Image via Flickr by Andre Charland

The onboarding process is equal parts paperwork and making a good first impression. In addition, plenty of policy-reading and some training exercises are thrown in for good measure.

To make the most of a new co-worker’s first days, you need to maximize the parts that benefit the office and minimize the time used to sign and date. Bringing the office into the 21st century helps, in no small part because it updates office culture and emphasizes the fun side of the workplace.


1. Create Office-Centric Learning Materials for a Better Onboarding Process

Learning company policy is essential, but one of the reasons the onboarding process can hit a snag is because of a lack of familiarity with the physical office. Designate your friendliest, most engaging employees as office tour guides to introduce new hires to their colleagues, show them how to get to the restrooms and cafeteria, and fill them in on any scuttlebutt they need to know. Your wide-eyed co-workers will appreciate the interaction with friendly faces during their first few days.

Design an office network that works similarly to Facebook. You can even make a Facebook group for the office, although some employees might not want to mix their social media platforms with their professional lives. There are alternatives to Facebook, however, such as Slack, Skype, or Gchat. By creating a network and inviting new employees to join it, they can get to know other office tidbits, as well as the names of their colleagues.

2. Implement the Four C’s in Your Onboarding Process

In general, any mnemonic devices can help things run more smoothly. When onboarding recent hires, following the Four C’s helps to keep everyone on track.

The first C is for compliance, wherein you introduce incoming employees to the company’s policies and rules, as well as any office-wide regulations. Clarification is next; it involves letting new hires know what you expect of them regarding their responsibilities, goals, and conduct. The third C consists of explaining the culture of your office and your company. The final C stands for connection. As the name implies, it’s the act of helping each employee forge relationships and create business opportunities. It helps every hire get to know people within the office and the company, as well as clients and consumers.

3. Streamline the Paperwork Process

Paperwork is more than just tedious. It leaves ample room for human error. Handwriting is messy, information is misread, and forms go to the wrong recipients or get lost from one place to another. Rather than handing over a stack of forms and assorted paperwork to intimidate a new hire upon arrival, create an online network that streamlines and digitizes the process.

You can customize the fields on each form to minimize the risk of error. That’s ideal for sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers. You can also create a secure place for a valid e-signature. Signing online is more convenient and more efficient. It’s also helpful to have employees’ signatures on file.

4. Get Things Ready for the First Day

No one’s ever too old to receive a welcome basket. Even if you don’t go that far, it’s proactive to prepare incoming hires for their first day. Pick out a cubicle or office for each person joining the office and get their desks ready for their arrival. Set up the computers, connect them to the network, and download any essential software. Hook up the phone and equip the desk with notepads, pens, pencils, and additional office supplies.

5. Start Early with the Onboarding Process

Once you have a workplace community and an office network in place, you can send information to new employees before they start. Anything they can do before their first day saves time they can devote to in-office training that’s relevant to their position. You can even give them the ability to upload their pictures for badge photos. This is also a time when they can fill out insurance information, bank information for direct deposit, and other essential details.

The onboarding process is a mix of paperwork, training, and networking. Expediting the more tedious tasks, such as filling out forms, and making the office as welcoming as possible are key ways to speed up the process. What do you find helpful when welcoming new hires?