Businesses onboard new people and augment their workforce all year round. Industry specifics aside, these days the market is more favorable to employees than employers, a change that has prompted a new set of challenges for hiring managers. One of the most important components of efficient hiring is a refined onboarding process, something this blog discusses in detail.
Table of Content
- What is Onboarding?
- The Importance of Effective Employee Onboarding
- Maintaining an Onboarding Checklist
- Follow Onboarding Best Practices
- Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s dive in
What is Onboarding?
The first step, especially for professionals new to their workforce management roles, is to understand what the process actually entails. Properly known as the organizational socialization process, the mechanism enables new hires to acquire the information, behavioral cues, and skills needed to integrate into their new roles within your organization. A smooth, structured process allows new hires to quickly adjust to their responsibilities and become effective and productive members of your business workforce more efficiently. The specifics of the actual process may vary by industry as well as from organization to organization.
The Importance of Effective Employee Onboarding
An effective onboarding process has several distinct and important advantages for any business. For one thing, it reduces the time required for a new employee to adjust to his or her role and responsibilities. The faster an employee makes this adjustment, the fewer resources go to waste in the midst of this transition. This contributes to an immediate and positive impact on workforce efficiency, as positions are occupied by well-trained talent with the right mindset and a clear understanding of their job roles.
Another crucial impact of an effective mechanism is that it reduces the time it takes for an individual to adjust to your distinct corporate environment. All businesses have their own set of values, norms, practices, icons, and rituals that manifest in the workplace. The more prepared a new employee is for their new environment, the easier it is for them to adjust to it. This preparedness reduces any initial friction or social bottlenecks your new hires might otherwise face.
Maintaining an Onboarding Checklist
A checklist for the onboarding process normally enables organizations to identify and react to any bottlenecks in the process. These checklists may vary from company to company, (or firm to firm if you use a staffing agency) but they usually have several points of concentric interest. Below follow the basic points any checklist for onboarding new hires should revolve around:
- A warm, courteous welcome to new hires.
- Clearly visible start date, time, and location.
- Share the first day’s schedule.
- State the documents required for onboarding.
- Cover the appropriate office dress code briefly.
- Identify the point of contact for new hires.
- Share a copy of the employee handbook.
- Attach a brief overview of your organization.
Follow Onboarding Best Practices
Organizations follow a diverse set of strategies when it comes to onboarding new employees. The checklist above serves as a guideline for what your protocol should look like. However, if you want your policy to be as effective as possible, you may also need to look into the following best practices:
The first step is to clearly define the goals of your program. You need to give careful thought to the image you want to present to your new hires. The idea is to project a positive and appealing image of your company culture and workplace environment. That means all the messaging you send out to new hires should conform to these goals.
Day 1 Planning
The first day at work is one of the most crucial opportunities to improve the effectiveness of your organizational entry policies. New hires want to feel comfortable in an environment where they can do meaningful work. Make efforts to create a positive first impression, setting the tone for the professional relationship between employer and employee.
Ensure a Manager Meeting in Week 1
Meeting one-on-one with a new manager can be of immeasurable benefit to a brand-new hire. During the first week of employment, the manager and employee should be brought together for a one-on-one discussion. This helps to cement a sense of belonging for the new hire, in addition to expanding his or her internal network within your organization.
Support Authentic Strengths
Many leading researchers believe it makes sense to support new hires in making immediate use of their unique skill sets and strengths from day one. Simply put, employees that are given the opportunity to exercise their strengths from the outset are more likely to apply them to business roles on a regular and recurring basis. This contributes to a sense of empowerment among your new employees.
Give Weight to Social Relationships
Most information that the newest members of your workforce require at the outset of any job is social in nature. Instead of a boring process, there should be a focus on participation, socializing, and having a fulfilling, productive time. A good strategy to encourage all of these is to let all new hires work in small groups with a purpose to identify what they need to know. Once done, the groups might solicit the information they need by talking to volunteer members of your staff. After a few days, the groups should meet again to discuss the implementation of the information that was shared. This social exercise helps to make the process relevant, fun, and conducive to retention.
Create a Mentorship Program
A mentorship program partners your new hires with a designated mentor. This helps to ease the transition into new roles and a new environment. Mentorship programs enable the sharing of knowledge and information, allowing employees to quickly learn about key processes and responsibilities. These programs often help new hires become more invested within your organization in a shorter period of time.
Put a Buddy System in Place
A mentor system is a great option, but you can also leverage a buddy system. The buddy system works by designating fellow workers as buddies for new and incoming employees. The buddy helps new hires integrate into their new workplace faster and more efficiently. If a full-time buddy is something that slows down operational efficiency, you can also assign new hires to observe specific workers for defined periods. This offers a hands-on experience to make for an easier transition.
Blend Various Formal Practices
Formalizing your organizational entry practices has a positive impact on how well your new hires socialize with other members of your workforce. Hiring managers need to put a significant emphasis on multiple techniques to encourage socialization within your organization. The trick is to avoid a confusing mish-mash of practices; instead, strive to create a structured blend that contributes to employer branding.
Gather Onboarding Feedback
Of course, a siloed organization is bound to stagnate over time. To combat this tendency, a good onboarding structure will offer multiple opportunities and outlets for new hires to submit their feedback. The choice of medium, whether informal discussions or online survey forms, is up to you. The purpose is to gather and analyze data that you can utilize to continually refine your onboarding process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps in onboarding?
Complete paperwork, clarify responsibilities, establish follow-up meetings, use a buddy system, project company culture, and follow a defined roadmap.
What is an onboarding checklist?
It is a list of all necessary steps to help a new employee transition into their organizational role.
What is the difference between onboarding and training?
Onboarding focuses on integrating new members into the workforce while training focuses on preparing them for their technical responsibilities.
What is the difference between orientation and onboarding?
Orientation is an initial stage of the onboarding process, which is itself an ongoing engagement building exercise.
Who is responsible for employee onboarding?
The primary responsibility falls to the hiring supervisor.
What does onboarding mean in HR?
Assisting new hires in adjusting to the new organization’s culture as well as their defined roles within it.
What is the onboarding process for new hires?
An ongoing process involving integrating them into the workplace, engaging with them, and helping them adjust to their new roles and responsibilities.
Image Credit: Photo by yanalya