease.

This person will act as the new hire’s go-to guide during their first few weeks, and appointing one gives them a way to ask questions, figure out the company culture at their own pace, and settle in better. We recommend appointing a colleague at the same level as the new hire rather than a manager because this is better at helping the new hire integrate with their team.


5. Let Them Settle In

After welcoming your new hire and going through all the formalities, it’s a good idea to give them a couple of hours to settle in, set up their new workspace, and meet a few of their new colleagues.

Consider arranging some social time at the end of the day so that the new hire can be properly introduced to the wider team and begin breaking the ice.


6. Set Up Time with HR

The employee should meet with a representative from HR at some point during the onboarding process to go over:

  • Any paperwork that still needs to be completed.
  • Details on company policies (holiday, time off during illness, dress code, etc.)
  • The company’s organizational chart.
  • Information on any support schemes available for employees.


7. Arrange Initial Training and Development

Most new roles involve getting to grips with unfamiliar software, tools, and processes.

It’s therefore a good idea to schedule some time during the new hire’s first week to undertake any training for software and systems that they will be using as part of their role.


8. Schedule Regular Check-Ins

Onboarding doesn’t all take place in a day or even the first week; it’s an ongoing process. The amount of time onboarding takes very much depends on the new hire and how quickly they adapt to their new working environment.

To this extent, it’s important to schedule regular check-ins so that you can gauge how they are settling in and getting to grips with their new role.

Check-ins on their first day, at the end of the first week, and at the end of each month for the first three months is a good starting point. These meetings will provide the employee with an opportunity to provide feedback, make their concerns known, and ask for additional support if necessary.