It’s day one for the new hires, and you’re the onboarding manager in charge — the leader of the pack. As they walk through the doorway, you can smell the ambition dripping from their pores. But you know just as well as they do, there’s still much to learn in order to get with the program. You don’t mean to brag, but this isn’t your first onboarding rodeo, and it won’t be your last.

You know you’ve got a good grip on the onboarding process, but you also know it’s time for a change. Your routine is seamless. But that’s the thing — it’s a routine. For people like you, it’s time to shake onboarding and training up a bit.

What is the onboarding process?

Onboarding new employees can always be an exciting time for both parties involved. New hires can become enthusiastic, optimistic, and passionate about your company. As a trainer, being able to get that effect from an employee is a big part of what makes your job so rewarding. A seamless onboarding program gives you, the trainer, more opportunity to really learn about the new employees; you learn about them as people, and not just workers.

To reinforce this idea, think of it this way: An onboarding process flow-chart isn’t going to answer, “Why is onboarding important?” This question is answered every time a new employee thanks you for providing insightful information on the day-to-day internal workings of the company. The answer exists in the efficiency that an employee performs in their role. Effective onboarding sets the foundation for great performance.

Along with standard onboarding procedures, you should be able to mix up the activities for onboarding. We’ll jump into those options, but if this is your rookie year in onboarding, it’s important to define and differentiate a few terms.

Understanding the correct onboarding definition

What is onboarding? Onboarding is the cycle that a new employee or client goes through to become familiar with a company. As simple as that may seem, the onboarding process must be well executed to establish common knowledge and enthusiasm about a company and its product.

The client onboarding process will differ for many, but the one thing that should remain at the highest priority is service. When a client signs a contract, it’s inconsiderate to sever ties and leave them to figure out solutions to their problems. Have a service team in place to solve problems and help the transition from purchase to performance as easy as possible.

When it comes to employee onboarding programs, we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s executive onboarding or onboarding a group of employees, each individual must go through orientation and training. The difference between orientation and onboarding can become confusing, so much so that some may use the terms interchangeably. To us, orientation is simply familiarizing an employee with their new environment. From how to use the coffee-maker to the company mission, an employee should come out of the orientation process informed about the company. This is only a small piece of the onboarding process and can simply be done with an onboarding new employees presentation or elearning lesson.

The onboarding process itself is much broader. It consists of filling out correct paperwork, providing employees with proper materials to reference, having formal introductions to staff, executing team-building exercises to learn about the team, and managing ongoing training. We recommend breaking these things down with an onboarding process flowchart. Flowcharts can vary and become quite complex, but they work by aligning onboarding tasks with the time of completion.

We recommend splitting onboarding into four phases. These phases are known as forming, storming, norming, and performing. A majority of onboarding tasks will be completed in the forming stage. Forming is the period of time, often known as orientation, is the time the new employee learns general company knowledge, day-to-day procedures, and takes some role-specific training.

In the storming phase, new employees tackle the complexities of their job and learn their role-specific strengths and weaknesses. As a manager, it is vital to your employees success that you help them solve problems and celebrate their successes in this phase.

The norming phase is the phase in which an employee becomes adjusted to the norm of their role and seeks out ways to improve or innovate it. The norming phase can last from week two to the seventh month of employment. The entirety of this phase is based upon learning.

The performing phase is the final phase of onboarding. It is when an employee has become confident and successful in their role. Once an employee is performing, they can become a mentor to future employees solely from experience.

As a manager, these phases are necessary to recognize in the employee onboarding process. Though a lot of training and orientation may take place in the first week, managers must be the mentor to employees throughout their first few months. This way, information can be reinforced and actions can be reassured to build up confidence and successes.

Perfecting your onboarding checklist

The employee onboarding checklist will help you complete your own tasks in the beginning as a manager onboarding new employees. The new hire checklist for managers will consist of the details under topics and actions you have to provide to the new hires. Some of those topics are as follows:

  • Employee Information
  • Employee Announcement
  • Company Overview
  • Office Tour
  • Socialization
  • Permissions
  • Technology
  • Office Policies and Procedures
  • New Employee Forms
  • Compensation
  • Job Overview
  • Training and Development

And these are simply some of the top-ranked topics. Each topic is broken down into tasks to cover during the onboarding process.

The best onboarding practices

Great companies have great onboarding programs. These programs go beyond the standards and incorporate creative onboarding ideas. Standard onboarding is showing the employees around the office and sending them links documents to read.

To kick off the new hire onboarding process, it’s definitely smart to have a framework in place. Having a checklist of all the things you need to cover is a great way to be held accountable for completing onboarding tasks. Just as well, it’s necessary to include team-building exercises and ice-breaking activities as part of your onboarding process checklist. New hire onboarding best practices are something you have to hone for your company. Best practices for one role may not be that for the next. Be able to take broad practices and activities and fill in the details of your onboarding process template. Mix up a few of these customer service games (they can also be used in other departments) when you’re onboarding your next batch of employees:

  • Mealtime: Arrange lunch with a mixture of new hires and seasoned vets. If you can get the CEO involved, that’s an added bonus.
  • 2 Truths and A Lie: Every new hire goes around the room and tells three “facts” about themselves. The team then votes on which “fact” is a lie.
  • Phrase Ball: Gather the team in a circle with a ball. Start a sentence, then throw the ball to someone in the circle to finish it. Discover who’s sharp, creative, and agile.
  • Office Supplies Building: Break up new hires into groups. Assign a time limit for the teams to find and build a structure from office supplies. The most stable structure wins.
  • Blindfolded Obstacle Course: Split the new hires up (or mix with current employees) into teams. Build an obstacle course with office furniture. One team member has to complete the course blindfolded while the other team member guides them with their voice.
  • Role Play: Create role-play scenario prompts. Give each employee time to come up with a solution. Act and discuss the possible solutions and outcomes.
  • New Hire Onboarding Presentation: At the end of the onboarding process, create a presentation to show the new hires what you have learned about them.

These activities are great to get the team acquainted with each other and the company, and frankly, they’re necessary for the onboarding process. So often are companies treating training like a crash course. It can become an overwhelming and negative experience for new hires. By incorporating great online training, more time is available to get employees engaged with the company.

Lessonly by Seismic as onboarding software

Great online training starts with Lessonly by Seismics training and coaching software. We provide our customers with a platform to create, deliver, track, and store training materials. With our software, the fundamentals within a company are covered in lessons, whether they’re lessons about the company as a whole or role-specific.

Our learning software is simple so that learning remains simple. Onboarding training and ongoing training establish a company-wide knowledge base among employees. With our software, not only are administrators managing learning easier, employees are learning easier. Lessons are easily created, updated, and automated. When something needs to be updated, simply update it; the lesson is saved automatically. Our automated features allow for admins to schedule assignments in advance as well as queue up assignments to be taken in order. Onboarding progress can also be tracked. Admins can see when a lesson is opened, the progress the learner has made, and when the lesson is finished.

We help employees get up-to-speed and keep them there. From implementation and lesson creation, to learning automation, companies create world-class onboarding with Lessonly by Seismic. Learn more.