Looking at onboarding a new employee, it's not just about giving them a sweet welcome pack and helping them find the best coffee nearby. Those things definitely help, but there's a lot more to the onboarding process than that if you want to have an employee onboarded in a way that is efficient, valuable and likely to get everyone up to speed and collaborating as soon as possible.
A huge element that we don't talk about enough is getting the right data and information from your employees early in the process, understanding what questions are important and assembling them in a way that makes it easy for your bright sparks to answer and get through before they even set foot on site on their first ever day.
We've been working on our own onboarding questionnaire, and there are some fantastic questions we've picked up on that could have an impact on your hiring and HR:
What are you excited about in your new role?
This is a great question to get a feel for the energy and anticipation your new hires have. If you can understand where their head is at coming on board, it's going to help with retention and employee satisfaction, and that can go a long way. The hard part is making sure people don't feel unwelcome pressure or pain to answer this one!
Is there anything making you feel concerned or apprehensive?
If you can get some honest answers here, you'll be able to shift the environment where possible, provide more information or support, or just find a way to be sensitive to the needs of your new staff. You can also set off a culture in which people are able to have open and frank conversations about their needs and about their struggles, and the long term benefits of that are going to be obvious. People who resolve issues and ask for help are effective staff.
What can we do to help you master your new role?
The great thing about this question is that not only does it give you a chance to find a way to be more helpful, it also provides your staff with a chance to think about the needs of their own role which is going to make them more likely to work effectively and more comfortable in asking for valuable resources.
Is there anything you wish we had asked you in the interview process?
This one always helps you to feed right back into your systems and processes around how you bring new staff onboard and find incredible talent. If you can understand what's working and what's not working from your talent's perspective, you can fix problems that you might not even have seen yet.
Would you like to schedule a time prior to starting to discuss any personal or confidential needs that you'd like to see met?
Every single staff member is going to be different and will have different needs in order to be happy and to be comfortable. Safety matters to folks, and whether it's about their identity, their health or their emotional or mental wellness, this is a question that can allow them to communicate in a way that is easy, clear and calm. We've found this question can really allow folks to settle in nicely and have an understanding that they are welcome.
Does the job description you were first shown match your perception of the role you've accepted?
Scope creep is a real thing, and it often worries new starters. People sign up for a job because they believe they have the skills to complete their work, and when the job description shifts it can lead to them feeling like their position isn't stable or their priorities are in flux.
Reaching the end of your employees' first week, it's worth considering some other questions too, just to wrap up and give them a chance to share more of their ideas and their experiences:
✅ Were you happy with your recruitment and interview process?
✅ How was the first impression that the company made on you through our people and our culture?
✅ Have you been given the knowledge and training opportunities and tools you need in order to succeed?
✅ What could we have done better?