Onboarding affects every member of your team. Existing employees know they’ll be expected to answer questions and show new hires the ropes. Meanwhile, new hires have to absorb tremendous amounts of new information.

A poorly constructed onboarding process that is missing key elements keeps new hires from reaching their full potential, and it can frustrate existing employees and sap their morale.

Fortunately, you can establish a world-class onboarding process by closing any gaps that might currently exist. Here’s what your onboarding process might be missing, and what you can do to fix it:

1. A Clear Timeline

Onboarding can wreak havoc on your schedule. Training new employees means longer days and/or postponing project deadlines. By plotting out a clear timeline for the onboarding process, you can bring new employees up to speed without sacrificing quality of work in other areas of the organization.

When the onboarding process follows a set timeline, new hires know exactly what is expected of them during their first week, month, year, and so on. This information guides new hires as they focus on acclimating to the company and performing to the best of their abilities.

Setting an onboarding timeline also benefits current employees. They’ll know exactly where a new employee is in the training process and will be better able to offer relevant insights as a result.

2. Clear Goals and Expectations

In addition to a clear timeline, new hires need clear goals and a solid understanding of what is expected of them. Rushing through the onboarding process or leaving out important details with the intention of presenting that information at a later date only sets new workers up for failure. At the least, they’ll end up making preventable mistakes. At the worst, they’ll slack off or even quit.

Ensure new employees have a firm grasp on the goals and expectations for their role before they begin working. This gives new hires a chance to ask questions and address concerns before their first day on the job.

When employees know exactly what is expected of them, they become better at their jobs and more involved in company processes. In the “2016-2017 State Of Enterprise Work” report from Workfront, 23 percent of respondents said having a better understanding of work processes improves their productivity.

leavesOne way to ensure new employees fully understand work requirements is through job shadowing. When new hires are given the chance to shadow more seasoned colleagues, they can see workplace processes in action. This is a much more effective learning method than simply explaining to a new hire what the company’s processes are.

3. A Personal Approach

Stress runs high during a new hire’s first few weeks on the job. One way to alleviate that stress is by demonstrating to new employees that they were hired for reasons beyond their skills and qualifications.

Take a personal approach when onboarding new hires. Begin by reaching out to the new hire before their start date to discover some of their questions and concerns. You can create an individual approach to onboarding based on that feedback.

For instance, if a new worker is concerned they’ll struggle with learning technology used on the job, provide them with resources so they can begin their own research. If a new hire seems hesitant about learning certain aspects of operations, provide them with an example of a completed project that outlines the steps leading up to the final product.

4. A Welcoming Environment

Onboarding doesn’t have to be boring. Make the process fun for everyone in the office by turning it into a team-building opportunity.

In the 2017 CultureIQ report, 91 percent of respondents said they consider their coworkers friends. You can help forge these relationships from a new hire’s very first day through innovative onboarding activities, like scheduling a company picnic with games and prizes or decorating the office according to the new hire’s passions (e.g., a favorite sports team or TV show).

Everyone benefits when you create a complete and inclusive onboarding process. New hires begin work confident in their abilities, whereas current workers see how their assistance directly benefits the new hires and the company as a whole. As a company leader, you get peace of mind that the right person for the job was hired and given the necessary tools to succeed.

Andre Lavoie is CEO of ClearCompany.

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