Onboarding new hires well is essential for retention, productivity and healthy company culture.
If onboarding doesn’t happen or is done poorly, you’ll likely run into avoidable mistakes, bottlenecks and distractions.
A standardized onboarding process is especially important for remote and hybrid teams — because they miss out on some of the non-verbal cues that happen during in-person training, and sometimes have more barriers to asking questions and getting resources than an in-person worker would.
According to Sapling, implementing an onboarding process that includes standardized processes, socialization and an introduction to company culture can result in improved retention rates by up to 82 percent.
Onboarding UX is what each new hire experiences as they transition from applicant to employee and go through the company’s onboarding process.This can include anything from filling out tax forms to learning about the company and their role.
A well-designed onboarding UX has the power to help employees retain the information they need, feel a sense of belonging at the company and experience greater job satisfaction.
In this post, we'll break down what it takes to create a great onboarding UX design.
1. Get acquainted
It's important to get acquainted with the new hire and their background during onboarding.
Incorporate some standard questions into the process to help you understand the employee as a person and how they’ll fit in at your company.
Some questions to ask the new employee might be:
- Do you have any previous experience using a CRM tool such as Salesforce?
- What are your goals for your new position and how can we help you achieve them?
- What are your expectations regarding your role?
Giving the employee a chance to talk about their experience, goals and aspirations also makes the onboarding process more engaging and memorable — plus it helps them feel committed to the company’s mission and goals.
2. Provide training
Training provides the new employee with information about:
- The company
- Its products.
- How to use company software systems.
… and anything else required for the job. Training’s a necessary phase of onboarding but it can also be one of the most time-consuming parts of the process.
Transferring knowledge is not always straightforward because people learn in different ways.
Some people just need to hear an explanation while others need to see it visually and still, others learn by doing.
Further, onboarding training isn’t just for new hires. Anytime a new tool is implemented company-wide, you need to train all employees so they’ll become familiar and confident in using it. This is called cross-boarding.
Scribe top tip: Using Scribe’s documenting tool allows you to create clear, customized onboarding training guides in minutes. Saving time on onboarding training means you’ll have more time to focus on other aspects of onboarding such as one-on-one coaching.
Ideally, onboarding is more than just training — it’s a two-way conversation where both sides share information about what to expect and how to meet those expectations.
Onboarding is about getting the new employee up to speed on the job — the things they need to know in order to do their job well — but it also involves answering questions such as:
- What kind of culture do you have here?
- Where can I find my desk?
- What time do we start work each day?
- How many vacation days do I get per year?
A great onboarding UX ensures the new employee feels comfortable asking questions and receives the information and resources they need.
3. Define expectations & goals
When creating a new onboarding UX or tweaking an existing one, you'll need to make sure that the goals of each user are clear. This helps every new employee know what success looks like and how they should measure it.
At the same time, you’ll want to outline what the company goals are in regard to onboarding.
When defining goals for the employee, you may want to answer questions like:
- What does success look like in their role?
- What are the daily/weekly/monthly expectations?
- How is their role expected to impact the company as a whole?
- How long will the onboarding process take?
For the company, you should answer questions such as:
- What are the social goals of the onboarding process (e.g., more engagement on a company team collaboration platform such as Slack)?
- What are the productivity goals of the onboarding process (e.g., increased productivity by 20 percent)?
- What results do you want employees to achieve after completing an onboarding program with your company (e.g., higher retention rate)?
4. Encourage socialization & community
Socialization is an important factor in onboarding UX because it gives the new employee a sense of camaraderie and belonging from the start.
You can encourage community, even for remote or hybrid teams, by making it easy for employees to:
- Share content with one another.
- Interact with each other directly through private messages.
- Have specific chat threads for sharing "wins" or supporting co-workers.
- Have a persistent video chat room.
- Encouraging users to join theme-based groups.
- Giving team members the ability to “like,” “share,” or comment on posts.
5. Provide org context
Organizational context is information about how the new employee’s work fits into the bigger mission and goals of the organization and how their role relates to the roles of their coworkers. Essentially, organizational context helps new hires understand how they fit into the company.
Including organizational context in your onboarding process provides your employees with a glimpse of the big picture. When they see how their work contributes to the larger goals of the company, they will feel more confident in their role and more motivated to perform well.
6. Give access to resources in the cloud
In your onboarding process, it is important to provide access to cloud-based resources so that everyone stays on the same page and no work gets lost. This includes everything from email, to the company’s cloud phone system to other productivity tools such as Microsoft 365. Make sure that you include a clear process for accessing these resources so that employees can get started right away.
You can use software such as Scribe to quickly create professional and visually appealing how-to documents that employees can watch on their time to become experts in the company’s cloud resources.
Scribe is a process documentation tool that turns any process into a step-by-step guide.
No one likes making manual documentation — and with Scribe you don't have to. Just turn on the extension and run through your process. Scribe will create a visual guide — complete with text and annotated screenshots — in seconds.
Here's a Scribe in action.
And with Scribe's newest feature, Pages, you can combine Scribes with videos, images and more. Here's an example of an onboarding guide made with Pages
You should also be sure to include information about how employees can get help if they need it. This could be in the form of an FAQ page or even just a short guide on how to use the tools needed for their first day's tasks. Alternatively, you can build up a full knowledge base using Scribe.
7. Be transparent & provide support
Transparency is one of the most important factors that help build trust in a relationship. It’s also a great way to show your employees you care about them as individuals.
Being transparent with your new hires during onboarding could mean anything from being open about what the employee can expect in terms of growth opportunities or career development, to helping them find a mentor within the organization.
Transparency builds relationships because it shows how much you value each person as an individual with unique interests, goals and aspirations.
When your new employee sees that you trust them enough to be transparent and that they will have the support they need, they’re more likely to display confidence, loyalty and ownership in their new role. They’ll be motivated to live up to your trust and confidence in them. This leads to increases in retention, productivity and employee satisfaction.
Make onboarding UX a no-brainer
We hope this article has given you some ideas for creating a great onboarding UX for your employees. Remember that onboarding isn’t just about training, it’s also about welcoming new hires, providing them with the tools and information they need for success, setting clear expectations, building community and helping employees feel like they belong at your organization.
About the Author
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP, a VoIP comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs