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The Ultimate Employee Onboarding and Induction Guide

Growing a business is hard, and finding the right people to help grow your business is even harder. So, when you’ve found exceptional talent for your business and you’re ready to welcome your new team member, how can you make their first impression a great one?

How can you give new hires an onboarding and induction experience they’ll remember for all the right reasons?

The answer? A stellar onboarding process that makes new hires feel like they belong, even before their first day.

A team working at a round table on a project.

What’s in this new employee onboarding guide?

This ultimate guide to employee onboarding will show you the best practices in creating a great employee onboarding process and will cover:

  • The ins and outs of an effective employee onboarding process
  • Common mistakes in onboarding programs to watch out for
  • How to ensure new employees stick around
  • How to showcase your company culture
  • Tips to get prepared for your new hires
  • A new employee onboarding checklist
  • How to manage probation periods

Download The Ultimate Employee Onboarding and Induction Guide now.

What is an employee onboarding process?

Onboarding is often an underrated part of the employment process, but it’s a critical one. An onboarding process — good or bad — can set the tone for your new employee’s career with your business. It has the potential to fast-track a person’s transition into a business, or slow it way down.

All of this is to say, there are a few core goals to consider regarding your onboarding process:

  • Kick-starting employee engagement; your new hires should feel that the business is invested in their success, they should have a good understanding of the business’ values and company mission — and how they can contribute.
  • Practical administrative support; your people shouldn’t be wasting time filling out endless new hire paperwork or setting up‌ — ‌ a good onboarding process will have these practicalities sorted beyond the start date.
  • Instilling workplace culture; having a sense of belonging is crucial for new hires to do their best work — they need to feel empowered around relationship building and team camaraderie from day one.

With three essential goals of onboarding to manage, you’ll need a great onboarding process to make sure everything’s covered. This free guide can help you establish just that.


What is the difference between induction and onboarding in HR?

What’s an induction?

Induction is typically a shorter and more focused process that occurs immediately after an employee joins the organisation. The primary goal of induction is to provide new employees with basic information and essentials they need to start working effectively. It is a brief introduction to the company, its policies‌ and the immediate work environment. The key features of induction include:

  • Introduction to the company’s mission, vision, and values.
  • An overview of company policies, rules, and regulations.
  • Introduction to the workplace and essential facilities.
  • Basic information about employee benefits and perks.
  • Completion of essential paperwork and formalities, such as tax forms and employment contracts.


What’s onboarding? 

Onboarding, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive and extended process that takes place over weeks or months. It is designed to help new employees assimilate into the company culture, understand their roles in depth‌ and establish relationships within the organisation. The main objectives of onboarding are:

  • Introducing new employees to their teams, colleagues‌ and supervisors.
  • Providing a deeper understanding of the company’s structure, processes‌ and goals.
  • Facilitating the development of job-specific skills and knowledge.
  • Clarifying performance expectations and setting goals.
  • Offering ongoing support and guidance to ensure a smooth transition into the new role.
  • Address any questions or concerns the new employee may have.


Why is a good onboarding experience important?

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What do the best onboarding programs from the world’s leading companies have in common? They all reap these amazing benefits. But why should only big companies enjoy these? Our guide can help companies of all sizes enjoy these great results.


1. It can set new hires up for success from their first day

Your new team members can say farewell to the first day jitters. An effective employee onboarding process will help make sure that new hires are feeling happy and productive from their first day on the job.

The most successful onboarding programs are supported by great communication with new hires before their first day, to make sure that they have everything they need in the lead-up. This way, they can embrace everything about your business from day one – with no time lost to admin or confusion.

2. It can help you collect essential information about your new hire

When you’re following a structured onboarding process, there’s no need to fear that you’ve missed out on acquiring important information from your new employees.

An onboarding checklist (like the one in this guide), will make sure that you collect all necessary payroll, HR and personal information. Whether you’re doing this manually or with the help of an HRIS — you can be confident that you have everything you need to employ your new person compliantly.


3. It can help you communicate essential information to your new hire

On the flip side, an effective onboarding process can also help your employees receive all the important information that they need.

Whether it’s communicating company policies, an employee handbook, dress code information or the details of an onboarding buddy – it all happens in the onboarding process.


4. It can help your new employee understand your company mission and values

What powers your team, and your whole business, towards success?

It’s not the break room coffee (although that can really help), it’s your company’s mission and values. And these should be communicated to your new hires from day one.

Sharing your mission and values with new employees won’t only motivate them and have them eager to get started — it will also make sure that their work will be immediately aligned with the company’s goals.


5. It’s a powerful motivational tool

Sharing your company values and mission aren’t the only things that can get your new hire feeling excited and ready to hit the ground running.

During onboarding, many teams also show their new hires the great work they’ve been producing lately, or share the details of exciting projects coming up. It’s onboarding processes like this that can get your new employees excited about their contribution.


6. It can help new hires feel like they belong

A study from BetterUp found that workplace belonging can lead to an estimated 56% increase in performance, a 50% reduced risk of turnover‌ and a 75% drop in sick days. With stats like these, why wouldn’t you prioritise belonging from day one?

No one likes to be the new person, but a positive onboarding experience can do a lot to help your new hire feel welcomed ‌and part of a team. It’s an essential time for building relationships and creating a united work environment.


7. It can get new hires acclimated to their new role and key responsibilities

A job description can only do so much. New employees need to understand not only what their job entails, but how it fits into the larger picture of the entire company.

Onboarding is the perfect opportunity to give new employees a bird’s eye view of their department, how it works with other departments and what the company’s overarching goals are.


8. It can improve employee satisfaction and put them on the path to long-term success

When new employees feel supported and valued, they are less likely to look for other opportunities.

Foundations are everything, right? To feel valued within a business, you need to feel like you’re being invested in from day one. This all starts with onboarding. The experience that your new hire has during their first week can put them on a path to long-term success at your company.


How to create an employee onboarding program

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  • Prepare your new employee’s work area and office space and equip it with supplies. 
  • Order appropriate access keys/security cards and make sure they work.
  • Order business cards, if applicable. 
  • Arrange for parking, if required.
  • Send out any equipment and technology for remote employees via a courier. 
  • Give them details about any remote working allowances. 


Technology access 

  • Order technology equipment (computer, iPad, phone) and software. 
  • Set up their system in advance and assign them to a printer. 
  • Arrange for access to common drives. 
  • Add their name to relevant email lists. 


General communications 

  • Share the news about the new starter with everyone in the business so everyone’s ready for their introduction. It’s a good idea to share something personal about your new hire such as their love of coffee or their favourite footy team. In this way, other employees have something they can use to break the ice with them when they meet.
  • Assign a buddy or mentor the new hire can rely on to show them the ropes and answer their questions, even show them the best place to grab lunch. 


First day

  • Have a small gift waiting for them such as your company t-shirt, mug or keychain. 
  • Give them a tour of the office or workplace and introduce them to key team members.
  • If you haven’t already given them an onboarding pack before they started, make sure you present it on their first day, and give them time to complete the paperwork over the week ahead.
  • Meet with them and their manager to explain the expectations of their role. The new starter needs to know what they’re supposed to be doing, and how that contributes to the company bottom line.
  • Have their manager assign any simple tasks.
  • Take them out for lunch with their manager and buddy or mentor. 


First Week: 

  • Introduce them to employees from different areas of the business and have them shadow them so they can experience the business from many different aspects. 
  • Meet to check they’ve signed the paperwork and have accessed, read, and acknowledged your company policies. 
  • Check-in with them and their manager regarding any first tasks.
  • Have their manager assign them their first project. 


First Month: 

  • Hold regular check-in meetings and evaluate their progress after a month in the company.
  • See how they’re getting along with the rest of the team and whether they’re enjoying their work. 
  • Assess and action training needs. 


There you have it! An onboarding checklist to keep in your back pocket for when you have new employees starting in your business. Remember, first impressions count.


What role does an onboarding software play in successful onboarding?

We can’t speak for other software! But here’s the breakdown of how Employment Hero can help. Our HRIS system offers:

  • Certifications
  • Digital contracts
  • Induction content
  • Organisational charts
  • Paperless onboarding
  • Employee self-service
  • Onboarding checklists
  • Seamless induction tools
  • Secure policies and policy tracking


But it’s not just the onboarding process tools our platform offers. It’s the ROI — 85% of business leaders agree: Employment Hero makes managing employment easier. 


Looking for more onboarding resources?

Maybe the Ultimate Guide to Onboarding is not quite what you need right now, or you’re looking for other helpful tips for onboarding and recruitment. Here are some highlights from the Employment Hero resource hub.


Download our guide and seamlessly welcome new employees


At Employment Hero, it’s our mission to make employment easier and more valuable for everyone. Beyond the recruitment process, onboarding is your new hire’s most important interaction with the business.

Employment experts built Employment Hero specifically for small to medium-sized businesses. We identified that SMBs often don’t have the tools to make tasks like onboarding into a streamlined and effective experience for their new hires, while big businesses with big software systems reaped the benefits. Seamless onboarding leads to better employee retention and we all know how important that is.

That’s why onboarding software is a key feature of our product for SMBs. We want to help you reduce the time and effort it takes for you to successfully run your onboarding process, paperwork and admin — and as a result, save time and money!

Download The Ultimate Employee Onboarding and Induction Guide now.

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