Employee Life Cycle: Onboarding


Continuing our series, The Employee Life Cycle, we have reached our next stop…. Onboarding.

Onboarding is the most crucial step process in the employee life cycle. It begins the experience the employee will go through in the company. Onboarding sets the company standard, reinforces values and beliefs, and starts the integration process of a new employee with the team.

The most important and imperative step in onboarding is buy in. Successful onboarding must have 100% buy in from owners, CEOs, and executive level leadership. Investing time and energy to showcase the company to a new hire is hands-down fundamental to the future growth of any organization. Leadership must play an active role, in some capacity, during onboarding to encourage and facilitate relationship building, creating confidence, and setting expectations. When leadership becomes active in the onboarding process, they begin to foster and nurture a culture of enthusiasm, pride, trust, and collaboration.

Within onboarding, there are four breakdowns the employee will experience: Signing Day, Day One, Job Training, and Transition to Role. Let us look at each a little deeper.

Signing Day – The long road beginning with attraction, placing the ad, sorting through resumes, and recruiting the one candidate best suited for the role and company led to this one day…the day the applicant becomes an employee. WooHoo! Job offer signed. If you currently are not having job offers signed for every position hired, I strongly encourage you to begin today. Job offers are an agreement between employer and employee. It outlines the terms and conditions of employment. All job offers should include the following:

  1. Job Title and Description. Define exactly the job being accepted to ensure no confusion.
  2. Important Dates:
    • Date to accept job offer
    • Start date
    • Employee benefits start date
  3. Compensation and Benefits with Terms. Offers must have salary information stated, any paid time off (vacation, sick, personal, etc), and employee benefit contributions from employer.
  4. Company Issued Equipment. List any equipment such as computer, cell phone, company vehicle the employee will be issued to perform job.
  5. Contingency Agreement. All job offers need to state that the job offer is contingent upon passing all necessary background checks, drug and physical testing, any confidentiality and non-compete agreements, proof of employee’s right to work, valid driver’s license (if needed). If your company has any ‘musts’ for an employee to perform the job, whether legally or company policy, it must be stated in the contingency agreement line.
  6. At-Will Employment. ALL job offers must state that the job is at-will employment which means for any lawful reason the company and the employee may terminate employment at any time.
  7. Signature and Date. Do not forget the signature line.

Day One – Job offer has been signed, background checks have been completed, and all necessary paperwork has been done, the employee is now ready to start their new employee journey. I want to take you down memory lane for a moment. Do you remember your first day of school whether kindergarten or high school? Did the teachers and administration stay in classrooms and offices as everyone got off buses and walked to class? Or were they all out greeting the students on first day with smiles and excitement? That is how each new hire should feel on Day One. Starting anything new can be a bit intimidating and daunting. To continue to create great positive moments for the new employee, companies must make it their responsibility to put a new hire at ease. The hiring manager needs to know what time to expect the new hire in order to greet and meet them at the door. Give a brief tour, introduce to the team, hand them their training schedule, and smile. Day One is all about enthusiasm and excitement. Whatever the schedule is for the new hire on Day One, it must be clear to avoid confusion and possibly further apprehension. Personally, I like the idea of giving new hires a welcome bag which can include uniforms, company swag, company issued cell phone, training schedule, and employee badge. Day One needs to be all about the new employee.

Job Training – Detailed training schedules and programs are an absolute necessity to establish trust and confidence within the new employee. When a new employee sees a schedule specifically created for their training, a sense of calm and security is created. It indicates that the employee is valued by the company. Training programs needs to be laid out day by day, week by week, with each trainer’s name listed and a summary of all items to be discussed. I find it helpful to include note taking pages within the training schedule for the new employee to jot down important and key mentions. Probably the most important key to job training is selecting the employees who will be doing the training. All job trainers must be bought in to the goal and purpose of successful training. This step of onboarding is so important because it is where the new employee will learn the company’s way. Trainers must be committed to train new employees the right way…and not any shortcuts learned along the way. Deviation is not your friend during onboard training.

Transition to Role – Employees are wrapping up their training schedule and ready to move full time into their new role. Managers needs to set clear expectations and goals for their new employee. Managers may assign a mentor to coach and guide the new employee through the transition period with regularly scheduled one to one check in sessions. It is most important that managers, mentors, and other team members make themselves available to the new employee to continue to build collaboration and trust.

When companies make a big deal about onboarding, companies will be setting themselves up for long term success. The experience a new employee will go through is all dependent on the tone set during onboarding. First impressions are everything, so make yours count!

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Marcie Richardson

With over 20 years of HR experience, Marcie understands the struggles companies face in compliance regulation and policy structure. She recognizes that effective company culture and policies start with how we treat employees. As the Director of Human Resources for Guarantee Restoration Services in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she values the need for a strong company culture to ensure operational continuity. Marcie obtained her IICRC in WRT and ASD because she believes to truly understand the needs of each employee, you need to understand their job. Marcie also holds a Louisiana Department of Insurance License in Health, Life & Accident.


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