The term, “Onboarding” refers to the processes by which new hires are integrated into the organization. The program includes activities that allow new employees to complete an initial new-hire orientation process and learn about the organization’s structure, culture, vision, mission, and values.
HR Professionals worldwide agree that the development and use of talent acquisition strategies are vital for ensuring that organizations keep their focus on the best hires. Subsequently, effective employee onboarding processes are imperative in helping new employees understand and value company norms.
For HR Leaders, it is a continuous loop chain cycle – talent acquisition, onboarding programs, employee engagement, performance management, career advancement, and employee retention strategies. Each part of the loop chain holds its own value and contributes significantly to the overall strengthening of the cycle.
A recent study by Gallup revealed that only 12% of employees felt that their company did a good job with the onboarding program. The unfortunate consequence here is a significant turnover within the first year of employment, low employee engagement, and poor employee satisfaction levels among the remaining workers of the company.
Studies also suggest that only 29% of new hires feel encouraged enough to deliver outstanding performance in their new job roles. An effective onboarding program aims to educate, engage, and retain employees as productive members of an organization.
The implementation of a cohesive onboarding program will yield the following benefits:
A new employee onboarding program is comprehensive and, in some organizations, can last up to 12 months. It is important to note that onboarding and orientation are two separate processes, and they should not be confused with one another. Orientation usually entails the process of completing necessary documentation while onboarding is a more comprehensive program that involves management and other employees.
Listed below are the important steps required to implement the perfect onboarding program:
Employee recruiting is the process of identifying and selecting the ideal candidate to fill a vacant position. The role of HR is to create multiple mediums by which job applications are made available to fulfill the manpower requirement. HR’s role is also to ensure that the recruitment process upholds the company values and culture. This would include hiring in line with the company’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategies.
The new employee onboarding program begins as soon as the release and subsequent acceptance of the job offer is placed. In this step, HR is required to release a comprehensive job offer stating the package details, explain the job role/job description, discuss performance expectations, agree on a joining date, and other necessary information pertaining to the job.
Pre-boarding is the period between which an individual accepts an employment offer and the first day of the new employment. This process can serve as a great way for the company to acquaint and connect employees with their organizational values and culture. This step can also serve as an informal way to welcome and connect employees with other workers in a more friendly manner. Whilst all mandatory form signing, documentation, IT, and Security approvals are being processed, new hires can benefit from the opportunity to acquaint themselves with relevant departments and peers.
The first day - new employment, new role, new expectations, and new colleagues. For a new employee, the whole experience may seem a bit daunting at first. HR professionals are tasked to ensure that the experience for a new employee is made as cordial and welcoming as possible. Prepare a schedule in advance, which includes the process of documentation, introduction with HR and department personnel, shooting out a welcome email, and encouraging friendly coworker coffee conversations, coffee chats, and regular coffee breaks.
Part of a successful onboarding program will include the preparation of mentoring and training plans for new hires. Mentoring systems or training schedules can be formal or informal. A valuable approach would be to schedule weekly or bi-monthly training or coaching sessions to help new employees understand job requirements and create opportunities for them to contribute successfully.
Mentoring is seen as assisting in the transfer of knowledge, organizational learning, and cross-departmental communication. Research suggests that informal mentoring is likely to bring long-term benefits to an organization. Coffee chats and coffee breaks can also be used as vital tools to pass on relevant information and share job experiences in a more casual and friendly manner.
Mentors may be assigned to the new employee for a longer period depending on how the mentoring/training plan is developed. In most cases, the mentor/new employee relationship builds in a positive manner. The concept of coffee breaks and coffee chats has brought about a positive change in the way workers remain connected with one another.
We need to understand that onboarding is not a one-time approach. Regular reviews and follow-ups are essential segments of the onboarding program. Ideally, create a 30-day, 90-day, half-year, and year-end calendar to check in and determine the level of progress. HR personnel can engage new employees in conversations pertaining to company objectives, performance evaluation, rewards systems, and growth opportunities.
In an informal approach, the best way to engage in discussions would be through friendly coffee chats and coffee breaks. Regular coworker coffee meets can also serve as a great opportunity to identify the level of employee satisfaction.
Research reveals that a whopping 40 percent of adults report feeling lonely. Building better relationships at work through the effective use of coffee chats and coffee breaks can result in employees feeling more engaged and less isolated in a new work environment.
HR personnel and line managers should develop a plan whereby new employees are given an opportunity to connect on a personal level with colleagues or supervisors who can help them achieve performance success. This is where the concept of coffee chats, coworker coffee meets, and coffee breaks fit in perfectly.
In an ideal scenario, all organizations aim at meeting company objectives, valuing the company’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategies, achieving talent acquisition goals, minimizing turnover ratios, and increasing employee engagement numbers. It is, therefore, imperative to retain talent by ensuring that the new hire’s year one within the company is positive, purposeful, and productive.