Onboarding Process: What is Onboarding?

Onboarding Process: What is Onboarding?

Organizations compete for talents with skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for the growth of the organization. Studies show that organizations that harness the skills of new talents create a significant competitive advantage.

Onboarding process is a crucial but often overlooked stage in the employee lifecycle. In this article, we will define onboarding and look at the onboarding process.

What is Onboarding?

After the effective recruitment and selection of talents, one of the most important ways organizations can improve the effectiveness of their talent management systems is through onboarding. 

The goal of an organization is to get its new employees familiar with the organization’s work so that they can contribute to their success.

New employees must learn both the social and performance aspects as well as the organizational aspects of their new job. To help new hires integrate into the organization, a system should be in place to help organize the process, information exchange, and adjustment of new hires. 

This process is called onboarding and has been studied in the academic literature for decades under the term organizational socialization.

To simplify this, onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into the organization. It aims to help new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their new job.

Onboarding has four distinct levels named the four C’s. These levels are;

  • Compliance.
  • Clarification.
  • Culture.
  • Connection.

Compliance is the lowest level of onboarding, and it refers to teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations basics, such as tax forms, employment paperwork, badges, email accounts, computers, and workstations as needed for a given job. 

Clarification refers to the details and context of the employee’s job. It includes ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations. The sooner new employees understand their jobs, the sooner they can be productive.

Culture is a broad level that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational norm, both formal and informal, and learning the unique workplace culture of the organization. 

Connection refers to the vital interpersonal relationships, support mechanisms, and information networks that new employees need to establish in their new organization.

Each of the four C’s is important in creating positive results for the organization such as consistent higher job satisfaction, high productivity, and lower turnover.

The four C’s are the building blocks of a successful onboarding process.

What Should An Onboarding Process Include?

The onboarding process includes;

  1. Planning and preboarding.

Planning and preboarding are the foundations of the onboarding process because they mark the beginning of an employee’s early experiences with the organization. 

The onboarding process starts before the employee starts day one. In fact. Onboarding begins the moment the new hire accepts your offer. This process is called preboarding. 

It includes all the preparation to prepare the new hires for their first day at work. This sets expectations, allows new hires to adequately prepare, and instills confidence as they know what to expect.

  1. First day.

Everyone has a limited number of first days at a new job. Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking and daunting, so you have a rare opportunity to create a memorable moment in your new employees’ professional lives.

There are several ways to create a memorable first day for your new employee. 

  • You could create a personalized welcome gesture for them, based on the information you have about them. It could be in the form of a personalized message welcoming them or gifting them a simple welcome package. Whether it’s a gift or a message gesture, personalizing the welcome gesture for new employees shows that your organization cares about them. 
  • Introducing a buddy to the new employee helps learn about the company’s culture and social norms that only come from experience and insider knowledge. This method is called the buddy system. 
  • Direct the new employees in completing all important documents.
  1. First 30 Days.

The first 30 days are very hands-on. It is all about getting the new employee ready for success by creating the opportunity for them to learn and grow.

To shape the first 30-day experience, your onboarding goals should be: 

  • To facilitate an environment that new employees feel they can thrive in. 
  • To ensure employees gain hands-on experience in their role.
  • To keep managers accountable for regular check-ins.

There are several ways to help new employees adapt to their jobs and roles.

  • Encourage new employees to ask questions. Asking questions fosters proactive communication and learning, helping them adapt to their new role faster.
  • Conduct role-based training or inductive sessions for new employees. These hands-on, practical, and informative sessions give new employees a strong foundation for their new roles.
  • Ensure new employees regularly check in with their managers. You can also help managers become more aware of their impact on new employee onboarding. Regular check-ins with the new employees will influence learning and development.
  1. First 30-60 days.

The knowledge gained from the first 30 days will be into action. The aims for this period should be: 

  • To build realistic and achievable ramp-up goals.
  • Set expectations for working relationships, rhythm, and tasks to be completed.
  • Make giving and receiving feedback a priority.

At this point, the process of onboarding changes.

  • You set a near-term milestone goal for the new employees to achieve to help build momentum and pave the way for them to celebrate their first wins at your organization.
  • Set clear expectations for the new employees to achieve. Employees who are given clear expectations perform better and ramp up faster because they know what’s required of them.
  • Give feedback to the new employees to encourage them. This feedback helps them improve in areas they are lacking.
  • It is also important to get feedback from new employees. It helps increase employee engagement.
  1. First 60-90 days.

At this stage, new hires will be working on projects with less supervision. They will be expected to be more involved with their teams and the organization as a whole, contributing to the success of the organization.

They should understand the importance of success to the organization and know what they are expected to deliver in their role. 

It is also important for them to be open to learning new skills and taking on new challenges to contribute to their growth and the growth of the company. You can also provide access to online learning tools such as Go1, Lynda, or UDemy.

Successful onboarding is a vital part of any talent management strategy. With the high cost of recruiting, business leaders must understand that effectively integrating new hires into the organization is an important step to ensure their business success. Understanding the onboarding process is vital to onboarding success and sustainability over time.

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