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Establishing Effective Onboarding Process

February 1, 2012

If you can throw your mind back to that first day on your first job, which could not have been that far back you would show empathetic understanding for the human side of the onboarding process.  Simultaneously with the documentation and other practical issues in employee onboarding, we need to focus on creating a positive employee experience too. Being able to meet employee expectations effectively on the first day is considered as the sine-qua-non of any hiring which wishes to draw the maximum benefit from the relationship through establishing a close and mutually beneficial association for the nonce as well as the longer term.

Many organizations take the aid of one or the other solution, with all of them offering efficient processes which meet the corporate guidelines and create positive experience for the workers, across departments and responsibilities. These solutions automate the task of onboarding a new hire through paperwork, background checks all the way to personnel introductions. While we will look at these aspects later, let us look at the human aspect of handling what is called the honeymoon period in employment. Since we know that the chances of a new hire’s attrition are 31% higher if the onboarding was unsatisfactory, the topic definitely merits discussion.

Many staffing consultants advocate the importance of carrying onward the various promises held out during the interview process and fulfilling the expectations created. Failure to do so may result in establishing a tenuous relationship with the employee or even sever the bond in a short while, to substantiate the ‘lack of fit’ as a reason on the resume. For many new hires, it may not be a first job, and it may not be the only offer in hand. Such people quickly move back to the old job or take up the new one if the onboarding process leaves any gaps in the process.

Some of the basic practices require the manager to:

  • Set up of some meetings with people so that the new hire can find some familiar faces, get oriented to the task being assigned and generally initiated to the office culture.
  • The new hire will be provided training on the job processes and oriented to the safety measures, if any, and the duration of this process decides the structure of the on-boarding process. Some jobs require months of training while others may provide the necessary training by having a buddy system in place so that the new hire teams up with an experienced hand to learn the ropes, as they spend a few days working together,
  • Create an opportunity for a team event or meeting where the new hire’s familiarity with the team members gets further enhanced,
  • Arrange the workspace and initiate the necessary administrative tasks to ensure that the new hire walks in to find that the workspace is ready for him/her with the necessary support of office stationery, visiting cards, parking space allotment and other paraphernalia put in place.

An effective way to handling the total process would be to create a checklist, which can be used to ensure that the various steps are followed scrupulously. Make it last over a period and do not allow it to end with Day 1 or Week 1. Ensuring that the new hire becomes productive is not the only goal. It is only when they feel that they belong, do they contribute their best and really meet the performance expectations.

Employee Onboarding achieves the following objectives by creating a positive atmosphere where the employee:

  • Learns to identify with the organization and its goals and objectives.
  • Absorbs the organizational culture, values, vision and mission.
  • Connects with others and feels a sense of value and belonging
  • Gets equipped to meet the new performance expectations and workload without any anxiety
  • Gets oriented to the organizational policies and procedures with regard to the employees
  • Imbibes the various expectations on ethical and appropriate use of all resources including email, internet, IT systems and other assets.
  • Learns faster as motivation to adapt will be higher
  • Understands how their specific role contributes to the organization’s overall success.

Depending on how valuable the employee would prove to you, you may also consider their families a part of the onboarding various ways like treats, parties, gifts or even a token gift like a company T-shirt or car sticker to increase the association with the organization. Most business students I know have failed to recognize, in classroom exercises, that ‘spouse’s dislike of the proposed move’ ranks at No. 1 in the job-switch decision matrix. So, leverage upon that aspect, but with positive results.


Disclaimer:
The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.

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