The value of a well-written onboarding pack

by Darren Clare

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If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to adapt to stay relevant. Whether that’s changing products, prices – or even their full proposition, those who stand still, fall behind. Part of that adaption may include restructuring the business or expanding to tackle new markets. Either way, you could find yourself needing to hire some fresh talent. The hiring process can be gruelling – you’ve worked your way through hundreds of CVs and interviewed tens of people to find the right fit for your business. So, it’s common to breathe a sigh of relief and feel like that’s the end of the process. But until that new hire feels like an integral part of the team, the hiring process isn’t finished. This is where a robust onboarding process really makes a difference. In fact, according to Glassdoor, organisations with a stellar onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. So, you know the process should be robust – but how do you achieve that? Your onboarding content, and how well it’s written, can play a critical role. Here we outline some of the benefits of taking the time to perfect your content.

1. Your new staff member will feel like part of the team from day one

Starting a new job can be daunting. In companies large and small there will be new systems to learn, new processes to master and even new ways of speaking (acronym anyone?) to understand. A carefully crafted onboarding kit that outlines your company’s vision, values and future plans will help new starters understand your business and feel part of the team from the outset. You could even include a jargon-buster section which translates the internal lingo they might encounter. There’s a fine balance to achieve here – you don’t want to come across as over-friendly, casual or cringey. After all, this is a business document. But you do want to instil a feeling of togetherness and cohesion. A must for any onboarding pack is to ensure you’re using inclusive language. This allows you to ‘show’ not just ‘say’ that you’re an equal opportunities employer. By using copy that treats all reading it with respect, dignity and impartiality you are showing what you’re expecting of your new starter too.

2. New hires will know where they stand

As well as the fun stuff, the onboarding document should contain important details about expected workplace conduct, specific training that may need to be undertaken and various business ‘dos and don’ts’. Whilst this doesn’t seem like the most fun thing to write about, it’s one of the most crucial. It’s tempting for companies to shy away from the most prescriptive rules, after all – you want your new starter to feel excited about their new role – not like they’ve just enrolled in a bootcamp. So inviting cooperation with company rules, rather than taking a preachy tone is crucial. Expert writing can make all the difference here. But being clear about what is and isn’t accepted within your business helps new employees understand straight away what’s expected from them.

3. You can let your personality pop

Your brand is far more than a ToV guidelines document that sits on the server gathering dust. It’s how you present yourself to your consumers and beyond. The key ingredient to a successful, long-lasting brand is through your employees, not fancy billboard adverts. Therefore, ensuring that your brand comes to life in your onboarding pack is vital. If you want your employees to live and breathe your brand – they need to be onside from day dot.
Use this pack as a chance to say not just what your brand is, but why. The more new starters can understand why you say apples instead of pears, or why you never, ever use orange – the more easily they’ll adopt the practises for themselves.

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