What is Employee Onboarding?
Onboarding is the term human resources departments use to describe the process through which companies provide new employees with the knowledge, skills and know-how they need to be successful at their jobs. This is different to new employee orientation which is usually a one-off single-day event. With employee onboarding, the process is ongoing from first contact with the new hire throughout their first year in their role.
Why Does Employee Onboarding Matter?
Onboarding is an essential component of any company’s talent acquisition, development, and retention strategies. Onboarding usually fails when companies don’t have a clear onboarding process which means higher employee turnover rates and extra costs in recruitment. To keep new employees engaged and committed, companies need a solid onboarding program. Robust onboarding programs should help foster engagement and trust through acquainting them with the workplace culture in conjunction with building job-related skills.
Who Is Responsible for Employee Onboarding?
Many people may be responsible for onboarding new employees, including human resources or organizational development HR professionals, trainers, managers, and the new employee. In general, HR professionals are responsible for creating the company’s overall onboarding strategy, and for new hire activities such as sending offer letters, ensuring paperwork is completed on time, and reviewing the employee handbook with the new employee. Sometimes these staff might be responsible for creating and delivering the general orientation sessions.
The employee’s direct manager will be responsible for setting up the employee’s workstation, introducing them to their new team, explaining the training plan and ensuring their onboarding tasks have been completed.
The responsibility of the new employee is to ask questions, complete all required paperwork including financial, creating new user profiles for online platforms with the assistance of the IT department and completing any other tasks as required. Other departments within the company may also be involved in other ways.
Throughout the onboarding process, it’s useful to determine what activities need to take place and who should be responsible for them. Taking this coordinated and methodical approach will make the onboarding more smooth.
Employee Onboarding Best Practices
It’s essential to design onboarding programs that are role-specific as opposed to generic. Onboarding processes can be modified to suit company size, industry and organizational culture and structured according to the type of content the employee needs to learn. Consider covering learning about the company’s history, culture and procedures, social onboarding where new employees can learn about their new team and its social dynamics as well as technical role-specific skilling. No matter how you choose to structure your onboarding program, a best practice is to communicate clearly and consistently throughout the process. Informing new employees about all the essential details for their first day- where and when , what to expect, who their team is, and what their role will look like are the most important components of a sound onboarding experience.
If you are providing activities that need to take place before the employee starts such as online training, article readings or filling out paperwork, be mindful that they might still be finishing up at their previous job or having other commitments which means their time may be limited. Be careful not to overwhelm them by placing too many pre-arrival task expectations on them.
A good robust onboarding program will ensure that new employees feel comfortable and welcomed and as informed as possible about what to expect from day one. Programs should be designed to cover workplace culture in conjunction with building job-related skills.This will encourage more favourable employee experiences and better staff retention in the long term.
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