We are living in an age where people go through many jobs in their life – about a quarter of the working population faces a job transition every year. Being a new employee in any workplace can be tough, but there is also a challenge posed to the employer in ensuring that new employees receive effective onboarding needed to acclimate and thrive in the workplace.
What exactly is onboarding?
Onboarding is the process of helping new employees acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to perform well in their new job. The onboarding process varies from workplace to workplace- It can be informal or formal, and can involve a variety of tools and processes. That being said, it is becoming clear that prioritizing onboarding is a very important factor in employee retention and satisfaction. A good onboarding program will provide new hires with a strong sense of confidence in their job performance, role clarity, knowledge of the organizational culture, and a feeling of belonging.
To better understand the purpose of onboarding, it is helpful to know the outcomes that any onboarding process should strive to achieve:
Compliance: In the legal landscape, policies and regulations are constantly evolving. It is crucial for new hires to understand the current policy-related rules and regulations so that they do not put themselves or the employer at risk of litigation in the future.
Clarity: New hires should begin their new job with a clear sense of their job responsibilities and expectations.
Culture: New hires should have an understanding of both formal and informal organizational norms that exist.
Connection: New hires must begin to establish key relationships and information networks.
What many companies may fail to understand about onboarding is that it is a long process that begins before the new employee is hired, and that it does not end a week or two after the new hire begins work. Because onboarding is meant to be proactive, it should start during the recruiting process. This means being transparent and informative with all candidates. Once an employer has made an offer, the onboarding process continues.
Before the new hire starts work, the employer should take steps to relieve any anxiety and create a positive impression of the organization from the start. This can include providing them with a welcome packet, new hire paperwork and a company directory. Furthermore, the employer should ensure the new hire’s work space is fully prepared and send a company-wide email welcoming the new employee.
During the first week, the employer should help the new hire feel welcomed and get accustomed to the workplace. This includes clarifying job duties and expectations, equipping them with necessary technology, and introducing the new hire to his or her coworkers. It is good to reserve some time for an orientation and a manager meeting during the first few days.
During the first few months, consider investing in more advanced training for the new hire. Be sure the new hire has plenty of opportunities to ask questions and give feedback. After some time has passed, conduct an official performance review.
Successful onboarding requires the investment of time and resources. Many large companies have the adequate resources to implement large-scale onboarding plans- some large companies even have somebody working exclusively on onboarding. For small and medium sized businesses, however, it may be more of a challenge to secure the resources required. That being said, many of the practices that large organizations use in their onboarding processes can still be applied to small and medium businesses. Effective onboarding can reduce future costs associated with training, recruitment, and litigation. It is therefore a worthy investment for any organization.