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4 tips to make your onboarding process more effective

Your company’s onboarding process is your calling card — it tells so much about how you operate as a business, for good or bad.  

That’s why creating the perfect onboarding experience can take so much time and effort, and it’s difficult to know if you got it right.

At Charlie, we’ve been helping small companies streamline their onboarding for years, and we’ve iterated on our own process too, in order to improve retention and employee engagement – that's because we know how important onboarding is.

We know that the perfect onboarding process doesn’t exist, but this guide will at least help you make small, incremental improvements towards:

  • Saving hours of time for every new hire you have to onboard
  • Reducing the risk of them not passing probation (or passing it when they shouldn’t have)
  • Making onboarding a more pleasant experience for new team members, hiring managers and HR team alike

1 - Save yourself hours of admin with onboarding software

Anyone managing the onboarding process manually will testify to how draining and time consuming it can be. You can easily spend most of your day just micromanaging every aspect of someone’s onboarding.

That’s why more and more small businesses decide to get onboarding software right from the start — so they can automate at least the most repetitive aspects of the job (and save some precious time in the process).

These are the benefits of using HR software like Charlie to run onboarding tasks:

  • New employees can fill in their details: give them access to the platform in one click, and they’ll be able to submit their own data (no need to supervise).
  • You can create a customised onboarding flow and roll it out in seconds: build it on the platform and simply trigger it every time someone new joins the company. Everything is centralised: say goodbye to chasing people via email or Slack - with onboarding software all your tasks and communications happen on the platform.
“Charlie’s onboarding couldn’t be easier - the initial set up is really straightforward with plenty of options to customise settings. Similarly, onboarding new team members is also super simple and takes minutes.” Fazina Blanchard, Head of Ops at PCA

If you’d like to have a look around our onboarding feature, you can start a 14-day free trial of Charlie at any time. Or you can explore some of the best onboarding software with our buyers’ guide.

2 - Use checklists to delegate tasks to the right people

With many people from different teams involved in the onboarding process, chaos is always around the corner. How do you ensure all the necessary onboarding steps are completed by the right people at the right time?

At Charlie, we’ve found checklists are key to building an efficient onboarding process:

  • They help you not to miss any important steps: you won’t believe how easy it is to forget to get a new laptop, or miss something on your ‘right to work’ checks.
  • They guarantee your onboarding program is consistent and easy to roll out: you can use the same checklist every time someone new joins the team.

We wrote an extensive guide, complete with templates, on the essential employee onboarding checklists to set you up for success — you may want to have a look.

Also, if you want to make your checklists as easy as possible for your team to use, you may want to look for HR software with built-in checklist functionalities.

For example, with Charlie, you can easily create lists of tasks and assign them to yourself, your team or new starters. These are a great way to keep track of important jobs, delegate to the team and check in on progress, especially in the era of remote onboarding.

Image of onboarding checklists in Charlie
Click here to start a free trial of Charlie

You can also pick from Charlie’s ready-made templates, designed for many use cases (i.e. new starter’s first day, first week, etc.).

Image of checklist templates in Charlie

3 - Ensure new hires are fit for the job with concrete performance goals

An effective onboarding process is not just about reducing admin and streamlining processes.

The ultimate goal is to set your new team member up for success and, as you do, make sure they have what it takes to succeed.

That’s why probation periods are such a key part of any onboarding plan: this is your only opportunity to assess if the new hire is fit for the job. So, how do you go about this?

  1. You can start by looking at the new starter’s role doc and asking yourself: what are the necessary skills and behaviours for someone to thrive and succeed in this role?
  2. Once you have those listed out, you need to think about how to test for those skills and behaviours during the probation period.
  3. Set SMART targets (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) that your new team member will have to meet during their probation period
  4. Book regular one-to-ones to check in on the new starter’s progress towards these targets.

You can use Charlie’s Goals feature to create targets for new starters. Line managers can view their direct reports’ goals in the platform and use them to facilitate their one-to-one meetings.

Video of how goals work in Charlie

4 - Give new hires one place to find all the answers: your company handbook

New starters have to absorb a huge amount of information during their first few months in a company. So, the way this information is organised and shared has a huge impact on how effective the employee onboarding process will be at getting them up to speed.

From your perspective, the best thing you can do is to have a system where new hires can self-serve — so they don’t always have to pass through you when they have a question.

Hosting your employee handbook online is a good example of that — you just have to make sure everyone in your company knows where it is stored (i.e. in your company Drive or Cloud, for instance).

At Charlie, we found that files easily get lost in shared folders, so we made it possible for any company using our HR software to build and store their handbook on the platform itself.  

This makes learning about your company policies much more fun and less of a daunting task for new joiners. And if they ever need to check a specific bit of information in the future, they’ll know where to find it.

Image of company handbook in Charlie

On top of your handbook, you can store all kinds of documents on your HR platform. For example, we give people access to guides about how payroll works and what expenses can be reimbursed. We also include health and safety information and emergency contacts. People can access all this data anytime they need, no matter if they work from the office or remotely.

Would you like to know more about how to create a successful onboarding process with Charlie? Start a 14-day free trial today.

Click here to start a 14-day free trial of CharlieHR

Learn more about onboarding in our complete guide – what is onboarding and get some inspiration for your process with some of the best onboarding experiences out there.