Summary:  How to improve the employee onboarding process with your intranet. Tips for the first day, the first few weeks and the first quarter.

If you’ve taken part in hiring for your organization, you know your company invests an incredible amount of time and resources creating talent networks, marketing job opportunities, building its’ brand and selling itself, ultimately guiding candidates through the hiring process. This can span multiple touch points, interviews and weeks, or even longer in time.  You know how important it is to invest this time to find the right match for your organization, and for the candidate.

Once you’ve found them, it’s so easy to feel that sense of accomplishment and move on to the next challenge on your long TO DO list – but wait! This is just the beginning, now comes the most critical stage: the employee onboarding experience.

The First Day

The excitement and anxious energy on the first day is almost palpable. New hires are eager to learn to become a contributing member of their team as quick as possible.  It’s important on that first day they learn about the company, know their role and core duties, get familiar with your culture and start to connect with the people they will be working with on a day to day basis.  This is where your intranet can be an invaluable tool, instead of just handing them the corporate manual and saying, “read this!”.

One way you can accomplish this is to build out an Employee Onboarding site where you highlight the important content new staff should consume in their first days. This could be pages describing the company history, your brand and core values. You can provide important HR/Payroll forms that need to be filled out, procedures they need to understand, or fun ways for them to introduce themselves to the team.

Why not give them a sense of accomplishment on day one by building a simple checklist form of tasks they need to complete and then route it to their supervisor and HR for approval to ensure they’ve received the expected orientation.

TIP:  Create a “Share your first job” application on your intranet which is a fun way to learn more about your new coworker and spark conversation.

The First Few Weeks

That initial day can feel like information overload. For this reason, it’s key that new hires receive similar information from different sources and mediums (articles, videos, walkthroughs), which serve to reinforce understanding. Having an assigned buddy who serves in a similar role can set them up for success because they can observe their behavior and mimic them.  You can also include resources on your employee onboarding site for FAQs, which can be anything from office rules, where to park, or local eateries.

New employees want to know exactly who they need to serve and what’s expected of them.  They should have a good understanding of the organizational chart, and be connected into the communication channels needed to become informed: corporate news subscriptions, team events, regular meetings, available training, chat & messaging tools; many of which exist within your intranet.

Your corporate strategy and brand promise should be well understood, and it should be made clear how their role plays into that.  A great way to introduce your new team member is using a new hire Employee Profile widget on your home page or Department Site. You can highlight them with a profile and perhaps some fun background Q&As, encouraging coworkers to get to know them and welcome them to the group.

After the Probation Period

For most companies, there is roughly a 90-day period to assess the fit and ensure you’re both happy before committing to a long term relationship with full benefits.  In todays’ fast paced world, this time can fly by so you’d better ensure you have adequate check-ins throughout.  It might be a good idea to have a monthly scheduled orientation course for new staff that are led by upper management.  Using Online Tests or questionnaires, you can assess understanding of processes, products, services and brand promise.  It should be clearly messaged that these aren’t meant to evaluate, but rather to identify gaps in knowledge transfer and where additional training might be required.

Feedback throughout this period is critical and it’s important that new people have some goals/projects assigned to them that they can hang their hat on.  In the end, most organizations have an end of probation meeting. Why not use Online Surveys on your intranet to collect evaluations from both the supervisor and new team member on how well the employee onboarding experience was to identify opportunities for improvement and to ensure expectations are met.

No Longer the New Guy

If they’ve made it this far and you’ve established a strong employee onboarding program, you should hopefully now have a productive employee, one who has a good understanding of your business, their job function and their connection to the future success of the organization.  Getting this right can help you beyond acquiring top talent, but actually keeping it!

How does your organization tackle the employee onboarding process? Comment below with your thoughts and ideas.

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