4 Steps to Design Your Onboarding Program

For many organizations, an onboarding process for new hires is kind of a secondary consideration. You’ve got people doing work, you’ve hired someone to do work, all you need to do is bridge the gap from the latter to the former. Get them in the door, have them fill out all the paperwork, and “teach them the job,” whatever that means.

But workplaces that have dedicated onboarding programs with real structure and intentional design often find that their hires are working more effectively, more quickly, all while requiring fewer resources be diverted from other pressing tasks. But if you’ve never designed a formalized and structured onboarding program, where do you begin?

Thinking about your onboarding program intentionally is the place to start, and thankfully there are steps you can follow to design an onboarding proogram that saves you stress, saves the company money, and reduces the likelihood of turnover during the crucial first year.

1. Identify what every new hire needs


What does your onboarding process currently look like? There’s a good chance that it’s a basic checklist of everything your organization needs to fulfill your legal duties and everything your new hire needs to get acclimated to the new position. You might run down this checklist and see things like…

  • Give new hire building access and print ID badge
  • Share logins and security credentials
  • Have new hire sign up for company health insurance
  • Introduce new hire to direct manager and immediate team
  • Give new hire tour of the office and campus
  • Training on specific job duties and software

Of course, all of this is vitally important to the success of a new hire within the organization, and it’s great that you have it in place. But for a truly effective onboarding program, this should only be the first step, as there’s so much more that can be done to ensure you’re bringing on new people in a way that not only sets them up for success, but maximizes your organizational efficiency both in terms of time and money.


2. Make a timeline of important events and check-ins

Onboarding is about so much more than just the first day on the job, and the best onboarding programs not only take that into account, but map out exactly what needs to be accomplished and when. This map can (and should!) start well before the first day, going back as far as the moment of the offer letter. From here, you can make your timeline of the touchpoints your company will have with a new hire.

Obviously every company is different, but some common points on this timeline might be:

  • The offer letter or call
  • The first day tour
  • Initial 1-on-1’s with coworkers and management
  • First project or solo job responsibility
  • First-year anniversary
  • First promotion
  • 10-year anniversary

These are the points that may seem tertiary to you, but are crucial touchpoints to supporting a new hire and building a long-lasting tenure. Thinking of these not just as boxes to be ticked, but as an “empathy map” to be followed will help create a culture that encourages engagement, career development, and longevity within the organization.


3. Implement onboarding technology to build your program


The best-laid plans mean nothing, however, if you don’t have the systems in place to implement them–and that’s where onboarding technology comes to the rescue. Rather than spending countless hours training your trainers, who you then have to simply trust to follow the process and impart the necessary information efficiently, completely, and effectively, new onboarding software lets you build your onboarding program from the ground up in a way that gives you consistent results.

With onboarding technology, you can create modules for every task that needs to get done, set up timelines to ensure that they’re taken care of at the exact right moments in a new hire’s progression, and give new employees the tools, lessons, and quizzes needed to learn everything on their own time and in their own way. Doing so will save you money on payroll by letting your existing employees and management get back to work sooner, will increase your efficiency by getting new hires up-to-speed faster than before, and decrease turnover by crafting a branded program that makes all new hires feel welcome, included, and invested in the organizational culture.


4. Test, test, and test your onboarding process


Now that you have everything in place with your onboarding program, you’re good to go, right? Not quite! Just like how onboarding is an ongoing system that should support your new hires throughout their tenure, designing an onboarding process is a job that never truly ends. After all, even the best of intentions don’t produce infallible results right away, and your thoughtfully designed onboarding process will inevitably need tweaking and iterating to perfect.

A great benefit of onboarding technology is that it makes the process so systematic, and gives you a central portal to collect and analyze data about the process. For every onboarding cycle, you should be looking back at the data your onboarding software collects so that you can see exactly what works, what could be improved, and what needs immediate changing. And as you make these changes, go back to the data and ensure that they’re fixing the problem–the data you collect allows for a scientific, testing-based approach that will lead your organization to success!


RedCarpet onboarding technology sets your team up for success


SilkRoad Technology enables people to thrive in a changing workplace, and SilkRoad’s RedCarpet onboarding technology is an industry leader in engaging, training, and developing new hires and existing employees to ensure that your organization is running as efficiently and productively as possible every single day.

To learn more about our talent management software and see how RedCarpet onboarding technology can help you hire, train, and retain the top talent in your industry, contact SilkRoad Technology today.