Company Culture Series: Post 5 of 5

Employee Onboarding Done Right

If you’re going to revamp your company culture the right way, you can’t ignore the onboarding process. Thinking back on their own experiences, many workers will no doubt remember their onboarding process as a hazy cloud of WHMIS, health and safety awareness training and office tours. Part of the problem is the blurred lines around the process, so let’s clear some things up; onboarding:

1. Is not just orientation:

A welcoming orientation is an effective component to an onboarding process but bringing on a new worker requires more than telling them where the bathrooms are.

2. Is about more than legislative requirements:

Getting your workers aware of their rights and responsibilities as they pertain to workplace safety is very important. Making sure your workplace meets its accessibility goals is becoming more and more important as workplaces are becoming aware of the barriers faced by people with disabilities. Onboarding, however, should not be reduced to what may be legally prescribed by your region.

3. Is not just for new hires:

While new hires will likely represent the bulk of your onboarding focus, your existing employees will (hopefully) grow with the company. As existing employees get promoted, they may find themselves in new departments and even using brand new skills. It’s important to make sure that an employee promoted to a position in management conducts themselves in line with your standards. As such, they will need time to be properly transitioned into the role.

In short, onboarding is the process of integrating someone fully into your workplace. This means making sure they understand the workplace, their role and the overall mission of the company. Depending on the area of onboarding, you will have to adapt the focus of your onboarding. An employee being promoted into a supervisor’s role may not need the full orientation package, but if they are in Ontario, they will need to complete supervisor’s health and safety awareness training. This supervisor may not need a full introduction to the company’s cultural goals, but they may need to understand how their responsibilities to culture-building have changed with their new position.

Considering this, what can you do to improve your onboarding experience?

Provide adaptable standards for onboarding within the company

Over the course of this article we’ve looked at onboarding through the broad lens of new hires and promotions, but your company will have its own specific needs. Onboarding new employees in a warehouse will look different than onboarding in a call center, and some workplaces will have multiple types of workplace environments under one roof. Make sure all these environments share a standard for how employees will be integrated but leave enough room for those conducting orientation and training to effectively carry out their training.

Determine how long your process will last

Onboarding doesn’t end after training. Broadly speaking, onboarding ends when an employee can carry out their work to company standards and understands the culture. This can take months and may even pass the year mark.  Determine the measurable goals of your onboarding process and come up with a realistic timeframe for an employee to get “up to speed”.

Integrate your onboarding into performance reviews

Depending on how your company conduct performance reviews (both formal and informal), a new hire may be sitting down with a supervisor/team lead and reviewing their progress. Make sure your company standards take into account the onboarding process and that this is consideration is communicated to that employee at the time of the review. The last thing you want to do is give a worker the impression that they are being brought into a no-win situation where they must cram months of experience into weeks.

Open up to feedback

As always, make sure you’re keeping an open line for worker feedback. As your company grows, new legislative requirements are enacted and goals shift, you want to make sure you are keeping your culture adaptive and responsive to these changes. Make sure you are getting feedback from both the trainers and those they train.

Get help (if needed)

The guidance of an experienced HR consulting firm can help you along with this process. Whether it’s establishing an onboarding system for the first time, or retooling an existing system, a fresh set of experienced eyes can make all the difference in getting your employees integrated as effectively as possible.

If you would like more information feel free to contact us at

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