Searching for the right candidates to fill vacant positions in your organization is only a small part of building an effective team that drives the business forward. After spending numerous hours on finding, identifying, interviewing, and recruiting new employees, if the employee backs out before joining or within the first few days, all your effort and hard work will go down the drain. So make sure you don’t go back to square one and do what’s necessary. Because once the new hire is issued an offer letter, the real employee experience begins.
This is where employee onboarding comes into the picture. Formulating an onboarding strategy is the first and most important step towards helping the joinee “fit in” and eventually blend with the company culture. So, let’s dive right into the matter and understand onboarding in detail.
This glossary will cover the following most frequently asked questions about onboarding:
What is onboarding?
First coined in 1970, onboarding meaning in HR terms is the organizational socialization mechanism built for new employees to acquire knowledge, skills, and the required exposure for becoming an integral part of an organization. It is the process of introducing a new employee to the organization’s policies like leave & dress policy, the employee’s roles & responsibilities, and the company’s core values. It has been observed over decades that a properly laid out onboarding process leads to positive outcomes for the new hires as well the organization. It is a wise investment to provide new employees with a thorough, efficient, and consistent introduction to their new organization.
What is the employee onboarding process?
There is more to onboarding definition than just the initial joining paperwork and the routine orientation tasks. The comprehensive onboarding activities involve the senior management, HRs, and other employees to talk to the new employees and educate them about the company and its functioning. HR professionals agree on the fact that onboarding begins the moment a candidate accepts a job offer and ends when a new employee is fully integrated and performing as expected at the time of recruitment.
Research shows that the quality of onboarding experienced by the new hires dramatically impacts engagement, performance, and longevity, among other factors during the entire employee lifecycle. Starting a new job can be overwhelming, and onboarding is most effective when it is spread out over time. This allows employees to better retain information by giving them time to process everything and ask questions as needed.
What are the 4 phases of employee onboarding?
The best onboarding processes will include relational onboarding, which includes setting expectations, building relationships with other employees, defining roles and boundaries, and creating confidence and trust.
So, the 4 phases of onboarding can be outlined as follows:
Phase 1: Pre-Onboarding
The first phase is the phase of preparation or initial development. That is the homework that HRs do to develop a perfect method for making the onboarding process a great experience for the new hires. For a more effective 1st phase, paperwork needs to be done beforehand. So, when the employees visit the organisation, they can start being productive from the very first day.
Phase 2: The Orientation
The second phase is all about making the new employee/joinee feel welcomed and close to the team/organisation. Orientation/induction is a very important step towards making the newbies feel comfortable & confident by involving them in activities that help them understand the work and work culture better.
Phase 3: Soft & Core Training
After the first week goes into introducing the new joiner with the surrounding elements, all the training processes start. It is important for every employee to learn and gain the necessary skills for the job, So, in the first month the employee needs to take initiatives to learn more so that he\she proves to be productive. It’s important for the employer to make plans for the employee to get good training and start showing interest in their respective tasks.
Phase 4: Performance Mapping
Planning an ideal training program is very important so that the new hires can take an interest in the program. Moreover, they need to be given proper feedback for their work. This will help them to get a scope to improve and do better.
How long does onboarding take?
For a few organizations, the process is a 1-day affair when the employees are quickly shown an induction presentation and taken for an office tour and further taken to see places and meet other employees. But for many, onboarding can last from 6 to 18 months wherein, every process including orientation program, training plan, performance metrics set-up, and feedback loop carried out in this time period falls under the onboarding definition. This long span of time ensures that employees have the resources they need to understand the company mission, internalize their training, and feel confident & comfortable doing their job as expected. That is why, not only the first day, but the focus also goes into making the first few weeks, months, and even the first years of a new employee more enriching.
What is the purpose of onboarding?
Now that we know what is meant by onboarding, understanding the purpose of this procedure is also important. There are 3 main goals that corporate organizations aim to achieve using the strategic onboarding process. They are as follows:
When you accommodate a new employee into the organization, it is going to take more than just issuing an appointment letter, setting up a workstation, pointing out the pantry, walking by the location of the break room, or showing the parking area. Every workplace has a different environment and personality, and every company has its own objectives and philosophies. So, the new joiners need to understand what is expected of them and their role in attaining team/company goals. Moreover, new hires can also be told as to what they can expect from the company, such as availability of resources and assets, management support, learning, or performance review plans.
According to a Gallup study, a correlation between engaged employees and a company’s profitability, ROI, product quality and customer ratings, etc. was found. It suggests that an effective onboarding plan offers an ideal opportunity to boost employee engagement which, in turn, fosters a supportive relationship between a new hire and management, reinforces the company’s commitment to helping employees’ professional growth and proves that the management recognizes the employee’s talent.
An article in ‘Inc.’ about the costs of employee turnover shows that “the costs incurred to replace an employee can be as much as 150% of their annual salary.” These investments are mostly hidden which also reflect in a lower productivity and reduced morale among remaining employees who are asked to do more and acquire special knowledge or experience that only the departing employee possessed. Quantifiable costs can include fees to recruiters, interviewing costs and the cost to train a new employee. An onboarding program largely helps in retaining the newly hired employees to refrain from such expenses.
Hence, acclimatizing, engaging, and retaining the new hires are the 3 primitive objectives of organizing an onboarding program.
What is onboarding checklist?
An onboarding checklist is a document that gives a step-wise outline of the onboarding process steps. It is a method for HRs and managers to get prepared and organize the various stages of onboarding for a new employee starting in an organisation. An onboarding checklist helps to ensure all necessary preparation steps are taken while guiding new employees through their first few days as part of a new team. HROne offers a structured employee onboarding checklist to make the process highly effective –
What is the difference between onboarding and orientation?
Orientation: Also known as induction, it’s a one-time process to welcome the employees- the process through which new recruits are introduced to their jobs, workplace, co-workers, and responsibilities. But when it comes to effective employee orientation, it focuses deeper into answering any questions or resolving any concerns of the new colleague, educates them about company policies & expectations, and eases them easily into their new positions.
Onboarding: It is a comparatively more thorough process with a series of events. Here, the new employees are introduced closely to their respective departments. They attend meetings and starter-projects with co-workers to learn their work. Managers also start scheduling regular meetings to check-up on their new teammates and make them more comfortable in asking about work-related queries to develop a better understanding. Orientation is a subset of the overall onboarding process.
What are onboarding best practices?
Onboarding is a detailed and thought-through program. So, it is imperative to get the best out of this process. In order to reap the benefits of the onboarding program that you invest a good amount of time & energy into implementing, follow these best practices:
- The sooner you begin the onboarding process, the better
- Roll out the welcome mat in advance
- Get an onboarding checklist ready beforehand
- Don’t linger, get to the main part at the very beginning
- Involvement and interaction are the keys
- Invite leaders and senior managers as speakers
- Make sure the newbies are a good fit for the company
- Let interested existing employees also be a part
- Take real-time or post-event feedback
How to communicate company core values during onboarding?
There are multiple ways to communicate company core value to the new employees. Mentioned below are 9 important things to keep in mind while communicating with the new employees about company core values:
- Keep the format engaging like a video
- Give examples of what works and what doesn’t
- Before communicating, incorporate the values in your brand
- Link each core value to the employee role
- Prepare clear & concise content and guidelines
- Engage the WFH newbies with virtual onboarding (video conference)
- Create an interactive workshop using onboarding software
- Use technology to show the core values in action
- Share your connection to these values through storytelling
Hence, ensuring that the new joiners quickly get a clear image of their future at the company and familiarizing them with the workplace at the earliest is of utmost importance.
Why is onboarding important?
As per SHRM, the statistics compiled by Click Boarding, an onboarding software company in Eden Prairie, Minn., show the value of a structured onboarding process/program as:
- 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for 3 years if they experienced great onboarding
- New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after 3 years
- Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new-hire productivity
The findings of this onboarding software company are enough to bring the importance of the onboarding process in light. Let’s see why LinkedIn thinks organizing a proper onboarding program is so important!
- Develops job/company knowledge
- Reduces time-to-productivity ratio
- Reduces ambiguity driven stress
- Reduces new employee turnover
- Engages employees early on
- Builds long-term trust and alignment