The onboarding process is an essential HR function, but it’s also an integral part of your company culture. The first days and weeks of a new hire’s employment give you an opportunity to introduce them to the business and its processes, thereby helping set the tone for your staff members’ work life.

As such, it’s important to give your employees a streamlined, informative experience and provide them the resources they need to be productive as soon as possible. But like any aspect of your business that has to be repeated time and again, it’s easy to let onboarding become stale.

Here are three ways you can upgrade your company’s onboarding process to optimize the employee’s experience and your business’s results.

Streamline Your Workflow

Starting a new employee relationship is exciting, but it’s also full of time-consuming paperwork and other tasks that no one particularly loves. If you examine your onboarding workflow and find ways to streamline it, you can help keep employees from getting bogged down in these to-dos.

Make sure someone is ready to welcome the new employee and escort them to their manager, and have their work station set up and ready to go. Leave them an organizational chart, team lists, an employee handbook, a phone directory and other resources they’ll need to get started.

As the process gets underway, assign personnel to specific aspects of the onboarding experience. Select an HR representative to be the point person for helping the employee complete their paperwork, and have the new staff member’s manager introduce them to their team and their new role. Make sure that everyone understands what part they have to play and what’s required of them.

Stay In Touch

Getting an employee up to speed takes longer than a few days or weeks. Have managers schedule follow-up meetings at specific, regular intervals with the employee, such as the end of the employee’s first two weeks and then every 30 days for a specified period, depending on the complexity of the job. Managers should get input on the employee’s progress during these meetings.

Each employee should also have clear short-term and long-term goals and ways to measure success. Consider providing them a document with these goals outlined, and set up a reporting system to track their progress.

Evaluate Your Process

Onboarding is a two-way street: The employee has to do their part to hit the ground running, and the business has to give them the tools they need to succeed. As such, it’s essential to know if you’re holding up your end of the deal.

Solicit employee input about your onboarding process. Once they’re fully up to speed, set up a post-onboarding debrief where you can find out what they consider important and what they think about the way things were presented. Ask them for feedback on the value of the training process, as well as suggestions for improvement, and discuss their comments with other managers to determine if you need to adjust anything about your system.

What your new employee learns in their first few weeks will help them settle smoothly into their new role and handle the challenges they’ll face. Taking the time to make your process informative, logical and as helpful as possible will let you ensure each employee that you add to your team can bring their best to your business.

Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.