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How to build an effective and successful onboarding strategy

Cultivate a positive onboarding experience for your team.
July 14, 2022
Oyster Team
Woman writing a strategy at a whiteboard

First impressions matter in the business world. While new hires will have already gotten a glimpse into your company during the application and interview processes, onboarding shows them what it will really be like to work for you. Cultivating an effective onboarding strategy is the best way to ensure a positive experience from day one. Here’s a closer look into what that may entail.

What is an onboarding strategy?

Simply put, onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into the company. It typically involves new hires learning about the organization and its values, vision, and culture. Depending on the nature of the organization and the employee’s role, onboarding could take one to two days or up to several months.

While successful onboarding strategies require an investment of time and effort, they’re well worth it. When done properly, onboarding creates a strong foundation for both the employee and the organization. It can boost productivity, foster employee engagement and loyalty, and give new hires the support they need to perform well, even in their early days.  

Tips for onboarding success

Prioritize learning & development

L&D should be central to your onboarding activities. Which onboarding tools will give your new hires the knowledge they’ll need to perform well? For some positions, learning modules may be useful for guiding employees through the software they’ll be using each day. Short, pre-recorded videos can also be useful for communicating broader concepts, such as the organization’s mission and values.

Foster collaboration

The ability to collaborate with other team members will be central to your new hires’ success in the company, and they have to get to know their colleagues before that can happen. Consider implementing ice-breaking strategies, such as chat threads or informal lunches where new hires and veteran employees can mingle.

Maintain a steady pace

It can be tempting to get new hires “up to speed” by shortening the onboarding process as much as possible, but successful onboarding strategies are driven by quality, not speed. Consider breaking onboarding activities down into 30-, 60-, and 90-day intervals so you can create milestones without overwhelming new hires.

Get hiring managers involved

Your onboarding strategy will call for support from multiple departments, and you want to make sure the workload doesn’t fall exclusively on HR. Consider creating an onboarding checklist for hiring managers to reference. This will ensure they’re taking an active role in welcoming their new hire into the organization and establishing a trusting, productive relationship.

Try the buddy system

Everyone learns differently. Some employees prefer being shown what to do over receiving a set of written or verbal instructions. Consider implementing a one-on-one buddy system in which a veteran employee acts as a mentor, guiding the new hire through their tasks and responsibilities for a set period. Not only does this give your new hire more options for learning, but it also helps them get to know the rest of the team and gain insights from people with first-hand experience.

Onboarding remote workers

Remote employee onboarding is nearly the same as traditional onboarding, except that the new hire will be working remotely. Although they won’t be getting used to a new work environment, it’s just as important that they learn about the company and their role so they can be successful.

In many ways, successful remote employee onboarding activities will closely mirror traditional onboarding strategies—you’ll just need to rely on different tools to carry them out. For example, instead of holding an in-person ice breaker, you might use video chats to introduce new hires. It might also make sense to hire new employees in groups when possible. Creating onboarding cohorts will help foster a sense of community, even if employees are dispersed across multiple locations.

It’s especially important not to overwhelm new hires when onboarding remotely. Because they won’t be able to see how the company operates in person, there may be a steeper learning curve. While you can’t use an in-person buddy system, you can still designate a virtual buddy they can turn to online for guidance. 

Consider having the new hire start out with one small project that requires collaboration. Encourage them to ask questions and give feedback. This initial project will help show that they understand expectations and will also give you insights into whether more clarity or support is needed to help them succeed.

Onboarding remote workers in different time zones 

In some cases, remote work arrangements may present unique onboarding challenges when employees are in different time zones. While live sessions and face-to-face connections are important for some interactions, much of onboarding can be completed through self-paced activities.

Organizations can use asynchronous onboarding to help workers in different time zones navigate key activities, such as learning about the company’s core values, HR processes, and basic responsibilities. For instance, you might use an onboarding platform for videos, interactive quizzes, and other types of content. Coupled with live

sessions scheduled strategically to fit each employee’s time zone, as well as routine check-ins via a messaging platform, these tools can allow new hires to navigate much of the onboarding process independently.

How Oyster can help onboard your international teams

Onboarding can be daunting, even when employees are local. Hiring remote teams introduces new, valuable perspectives to your organization, but it can also add complexity to the onboarding process. Oyster simplifies the process by providing your company with a dedicated support team and access to Oyster Academy, which has courses to help teams build core skills that lead to healthy, functional distributed work environments.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

About the Author

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce.

About the Author

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