What is Onboarding in Human Resources?

The employee onboarding process is more than just welcoming new hires to your team.

July 1, 2022

What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is a process where new hires are adjusted into an organization. It is a systematic process where new employees complete onboarding activities and get to know about the company's mission, vision, culture, and values. Blue-collar employers are most likely to meet their co-workers in their new team on the first day of onboarding.

In some organizations, the new employee onboarding process is one to two days long, whereas in many organizations, it includes a series of activities spanning one or more months.

During onboarding, new employees receive information specific to their role and team. The terms “onboarding” and “orientation” are correlated, but they are different. Generally speaking, employee orientation is a part of the comprehensive onboarding program.

A successful onboarding plan lays the foundation for a long-term relationship between the employer and the employee. It builds loyalty, increases employee engagement, improves productivity, and brings more satisfaction to new hires, resulting in higher retention.

In this article, we will review major steps in the onboarding process and the best practices that hiring managers and HR professionals can keep in mind while onboarding new hires in landscaping, manufacturing, construction, and other industries.

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Steps in the Employee Onboarding Process

Employee onboarding is a comprehensive process that spans from 45 days to one year. The onboarding duration depends on the job role and the skill level of the new employee. The first year is particularly significant for building relationships between the company and the employee.

HR professionals must consider several key points at each stage of the onboarding process to make it a success.

Before the new employee’s start date

Onboarding begins even before the start date of the new hire, in a phase known as preboarding. During this phase, the HR professionals need to prepare onboarding documents before the arrival of the new employee. These documents include legal contracts, payroll documents, and so on.

Before the start date, the new hire must know about their reporting managers and co-workers, the duties they will perform, job responsibilities, and company policies. Text messaging is the best way to reach out to new employees, share crucial information, or answer their questions.

Create an onboarding checklist for the first week

Beyond the paperwork, you must plan your employee’s first week by preparing an onboarding checklist. Preparing a checklist of onboarding activities for the first week will help keep everything aligned. Sending a congratulatory message, handing out an employee handbook, and introducing different aspects of company culture to new hires are some of the things that you must have on your onboarding checklist.

Help new employees feel acquainted from their first day

HR needs to stay in touch with the new hire when they are out in the field on day one of their job. You need to be there to answer any questions that your new staff may have about their new role, dress code, working hours, etc. Make them feel comfortable so that they feel like part of the team. A happy beginning leads to better employee retention.

Assign a buddy to the new employee who can answer any questions related to company culture and company policies, along with ins and outs of the new job roles. Alternatively, HR can use different communication platforms such as phone calls or text messages to stay in touch with the new hire. Using custom templates to share surveys and make announcements can help optimize communication.

Check-in on new team members

The first week marks the beginning of the onboarding process, which can last many weeks and months beyond that. New employees will need time to fit into the team and feel comfortable, as well as to understand their daily duties at work.

At this point, you need to have a centralized platform that keeps you connected with the team members. You will need to check whether the training is going well and if the new hire has adapted to the environment. With a deskless workforce, it is quite challenging for HR professionals to meet new employees in person when they are in the field, but they can use text messaging for check-ins.

Onboarding Best Practices for New Hires

When onboarding new employees, it is important to plan well. After putting so much effort into hiring top talent, both the employer and the new employee want a smooth onboarding process. New hires are always excited to join the new team, so leverage that excitement to provide an excellent onboarding experience.

Personalize your welcome kit

Surprise your blue-collar workers with a personalized welcome kit that includes work shirts and hats, coffee mugs, PPE, etc. This will give them an energetic start. Include a copy of the employee handbook, complete with information about company policies and culture expectations.

Make it fun with team-building activities

Team building activities are a great way to engage employees while giving them the opportunity to get acquainted with fellow team members. While planning team-building activities for blue-collar employees, keep the intent clear and announce it to the team at the beginning and the end of the event. However, it is important not to pressure your employees, particularly new hires, to participate.

Send new employees on a “scavenger hunt”

For blue-collar employees, it is important to get them familiar with different areas of the facility where they will be working. Send them on a scavenger hunt with a coworker so that they can explore and learn more about, for example, eye-washing stations, emergency stop buttons on machines, fire extinguishers, restrooms, break rooms, etc. Knowing the location of the HR office will allow them to meet the HR professionals in person as well, whenever needed.  

Involve management in the onboarding process

Give your new employees a chance to connect with senior management. Involving senior leaders can give a human touch to the onboarding process while demonstrating a positive work environment to the new employees. Since deskless workers are always out in the field, involving upper management in onboarding can be a practical way for them to meet new hires early on in their employment.

Onboard more efficiently with Team Engine

While onboarding can seem like a short process, it involves multiple steps that need to be handled carefully with thorough consideration. From managing offer letters and filling out forms to creating a welcome kit and arranging onboarding activities, the process of onboarding new hires needs to be intentional and comprehensive.

Automate onboarding with Team Engine’s welcome messages, feedback messages, and automated messages to help new employees feel welcome. Deliver a positive employee experience and improve retention rates by using the leading blue-collar online onboarding software.

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