What is the New Hire Onboarding Process?
The new hire onboarding process is the formal process of introducing a new employee to your business or organization.
It covers letting the employee know more about your business, from your mission and values to your policies and procedures, to ensuring that the new hire fills out all necessary paperwork and receives any training needed to successfully integrate with your company and perform their job responsibilities.
The onboarding process is, in essence, the process of integrating the new hire into your company.
What are the Four Phases of Onboarding?
The four phases of onboarding incorporate all the steps necessary to integrate a new employee into your business, from the time they have accepted the role until they have made the transition into a fully functional employee with the skills needed to successfully represent your company.
Breaking down onboarding into those four phases can help you ensure that you do not miss any critical details as you integrate the new hire into their role.
Phase One: Orientation
During the first phase of the onboarding process, which may begin as soon as the new employee accepts a role with your company, you can start directly orienting the new hire to their new role. During this process, employees should:
- Meet key members of the organization, including those that they're most likely to interact closely with during their employment
- Review the employee handbook and any important policies or procedures that the employee will need to know about in order to successfully perform their job responsibilities or integrate with the company
- Review any compliance-related materials for the new job or for the industry as a whole
- Get to know more about the organization, its values, and its mission
- Fill out needed paperwork, including W-4s
During the orientation process, employees will have a chance to get a better feel for the company as a whole while giving the company needed information about them. Often, this covers the basic information that employees need to make a transition to the company.
Generally, employees should not spend more than a couple of days once they start at the organization in this initial phase of the onboarding process.
New hires, especially high-quality new hires, are usually eager to get started: to learn more about their job roles, figure out their place in the organization, and start working toward their new goals.
However, you should not expect new hires to spend too much time on orientation processes before they join since they may need time to finish up their final responsibilities for their previous jobs before they dive in.
Phase Two: Initial Training
Once employees have been oriented to the company and started their first day, the initial training begins.
During this phase of the onboarding process, you'll have the opportunity to formally welcome the new hire to your company and provide much-needed information about how to manage their daily job responsibilities.
During the initial training phase, you should provide new employees with information about:
- Your learning management system, training system, or reference library, where employees can get the information they need to be successful in their job roles.
- Specific daily job requirements: During this stage, you should make sure to emphasize the specific tasks an employee will need to complete on a daily basis, who they should go to with questions, and how you will measure performance.
- Any other information that employees will need to be successful on a daily basis in their new job roles.
This initial training phase is critical to your onboarding process. New hires need to know what is expected of them in order for them to excel in their roles. Without that vital training, they may quickly become dissatisfied, and you may notice that your employees are not performing according to your expectations.
Phase Three: Transition
The transition phase is different for every job and every role. During this phase, you will have the opportunity to build your candidate into a high-quality, high-performing member of the team.
Your new hire, during the transition phase, will learn:
- A solid understanding of their position and exactly what is expected of them. Depending on the role and expectations, as well as your new hire's previous experience, it can take time to learn all the details of a position
- How to integrate fully with other members of the team, including taking on full job responsibilities and a place as a full member of the team
- How to train future hires
The transition phase allows new hires to go from "the new guy" to a fully functional member of the team who is expected to take on the same job roles and responsibilities as other team members.
During the transition phase, new hires will take on increasingly more work or move into all the responsibilities that go along with the job role. However, they may continue to receive support throughout the process that will make it easier for them to get answers to their questions or receive much-needed training and assistance.
Phase Four: Ongoing Training and Development
While the formal onboarding process may end once your new hire has been with the team for a while, your organization's responsibility to your new team member does not. After your new hire has completed the transition to a full member of the team, it's time for a new stage: ongoing training and development.
During this phase of the onboarding process, both your team and the new hire will have a chance to look over the new team member's existing skills and any skill deficits that might impact future performance.
Then, you'll work together to set goals that meet both your organization's professional plans and the new hire's career development goals. You may cover questions like:
- What type of training does the new hire need to become more effective in the role?
- What training does the new hire need in order to achieve their career goals?
- How can you support your new hire in achieving those goals — both for your organization and for the new hire, professionally speaking?
Take a look at available training, both inside and outside your organization. Point out any certifications or training options available through your internal learning and development system. Offer insights into the conferences or events your new hire may want to attend.
These steps can prove critical to setting your new hire up for long-term success with your company and showing your company's support.
How Long is the New Hire Onboarding Process?
The length of the new hire onboarding process may depend on how long the new hire plans to be with your organization. Many experienced managers believe that the first 45 days after hiring are critical.
Others note that onboarding continues throughout the employee's first 90 days on the job. However, highly effective onboarding, depending on your job, may continue for as much as 4-6 months, and in some cases, it may even cover an employee's first year on the job.
Employees generally take around two to three months to start to feel comfortable in a new job. Prior to that point, they still feel like the proverbial "new guy," and they may not feel as though they have been fully integrated into the team.
An effective onboarding process helps guide employees through that process and stays with them while they continue to develop their job skills and comfort on the job.
How Can You Maximize New Hire Onboarding?
You selected the ideal new hire for your business, whether you used Crosschq 360 for a reference check or connected to a candidate referral network through Crosschq Recruit. Now, you're ready to start maximizing that new hire's potential.
How can you maximize new hire onboarding to make a more effective, highly skilled employee who is well integrated into your team? Follow these best practices.
1. Start the onboarding process early
While it's important to respect your new hire's time — you do not want to place undue stress on a new hire when they're trying to wrap things up at their old job — you do want to begin the onboarding process early.
Take care of as much paperwork as possible before your new hire actually arrives on the job. Let them know ahead of time what their schedule will look like before those first vital days on the job. Introduce some of the members of your team.
New hires are often nervous and unsure of what to expect when they come in for their first days. By providing them with more information about the company as a whole, you can help set them up for success long before that first day begins.