How to Create the Best Onboarding Experiences for Your Employees

by Mike Tannian on July 14, 2022

Find out how your public sector organization can use software to create the best employee onboarding experiences for new hires.

Article Highlights

The best employee onboarding experiences make new employees feel like part of the team from day one. A good process orients new hires with an onboarding checklist and provides guidance so they know exactly what to expect in their first few weeks. It also ensures they know who to contact with questions and are never left wondering what comes next. 

A great onboarding experience also allows employees to connect more deeply with their new employer branding. Onboarding branding should communicate your agency’s values, internal processes, organizational culture, and communication norms. This provides new hires with a sense of camaraderie and an attachment to their agency and internal team culture. 

If you don’t take the time to cultivate a positive employee experience during the onboarding process, it might come back to haunt you. Since 20% of turnover occurs before an employee even reaches the end of their second month on the new job, you need to make a positive impression from the start. 

In this article, we’ll cover three key problems employers face when onboarding a new employee — and how you can overcome them to create your best onboarding experiences using NEOGOV’s Onboard.  

Problem 1: Inability to Immerse New Hires in Agency Culture Before Day 1

New hires don’t enter your organization as a blank slate. Every new employee brings along his or her past experiences. In many cases, this is a great way to broaden the perspectives of your organization and learn new ways of approaching problems and their solutions. 

But if you’re not careful, a new hire can bring unwanted baggage into your organization too, especially if she hasn’t always had a positive experience in the workforce. For example, your new employee may have previously worked for a bad boss (or two) and could be so used to micromanagement that she doesn’t know how to take initiative on their own. 

For this reason, it’s key that organizations engage new hires with agency culture before their first day on the job. A structured onboarding process ensures that new hires understand their new company culture and organizational structure so that they don’t revert to unwelcome patterns. 

The solution

NEOGOV’s employee onboarding software, Onboard, immerses new hires in your agency’s culture — before they even attend an orientation program. After signing into the onboarding self-service portal, new hires are greeted with customizable welcome messages, informational videos, and company logos. This means even employees who undertake remote onboarding can get a sense of your culture as they complete each onboarding task. 

Your new hire can also view items like org charts so they understand their chain of command and team structure, as well as contact information for supervisors and assigned mentors. Not only does this create a sense of team cohesion from the start, but seeing how your team works together can also help your new hire better understand his or her own roles and responsibilities.

This is particularly significant since clear expectations can improve your employee retention rate. In fact, 23% of individuals that left their jobs within six months said they may have stayed if they had more clarity around their role. Sharing information like an employee handbook, org charts, and job descriptions is a great way to accomplish this. 

In short, Onboard improves the new hire onboarding experience by: 

  • Immersing employees in organizational culture 
  • Fostering a sense of team cohesion
  • Clarifying expectations for roles and responsibilities from day one

Problem 2: Inconsistent Employer Branding

Despite your best efforts, you may find that you’re losing the battle with consistent employer branding. If you work for an organization that still relies upon manual, paper-based processes, you’re likely spending too much time creating templates, training, forms, and resources to reflect on your agency brand. 

But while you desire consistent messaging, others in your organization may be more lackadaisical in their approach. These different approaches to your employer branding onboarding strategy can be confusing for your new hire and counterproductive when it comes to creating the best onboarding experiences. 

This is especially true if you regularly onboard employees in a remote environment. Without face-to-face interaction or being able to walk through City Hall or another physical location, your new hire relies upon virtual materials to get a sense of your employer brand.  

And while employee onboarding software can help, not all solutions are created equal. Some onboarding solutions don’t offer a self-service portal, meaning you have to wait until a new hire’s first day to engage them with your employer branding. Other software systems don’t provide customization options, making it impossible for you to show off what makes your organization unique or cater branding efforts to a new hire’s specific role or department.  

The solution

Fortunately, NEOGOV’s systems are highly configurable. Using Onboard, you can completely customize the user interface of your employee self-service portal. It’s easy to align sites within your portal, such as the welcome page, to your employer brand by: 

  • Adding custom text, images, and video (like a welcome video)
  • Listing the core values that your organization champions 
  • Showcasing your agency logo or a banner image 
  • Using a custom color scheme, font style, or layout to align with your brand 

Onboard is also intuitive and easy to use, exemplifying another aspect of your culture: its modern approach to the new hire onboarding experience. Combining this experience with some useful company swag is a great way to solidify that your organization is a great place to work. 

Finally, HR administrators can configure unique workflows within this onboarding software, so individuals throughout your organization can contribute to the onboarding process — without interfering with employer branding efforts. Onboard thus enables Human Resources professionals to create a consistent brand experience for all new hires. 

Problem 3: Lack of Reporting on Onboarding Experience

Perhaps you’ve received feedback from new employees that they had a poor onboarding experience. You might even agree that your organization’s approach to onboarding explains why it has such high turnover rates. You know you need to make some sort of change… 

But without the ability to access and report on onboarding experience data, you have no way of knowing how to improve the onboarding experience. Similarly, you can’t tell whether the changes you make to the new hire onboarding experience are actually working if you don’t have metrics to compare. 

The solution

Onboard enables you to identify gaps in your onboarding process using concrete data and reporting functionalities. In addition to standard reports, users can drill down into specific areas of interest by filtering and viewing data according to their needs and key performance indicators. You might use these reporting tools to analyze onboarding satisfaction amongst remote employees or look at other metrics that contribute to effective onboarding programs. 

This Report Builder is included in your service fees (at no additional cost to you) and provides you with complete control to access information when you need it — no need to wait on assistance from a third party to start building the best onboarding experiences. 

NEOGOV also offers an Onboard Health Check, which enables users to identify gaps in your existing employee onboarding process. This tool is based on a set of guidelines we’re calling “The Five C’s of the Best Employee Onboarding Experiences”: 

  1. Compliance: maintaining compliance with state and federal law and any internal policies/procedures
  2. Culture: Showing a new hire what your company values 
  3. Clarity: Being clear about expectations for a new hire’s roles and responsibilities
  4. Connection: Making a new hire feel like part of the team right away
  5. Checkback: Checking in on a regular basis to see how the new employee is adjusting 

The Onboard Health Check analyzes your existing new-hire process, then identifies ways to improve the onboarding experience for employees. This includes enabling widgets within the platform, configuring additional checklists, and even creating other portals to guide the onboarding process. 

Final Thoughts

Successful employee onboarding programs provide new hires with key resources, immerse employees in agency culture from the very start, and allow managers to track progress towards organizational goals. With software like Onboard, you can accomplish all of this (and more) to cultivate the best employee onboarding experiences for new hires

Are you ready to take your organization’s onboarding experience to the next level? Book a free demo to find out how NEOGOV can help today.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Director of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value to public sector HR professionals at every stage in the buying journey.