10 Employee Onboarding Best Practices For HR Managers


Following employee onboarding best practices are important because onboarding is a robust process. There are many facets of onboarding like:

  • Employee onboarding software you use to fill out paperwork
  • The overall onboarding experience that your employees have
  • The cultural onboarding process of getting employees acclimated to your company culture
  • And so much more!

With so many facets of onboarding, it can be hard to understand the best practices for onboarding employees effectively. There are so many things that can fall through the cracks, which can negatively impact your company. Today on the WorkBright blog, we’re going to cover ten employee onboarding best practices, so you can be prepared to hire new employees.

Do you need to onboard employees virtually? Checkout our article on Remote Onboarding Best Practices

1. Write Your Employee Onboarding Process Down

One of the most critical onboarding best practices to follow is to write your process down. Your brain isn’t meant to hold on to everything. Chances are you’ll forget something important, and then the entire onboarding experience is thrown off. You should take the time to create a process for every new employee.

Here are some things you can include in your employee onboarding process:

  • What technology will each new employee get, and who is in charge of ordering it?
  • What paperwork does each new employee need to fill out to be a full-time employee?
  • How will you create a connection with the employees you manage and help that employee form bonds with other employees?
  • What software does your new employee need access to? Who is in charge of getting them access to that software?

This process needs to be well-documented and robust. Writing the process down isn’t about creating a long checklist. Some items will be things you need to check off like paperwork filed, technology ordered, and software accessed. Some items will need to be reminders or feelings like how you plan to create a connection between you and the employees you manage.

The employee onboarding experience may change from department to department and employee to employee. For example, someone in the marketing department may need slightly different technology from someone in sales or engineering. Create a general company-wide process as well as a general department-specific process. From there, you can customize the process based on the employee. It’s always good to have a standard procedure you can repeat first. Worry about the outliers when you get to them.

2. Use A Variety Of Voices During Onboarding 

Employee onboarding is a lengthy process. During the first week of employee onboarding, you receive a lot of information about your new job. Your employees can quickly reach information overload if you are not careful.

Mixing up the people your employees hear from each day will help soothe some of the information overload they feel. Using a variety of voices is an employee onboarding best practice for companies looking to create a detailed employee onboarding experience.

Make sure that you create a schedule that takes advantage of the variety of voices you have on your management team and within your department. You never know which voice or personality your new employees will gravitate towards. Using a variety of voices during onboarding is also great because it gives your new employees more facetime with their new coworkers during the pivotal first few weeks of work.

3. Keep All Employees Aware Of Personnel Changes

Employees aren’t always aware of what’s happening within the company. As much as we’d love to have intense cross-departmental bonds, most companies struggle with it. There’s nothing that makes a new employee feel more welcome than being acknowledged by colleagues through nice messages during onboarding week.

As you bring on new employees, ensure that everyone is aware. Send out a big email letting everyone know that you’ll have new team members joining. Follow-up with some Slack channel notifications leading up to the start date of your new employees.

Make sure everyone at the company understands their role in welcoming your new employees to the company. All your employees won’t have a massive role in onboarding, but they can all send your new employees well wishes!

4. Make Your New Employees Feel Welcome, Before Their First Day

From the moment a new employee accepts a job offer, they are continually evaluating how they feel at your company. For some reason, many employers feel the need to relegate connection building until after the first 90 days, even though the first 90 days are crucial.

If we are talking about employee onboarding best practices, consider how you treat your employees before they have their first official day. Are you falling off the face of the planet, or are you there for your employee to be?

Your new employees are evaluating your company before the first day of work. Before their first day, the HR manager is the only person they have contact with. Make sure you are open, gracious, and accommodating during this time.

5. Use Employee Onboarding Software To Keep Personally Identifiable Information Safe

When it comes to employee onboarding: you shouldn’t do everything by yourself. You need employee onboarding software to help you craft the perfect employee onboarding experience. Employee onboarding requires a lot of sensitive information. As an employer, you are handling social security numbers, banking information, driver’s license photos, and other essential documents.

Whether you are creating a 100% remote onboarding experience or handling only certain documents online, you need a solution that can handle the information your employees share. Emailing documents back and forth is not a viable solution. Emails are prone to hacking, and hacks aren’t always easy to spot.

Instead, you need a solution that is security-driven. Using an onboarding software solution like WorkBright will help you store information with confidence. Instead of having documents stored in your inbox or an inaccessible filing cabinet, you can access important employee information from a computer or smartphone. You can also rest assured that your employees personally identifiable information is secure and that we can easily access information on who obtained information and when issues arise.


6. Create A Structured First Few Weeks

Structure is vital for new employees. Starting a new job is overwhelming, and there is so much to do. With stress and overwhelm comes paralysis. It’s easy to do nothing when you get overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

Instead of letting your employees figure it out and run around like kids in a candy store, give them a specific onboarding experience during their first few weeks. Create a daily schedule that gives everyone a baseline knowledge of the company and their job. As the weeks go by, loosen the reigns and let your new employees explore the company and their role.

At WorkBright, we have a two-week initial onboarding process. The first week is company-focused. Our employees get a chance to know who we are, what we offer, and how we help our customers. The second week of onboarding is department-specific. We still structure our new hires and their day, but it’s more relaxed, and it focuses more on the day-to-day life that our employees will have moving forward.

Create an employee onboarding structure that works best for your team. Consider asking for feedback after each day of employee onboarding. What does your team love? What needs to be adjusted moving forward? Keep this in mind as you bring more people on your team.

7. Onboard New Employees With A Cohort If Possible

Onboarding can feel lonely, especially if you are the only one doing it. Sometimes hiring a new employee with a cohort is impossible. You may only have one job opening you need to be filled. If that’s the case, hire that one person. If you can bulk hire, it will create an even better onboarding experience for your new employees.

As an onboarding best practice, cohorts make everyone feel more welcome and comfortable on your team. Onboarding in a group gives your employees someone to lean on who understands their struggles and triumphs during onboarding week.

Onboarding new employees using a cohort model provides a ton of financial benefits to employers as well. Employee onboarding is time consumptive, which means it uses a lot of financial resources by default. If you hire your employees in a cohort, you waste less money and time creating smaller onboarding weeks. Instead of your employees being pulled away for multiple onboarding weeks throughout the year, you can handle onboarding 1-2 times throughout the year.

8. Keep Company Executives And Stakeholders In The Loop

Your company executives and stakeholders have a vested interest in ensuring that you are growing at the right pace. They’ll likely want to keep tabs on who you are onboarding and when. It’s essential to keep those people in the loop as you’re hiring. What better way to make an impression on a new hire than a special email from the CEO during the first week or a congratulatory email from the company investors?

When everyone is on the same page, you can create an exceptional experience for new hires. An experience that makes them feel like they are a part of your company, and they have a team of people wanting them to succeed

9. Check-In With Your New Employees To Make Sure That They Are Connecting At Work 

Even after the first few weeks of work are done, you can’t abandon your new employees just yet. Whether you are an HR manager or the direct manager of your new employee, you need to make your presence known after the first few weeks of work. Onboarding is a continuous process. It can take months for a new employee to ramp up to where you need them to be.

Along the way, you should be reaching out to your new employee regularly. At WorkBright, all managers host weekly one-on-one meetings with new and old employees alike. These thirty-minute meetings allow managers insight into their employees’ lives and what they need help with.

As your team grows, weekly one-one-one meetings may seem challenging. Can you meet with your team once a month? Can you set office hours every week for your employees to connect with you? How are you making yourself available to the employees who need you?

10. Focus On Perfecting The First 90 Days At Work 

Last but not least, you want to focus on perfecting the first 90 days at work. As we discussed earlier, the first 90 days at work are crucial for employees. A lot happens during this time, and employees are continually judging the work they do to ensure this company is the right fit for them.

We recommend creating an onboarding plan for the first 90 days at work. We use a variety of one-on-one check-ins and reviews during the first 90 days to ensure that our new employees are on track and happy.

When you are writing out your employee onboarding process, don’t stop after the first few weeks. Keep going and write out all you can about what that employee’s first 90 days should look like.

Conclusion: Employee Onboarding Best Practices

Employee onboarding can be a challenging concept. It’s much more than just the first few days at work. It takes time to ramp up new employees and make them feel like they are a part of the team. With these employee onboarding best practices, you’ll be able to connect with new employees, show them the ropes, and get them excited about working with your company.