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Dear Kristy: Creating an Effective Onboarding Process

dear kristy blog, wylander blog, wylander dear kristyDear Kristy,

My company currently does not have a formal onboarding process. We try our best to get people trained and ready to work, and I always thought things were going pretty well. However, we recently had a new employee who went a whole week without knowing where the bathroom was located. Another new hire last month who had never been trained on clock-in procedures or how commissions work, and became frustrated with the process. That person suggested a more formal process when new employees join our team. Is that something we need?


Juan Boarding

Hi Juan Boarding –

Bottom line: a proper onboarding process will help immensely with employee satisfaction and retention, and also give new hires a good sense of your company culture. I recently took part in an event catering to leaders in restoration and cleaning, and was surprised to learn about half of the companies in that room did not have an employee onboarding process. Considering the job market today, and the difficulty many companies are having finding and keeping employees, I must admit that fact surprised me. While an onboarding process doesn’t need to be overly complicated or complex, it should still at least exist and be streamlined for all new hires.

A Portland State University professor says there are four C’s you should cover in the onboarding process:

  • Compliance. This is the most basic part of an employee’s job. It covers the basics that have to do with company policies like dress code, clock-in procedures, safety guidelines, and anything else that falls under company policy or government guidelines. Also be sure to cover schedule and on call rotation. Please don’t make their first day all about rules and paperwork. However, do be sure to have all the necessary paperwork printed and ready to go on day one, and give them a copy of the employee handbook.


  • Clarification. Take this as an opportunity to really set expectations for the position. Even well-qualified candidates should go over expectations with you as roles and responsibilities tend to vary slightly from company to company. This is also a good time to go over company structure, if they’re not already aware, and introduce them to people both above and below them.


  • new hire on boarding processCulture. Give new hires a good taste of your company’s culture right off the bat! Make them feel welcome! That could mean having them go to lunch with some of their new coworkers on the first day, having their work station and cell phone completely set up for them when they arrive, having a sign at the front entrance welcoming them to the team, introducing them during a quick team meeting, and so on. Share with new hires insights on how the company works – what are expectations? What kind of leadership can they expect from supervisors? Are there any unspoken norms that make your company unique?


  • Connection. This goes hand-in-hand with culture. Don’t leave employees to make introductions all on their own the first day. Make sure they connect with and meet as many people as possible in the company during the onboarding process, especially those within their department. 

A key element to an effective onboarding process is to plan ahead. Have a written onboarding procedure and checklist in place that you can tweak slightly depending on the position.

Showing value and investment in a new hire from day one is a great way to create a great employer-employee relationship from the very beginning.