Implementing an effective pre-boarding and onboarding process is crucial for any business, and there are plenty of statistics to prove it:
Great onboarding can boost employee retention by 82% 
Onboarding can increase employee performance by 11% 
Companies with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new employee productivity 
Remote pre-boarding makes companies 1.6x more likely to have a lower cost per hire 
54% of companies with an onboarding program experience higher employee engagement 
However, if you’ve started developing your onboarding strategy, there are probably a few questions that have popped up in your mind, one of them being:
“How long should my employee onboarding period last for?”
This is a valid question, and although the answer might vary from case to case, our opinion is that it should go from the moment your new employee signs their offer letter, until six months after their first day.
There are even some aspects of engagement that should be practiced in the long-run, until the employee’s last day at work.
Keep reading to learn all about the three essential stages of an onboarding timeline!
Pre-boarding: From the Day an Offer Letter is Signed
Contrary to popular belief, your onboarding process shouldn’t start on an employee’s first day of work. It should actually start before that.
Once your new hire has signed their offer letter, you know that both you and them are committed to this new employee/employer relationship, and that’s your cue to begin the first stage of employee onboarding, which is actually called pre-boarding.
The duration of the pre-boarding process can vary since it depends on when the new hire signs the letter. This can be anywhere from a one-month to a three-month notice period, but it’s important to mention that the longer this period lasts for, the easier it is to lose momentum and the interest of your new employee.
You never want to rush (it’s one of the golden rules of onboarding), but you also don’t want to drag this initial stage for too long. It’s all about finding the perfect balance.
❏ Send a welcome email to your new hire, including all the relevant information about their first day (time, location, dress code, schedule, and more)
❏ Introduce your new employee to the company’s culture, including mission, values, and vision (this becomes a lot easier if you have a comprehensive and engaging employee handbook)
❏ Inform your current employees about their new team member, via email or team meeting
❏ Prepare your new employee’s workstation, ensuring they have all the hardware and software they’ll need
Onboarding: For Six Months, Starting on the First Day
Once your new employee actually starts working, you can begin the second stage of the process: the actual onboarding.
The way this process looks for your company will depend heavily on the type of employment you offer: traditional or remote. You might even have to develop two versions of your onboarding solution if you have a hybrid team. Either way, your primary goal here is to make sure that your new hire is successfully integrated and oriented from the get-go, and that’s something you cannot do in one week (many companies try, only to leave their employees discouraged and confused - a big no-no).
On the contrary, in order to guarantee maximum efficiency of your onboarding process, it is best to maintain it for six months from day one at the (physical or virtual) place of work.
Onboarding Checklist: First Day
❏ Greet your new employee and have a morning coffee with them
❏ Introduce your employee to your current team and show them around the office
❏ Lead them to their workstation and, if necessary, help them set up any equipment
❏ Handle all the paperwork, explaining everything they entail (from policies to compensation, benefits, and more), as well as making sure both parties are on the same page about all details and that all documents are properly signed
❏ Have an introductory meeting with the new employee and their manager
Onboarding Checklist: First Week
❏ Check in with the new employee on a regular basis
❏ Organise any necessary training sessions and send them the dates
❏ Send them any useful resources about their role of the company in general ❏ Schedule a team lunch or after-work hangout
Onboarding Checklist: First, Third, and Sixth Month
❏ Schedule feedback meetings, where you can go over the employee’s progress compared to the established goals, as well as understand how their experience is going
❏ Send out onboarding surveys, so you can continuously improve it for future hires ❏ Enquiry the new employee about training sessions they feel are necessary and, if they make sense, organise them
Continuous Engagement: Until the Employee’s Last Day
Your onboarding process will end after the employee’s initial six months, but there are engagement components you should maintain, in order to make sure both parties continue satisfied with the employee/employer relationship, including the exchange of feedback.
Checking in regularly, even with employees that have been working with you for years, is a best practice that can lead you in the right direction for higher employee satisfaction and retention. Just think about it: you don’t want to keep your new hires happy for six months and then completely change the way you treat them once that period is over, right?
Continuous Engagement Checklist
❏ Schedule one-on-one performance evaluations with the employee, at least once a year
❏ Send out satisfaction surveys and use the results to improve your company’s processes
In conclusion, an effective pre-boarding and onboarding process will help you ensure that your employees are happy, confident, and productive from day one, no matter if they’re working in-house or remotely. So, the question is, have you developed a strong onboarding process from beginning to end?
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