Onboarding process and best practices- A complete guide
In any organization, hiring and retention of employees is a constant process. It is a never-ending task, and the market dynamics are constantly changing, and so are the potential employees. Assembling the best working force has never been simple. So today, we have a whole human resources department and complete sections on books on managing employees. Among these processes, the onboarding process is a whole new chapter. It is equally important to recruit the most suitable candidates. But what if those employees struggle to fit in and may end up frustrated and exhausted?
Many companies have orientations to explain the job description and expected outcomes. But just like regular sports, recruiters cannot just pick physically fit candidates by providing them with sports gear and expect a match-winning team. Coaches and training camps simulate the actual game scenarios, enabling them to perform on the field and win the trophy. The same is the case for businesses and service providers. Hiring a well-educated and skilled workforce is not sufficient to ensure maximum productivity. The team building and working coherently required the onboarding process, which is a more detailed and carefully devised program to train the employees.
What is onboarding?
It is a process designed to integrate newly appointed team members into any organization. The onboarding process is not just an orientation program. Still, it helps to understand the company's culture, vision, and mission so the new members can better understand their roles and job expectations.
Depending upon the size of the business and volume of operation, the onboarding process can be a one-day session to a few months-long programs. The steps and procedures involved in this program should be carefully drafted, so the trainees do not fill out useless forms and have futile discussions.
Why is it essential?
Onboarding is equally important as selecting the best possible candidates for a successful company. Many organizations starting with good employees, ignore this critical part and end up with poor performance and employees leaving the company. They mistakenly assume that everyone will automatically absorb the values and culture of the environment.
Interestingly blunder is not committed by the new startups but observed in well-established and decade-old business ventures where the long-serving administration assumes that the operations are streamlined, and all tasks are now simple and trivial. The sense of work developed over the years is considered well understood just by one presentation.
Steps involved in the onboarding process
There is no single curriculum for the onboarding process, and it should be highly customized and well in accord with the specific working environment. The steps involved in this process should start before the employee join the office and end when they are independent to make progress. During this process, a combination of lectures, seminars, training, interactive sessions, assessments, and feedback are essentially required parts of the onboarding process.
The program's content should align with the company's working environment and be suitable to the culture and norms of the employee. The situation is more complex when diverse cultures and ethnicities are mixed in a working place. Mutual respect and co-existence is the only way to make things work. If certain adjustments are required for exceptional employees, like assistance and accessibility, measures should be taken earlier, and the employees should be conveyed in time. On the other side, if a particular job or workplace has restrictions or hazards, they should be mentioned when hiring. Otherwise, this is the last opportunity to set the record straight and avoid any incident under such circumstances.
Onboarding best practices
This part starts before the employee officially assumes the charge and perfume the duties. The organization provides the details of the overall structure, other workers' profiles, the facility tour, and the benefits. The material can be provided electronically over email or posted in printed form before they arrive at the workplace. It is always a good practice to provide the first information early about what the new employee will see on day one.
Conducting this session at the very beginning and as a unique and compulsory event increases its effectiveness and importance. Orientations should be scheduled to introduce the recruits to all existing members. It must include a clear vision, mission, and values statement. These sessions commonly explain roles, responsibilities, company procedures, and policies.
Other mandatory training and paperwork requirements can be fulfilled in these sessions. The orientations can be laborious and overwhelming, especially for the fresh graduates entering the job sector. These programs can be spread over a few days, and only immediately required items should be covered in orientation programs.
In some organizations, the dedicated senior employees take the new entry under their wing and glide through the onboarding process steps. It is necessary to pick the mentor carefully so it should not end up dumping the assignments at the beginners. The HR should assign the task to only those who have volunteered for mentorship.
The recently hired tier is usually the best choice because they have just passed through similar circumstances and know what is required to train newcomers. The mentor's job is to lead the path and keep the motivation high during the mentorship. The program can last for a week to months, depending upon the type of business and operations.
The Buddy system is always considered at the top of onboarding best practices. More open and liberal organizations tend to bond newcomers with a buddy. This system allows the learner to connect with a guide without direct authority. Replacing the boss with a buddy makes the trainee more comfortable and confident during the learning curve. They feel safe while learning without fear of judgment. Because it is common to hide our downsides, especially from our peers and bosses, the buddy system takes this shyness from the training period, and the person can focus on learning and acquiring the skills required for the job. The buddy can continue priming until both agree to a point where the newcomer can take a solo flight and maintain the elevation.
People always remember who helped them, and they tend to pay back. The hidden benefit of the buddy system is the long-lasting bond development among the organization members. They help each other in times of crisis, ultimately benefiting the company.
When working under hazardous conditions, dealing with delicate and expensive equipment is the best method to shadow the senior member and observe. So that the members can grasp all the details and methodology, during the training, the workers should be encouraged to ask questions, and the senior or mentor should be patient enough to answer all the queries, no matter how simple and stupid they sound.
Sometimes the onboarding process is not only required for beginners, but experienced workers also need that. Situations like returning after a prolonged absence like medical leave, layoff, or assigning new responsibilities due to internal transfer or promotion also put the employees in a new position. With the change in role and environment, the worker faces new challenges.
It is very critical for workers to return after an accident, and the trauma has changed their physical and mental capacities. These persons need care and support to gain traction, and a helping hand can put them back into action. Leaving them alone to struggle with work and cope with a disability will damage their efficiency and personality.
The capacity building of new team members is the responsibility of all existing workers. It provides a welcome gesture and ensures smooth absorption of new members into any organization. Everyone involved must assign specific roles with clear action items for a systematic process. It can be achieved successfully by allocating tasks to specific persons. These designations provide guidance and regularly upgrade their training modules according to the changing nature of work, background knowledge of recruits, and feedback from the trainees.
For an efficient onboarding process, organizations usually constitute the following teams and allocate duties:
The trainers are responsible for preparing and delivering training lectures and conducting discussion sessions on objectives, culture, mission, vision, goals, and policies. The information can be presented by oral presentation or video lectures. The trainer should engage the audience using creative methods and keep them involved during the sessions because only with active participation can the purpose be achieved.
Usually, the supervisors are concerned with the job description and explain the duties and responsibilities, work ethics, standard procedures, and introduction to other co-workers. The supervisor is responsible for a complete tour of the facility, working stations, and actions required during any emergency.
People sharing the office or working desks cannot ignore the newcomers and are supposed to help. This can start with a warm welcome session where everyone can introduce themselves and inform what everyone is doing, the work norms, and how the tasks are divided. In case of any problem, it is essential to know who will be best to consult for a specific situation.
Mentor and buddy
Besides general support, someone is explicitly attached for guidance on day-to-day tasks and operations during the onboarding process. The mentors should be selected carefully for this delicate task because their actions and words will set the potential and navigate the progress direction.
A poor choice can result in a bad working relationship with the organization and mistrust among co-workers. The mentors and buddies should be optimistic, open-minded, and energetic to set the frequency of new team members in high spirits.
The higher management cannot exclude themselves from this crucial task. A keen interest and vigilance are necessary to ensure the program's quality and set the course in the right direction. The top management has the most precise panoramic picture of the organization and strategy for upcoming years.
Trainers, supervisors, mentors, and buddies can't deliver the company values and expectations without the involvement of the executive. The company executives should interact with their new employees during the orientations and stay in touch during the onboarding process rather than putting this task on autopilot mode.
This is the central pillar of any onboarding process. Each person is provided a complete picture of a specific role and clarity about their position in the organization, theoretically and practically. First, it is the responsibility of the organization to mentor. At the end of the onboarding process, the person should be able to answer the following questions:
· Why did they choose this job?
· What does this company require?
· Why are they hired?
· What contribution can they make to the mission and vision of the organization?
· What do they think about the other people in the organization?
· Where do the employees see them in the next five to ten years?
Everyone doesn't need to answer all questions very accurately because they will need some time to absorb the information and soak in their new roles and responsibilities, but at least they should have some idea and explain their own thoughts.
Benefits of the onboarding process:
This process is not only helpful for the employees to perform better, but the company will harvest benefits with improvements in work culture, speed, and efficacy of workers. It is not difficult to understand why a positive correlation exists between better-engaged employees and high profits. Because when workers are involved deeply in their work, there are fewer sick days and absenteeism.
Feedback is always improvement
At the end of the process, or after some time, the participants should be asked individually what they liked and missed in the session. It is also a good idea to ask the old fellows what they think should be included in the orientation and onboarding process. Questions like what they must learn on their own, what they were struggling with, and what skills and procedures consumed most of the time while learning can help devise more effective and productive sessions.
Evaluation of onboarding process
The organization's performance can quantify the success of the onboarding process. If any company has just adopted this system, they can compare the results with the duration when it was not implemented. See the difference in performance and efficiency.
Frequently asked questions that people often ask about what is onboarding and process!
Q: What are the 5 C's of onboarding?
Your onboarding program needs to evolve to keep employees engaged in growing with you from the beginning of the relationship. The five critical components of onboarding to implement in your organization. The 5 “Cs” of effective onboarding are:
Q: What are the 4 phases of onboarding?
When teams talk about onboarding, they mean everything that happens after a new employee signs an offer letter to start their role. Everything falls into four overlapping phases.
· Phase 1: Pre-onboarding
· Phase 2: Welcome new hires
· Phase 3: Job-Specific Training
· Phase 4: Ease of transition for new hires to new roles
A major challenge in providing a seamless and engaging employee onboarding process is setting up a simple, automated structure to guide employees through the first two months of operation.
Q: What are the steps in the onboarding process?
Employees may not feel welcome at all if they are in a hurry. For some small businesses, the entire process can take up to a year. But the first few weeks are critical. Therefore, an effective onboarding process for new hires includes:
· Goals to set for new hires.
· How would you rate their performance?
· How can HR teams and line managers help?
· What new hires need to know about their employer's branding and corporate culture.
· How some of the new owner's colleagues can help? What can anyone with a similar role do?
Q: What is a good onboarding process?
Hire recruiters and submit job application forms to the HR team. Complete a background check (if this is a step taken by your company). Establish schedules and duties that the new owner will follow. Prepare and complete relevant new hire forms.
Do you have any questions, tips, suggestions, or innovative ideas about onboarding? Feel free to share with us in the comments!
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