June 11th, 2024 | Sterling

First Impressions Matter: Creating a Memorable Onboarding Experience

You’ve just decided on your new hire. The background check has been completed, the offer letter has been accepted, and you are about to warmly congratulate them. But what’s next? Are there any basics that they should know before they get to work, or expectations you should make clear to them from the start? What do your candidates really want?

Organizations are quickly learning what candidates don’t want. According to Criteria’s 2023 Candidate Experience report, “54% of candidates have walked away from a job due to poor communication, which continues to be the biggest issue candidates face.”

After the application, the interview, and the background check for employment purposes, onboarding is the final stage in both the hiring process and the candidate experience. Successful onboarding programs fully integrate new hires into the team by incorporating training, goal-setting, managerial feedback, and career development.

Fortunately, HR professionals can learn how to improve their communication and deliver an outstanding onboarding experience by downloading Sterling Backcheck’s eBook, HR’s Guide to Onboarding: From Decision to Day One and Beyond.

Let’s dive into why onboarding is so essential to the success of both your employees and your business.

Onboarding Makes (or Breaks) the Candidate Experience

When candidates think about onboarding, they often remember a hectic first day filled with paperwork and headaches. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Onboarding a new employee is the ideal time to celebrate your new hire and make them feel welcome at your company. That’s why onboarding shouldn’t end when all the paperwork’s done. Instead, effective onboarding is part of a strategic plan to help your new employee excel in their new position.

Onboarding is also a critical part of creating a great candidate experience for your new employees. When onboarding goes well, the benefits from increased employee engagement directly impact your organization’s success. Conversely, a bad onboarding experience could discourage new employees and drive them to start looking elsewhere.

Onboarding Benefits Your Bottom Line

According to Deloitte’s 2023 Global Human Capital Trends report, organizations should be designing their processes for impact. Deloitte’s research found that:

Deliver a Positive Onboarding Experience from Day One

There’s a lot riding on Day One, whether the role is in-person, hybrid, or remote. It’s important to consider just how important this day is for your newest hire.

Starting a new job can be overwhelming. There are so many new faces and names to memorize while learning the ins-and-outs of the workplace. But onboarding is more than just the start of an exciting journey with your organization. For the employer, the onboarding process is also an opportunity to fully bring new employees into the company’s culture and to let them know that there’s always someone ready to help, and that the company is thrilled to welcome them.

How do engaged employees benefit your business? According to Talent Board’s 2022 North American Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, benefits include:

  • Increased ROI and productivity
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Stronger company culture
  • Positive employee referrals and brand loyalty

Discover innovative ways to increase employee engagement in our new Onboarding Guide.

Invest in HR Technology for a Smoother Onboarding Experience

Relying too heavily on manual processes can lead to bottlenecks and leave new employees with a negative first impression. By investing in a robust HR solution to streamline the onboarding process, you can ensure a positive experience right from the beginning.

HR technologies enable the creation of customizable onboarding programs that can be tailored based on your needs. It might be possible, for instance, to set automatic reminders to contact candidates at certain touchpoints. Steps like the background check and digital identity verification can be integrated into the onboarding process to let your new employees know that your company is concerned with workplace safety and wants to build an authentic culture.

While many believe that technology and automation result in a more impersonal approach to HR management, the reality is often quite the opposite. By automating routine manual tasks, HR technologies can reduce errors and delays. Not only does this improve the new employee’s experience, but it also frees up time for HR and line managers to focus on what they do best: training and fostering connections with new employees.

While searching for an HR technology platform, you should take into account common employee concerns and expectations. If you plan on integrating your background checks for employment purposes with the rest of your onboarding process, you’ll want to make sure that you select a platform compatible with your background check provider’s services. Discover some helpful tips for choosing a solution that’s right for your organization in our HR Guide to Onboarding.

Keep on Track with Our 30/60/90 Day Onboarding Plan

Onboarding goes well beyond the first day. Official onboarding programs can run anywhere from one week to 90 days — or even longer. How can HR professionals stay on target?

When designing a great onboarding experience, it’s helpful to have a timetable covering everything you’ll need to cover with your new hire during the first few months. A 30/60/90-day Onboarding Plan acts as a clear roadmap for your new hire, letting them know what your organization’s expectations are during their first 90 days. Breaking down your new employee’s learning process into 30-day increments allows new employees to focus on learning certain skills at specific times, which makes it less overwhelming than if they were to tackle everything at once.

Implementing a 30/60/90 Day Plan will help increase employee engagement while making sure the new employee understands their responsibilities and expectations from the first day. Having this plan will help your new hires smoothly transition from a newbie into a full team contributor.

Sterling’s 30/60/90-day Onboarding Plan can be found on page 18 of the Onboarding Guide, which also includes a helpful checklist featuring several onboarding best practices to help you avoid last-minute mix-ups while setting the stage for success.

Build an Authentic Culture Through Trust and Safety

Every hire should be a celebration for both the candidate and employer. The employer should look forward to adding a new member who reflects the company culture and values to their team, while the new hire should be excited about their new career and confident they have been provided with all the tools they need to succeed.

First impressions matter, which is why we enable our clients to make smarter, faster hiring decisions so they can take the next step with their candidates and employees. Learn how to make your new hires a full part of the team in our new HR Guide to Onboarding.

Download the guide here.

If you have any questions about onboarding or background checks for employment purposes, contact us.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.