Onboarding of employees – what do you need to know about it?

Onboarding is undoubtedly one of the most important elements in an employee’s life cycle in an organization. However, it is often underestimated, and not enough time and attention is given to the implementation of the employee. Why? Changes occurring over the past few years have, on the one hand, made it easier and, on the other hand, more difficult to carry out this important process in organizations.

Changes caused by the pandemic

A particular challenge in onboarding may be the change that occurred during the pandemic, where most teams worked remotely. Today, however, the most common working model is the hybrid model. Onboarding thus becomes an even more important process.

What does the research say?

Gallup Institute research shows that:

  • Only 12% of employees in the United States have a positive view of onboarding at their current employer;
  • 70% of the employees, of those who positively evaluate the implementation process, believe they have gone to the best employer and are approx. 2.5x more satisfied with their work;
  • Only 29% of employees who have undergone any kind of implementation feel fully prepared to carry out their tasks;
  • 17% of the 125 surveyed by Harvard Business Review said their employer had implemented remote onboarding solutions;

Companies have faced a major challenge to adequately deploy remote, hybrid or desktop process.

The most common challenges and mistakes that accompany the onboarding process

Looking at more than one onboarding process, it is possible to see the recurring mistakes and challenges faced by employers and employees. They are:

  • Confusing onboarding with completing employment paperwork;
  • forgetting to take the perspective of a new employee, so we take certain processes or habits of the company for granted – but for a new employee, such is not the case;
  • assuming that a person with experience will go through the implementation process faster, and therefore be able to perform tasks independently in a shorter period of time;
  • Being overwhelmed by the number of tasks and lack of time to give attention to a newly hired person. Often we limit ourselves to showing the basic processes and principles, believing that the new person will ask us or learn everything on his own;
  • too often we focus on handing over the tasks that need to be done, and forget to introduce the people with whom the new employee will work,
  • we forget to introduce the company’s culture and broad principles;
  • very often onboarding also does not have a specific structure, it is created for the needs of the moment;
  • A newly hired employee does not have a dedicated person who will be responsible for his or her implementation.

What should good onboarding look like?

Answer the questions:

  • What benefits will it bring with it?
  • What challenges do we face in today’s postcovid reality?

In the context of onboarding, an interesting model to organize this process is the 4C model (Culture, Connections, Clarification,Compliance) created by Taly N. Bauer. According to this premise, onboarding does not begin with the first day of work, but at the moment when a person ceases to be a candidate and is not yet an employee. At this stage, future employees have the determination to acquire knowledge about what awaits them in the organization. In addition, they make sure they have made the right decision. At that time it is already worthwhile to provide more information about the company’s history, values, development vision, mission and organizational culture or dress code (culture). This is a good time to introduce the members of the team, put the two parties in touch with each other, and/or designate the so-called “team”. Buddy to create a space to ask questions (connection). Any new person joining the company should know what his or her responsibilities will be, how his or her position will be located in the structure, and what tasks await him or her during the probationary period (clarification), for example. There remain, of course, formal (compliance) considerations, i.e. the need to fill out documents related to a particular form of employment/cooperation, if necessary to go through preliminary examinations and sign a contract.

Many people, especially young people, entering the job market feel overwhelmed by the number of formalities they have to go through when getting hired. The compliance process, therefore, should be orderly and transparent – it is worthwhile for documents to be properly described and have a checklist attached. What are the benefits of fine-tuning and conducting proper onboarding?

Well-conducted onboarding is a win-win for everyone: the employer, the employee and the team. And among other things, it will be:

  • Strengthening: We engage talents and connecting them to the organization for the long term.
  • It helps build a competitive edge in the market and attract the best job candidates.
  • Employees feel taken care of, not only at the beginning of their work at the company, but also in situations of internal mobility, changing positions, moving to another department, taking on a new role.
  • Enable authentic integration with the team regardless of the employee’s form of employment and mode of work (remote, desktop or hybrid).
  • By automating and digitizing, maintaining smooth processes and relieving managers and HR departments of the overload of operational onboarding activities.

Specific onboarding tailored to your needs

Here a lot depends on whether the employee will do the work remotely or stationary, because then such a process should be adjusted accordingly. For those working on site, be sure to introduce them to the office map, introduce everyone who works on site, and if that’s not possible, introduce them to the people the person will be interacting with. It is good practice if in the first days, in addition to, for example, a buddy, a manager is waiting for the employee, who will take care of the introduction to the team and present the goals for the coming time.

The entire process described above can undoubtedly be carried out remotely, using presentations, video calle meetings, remote document signing platforms, or to go through the entire process in the form of gamification. On the other hand, the process itself should not end with a trial period and a decision on whether to extend the cooperation. This should be followed by an evaluation to gather feedback from the employee (how he/she assesses the process, whether he/she has received adequate support, how he/she finds himself/herself in the organization, whether there is an area he/she would like to change – especially since this is a person who comes with a fresh perspective). The employee should also be given feedback. As a result, he will be aware of what positively influenced the cooperation with him, and what areas need to be corrected in the context of long-term cooperation.

Be sure to check also 6 tools useful in the work of an IT recruiter.

Martyna Zgaińska

Onboarding of employees

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