TIP TUESDAY: Tips for Creating an Effective Onboarding Site

Excerpted from an article by Roy Maurer, SHRM online editor/manager

When employers consider building an online onboarding portal, they should first think about the core messages the website will impart to new hires and integrate those ideas into the design components.

The importance of an onboarding portal is obvious. As new hires get ready to start a new job, they are disconnecting from their previous role and are anxious to gain as much information as possible about the new role.

New hires can receive a link for the site upon accepting the job offer. The link then takes them to a landing page full of various resources where the new employee can learn about the organization, the culture of the company and what to expect on the first day.

Getting Started

HR generally wants to get right to work on creating content for onboarding. HR starts focusing on what to share, what checklists people need, forms to fill out. “We would encourage you to peel away from that and stay a little higher,” said one HR consultant. “If we get in to the content first, we are going to lose sight of the greater onboarding purpose. 

HR should first consider Why does my site exist? What is its purpose? Then take it a step or two further – Ask, what does onboarding mean in your organization?

For example, the answer might be to enable your new hires to connect to success.  Making that connection has a direct correlation to engagement and being successful that’s mutually beneficial to the individual and the organization. 

Once a clear vision of what the onboarding site should be has been established, employers need to determine what they will focus on to achieve that vision. Here are three possibilities:

Highlight the culture. We want new hires to understand the culture: What do we believe, what are our values, how do we work with one another?  Hampel said. You could create videos to achieve this aim. Everybody has access to basic technology that can help create these videos, and a YouTube channel is a good outlet for this. But, don’t show new hires only the CEO’s message. New hires generally want to see the folks they will be working with, not the CEO. Show them what it’s actually like to work there. Use real examples and real stories.

Build relationships. Work gets done by collaborating with other people in the organization. The faster you can make those connections and help build those relationships, the faster you will allow new employees to be productive. Including photos in the online directory so that when a new employee starts to see people, they look a little familiar. Purposeful meet-and-greets are another good relationship-builder. Don’t just take the person around and introduce them on the first day.

Gather feedback. This is the component that is most often missing from onboarding programs. There’s a lot of feedback on the logistical process: Did you get what you needed? Did you complete your forms? But these things won’t let you reach your objective of connecting new hires to success.