Step by Step Guide to Designing an Employee Onboarding Process

Table of Contents

Onboarding is the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members. While developing an onboarding plan for new hires, there are some important aspects with respect to the individual and the company that needs to be addressed. This can be broadly divided into employee centric processes vis a vis organization centric processes.

Employee Centric Processes:

    • Knowledge transfer

      This is critical and ensures that the new hire has all the necessary access and information to understanding and contributing from day one. These include organizational charts, login details, key contact information, technical training for specific business systems. Companies offer training on the company, its vision and mission, its ethics and culture. Certain companies also provide insight into company specific nuances, technical or otherwise, acronyms and terminologies.

    • Job shadowing

      Job shadowing is a leadership program involving a new hire and a mentor where the new hire spends time with their mentor to learn essential aspects related to the job and organization such as needed behaviors, skill sets or competencies. Organizations have been using this as an effective tool for learning.

    • Resource allocation

      Ensuring the new hire has all the right tools to get to work is important. Resources are often provided based on the work relationship, whether formal or informal and power structures. Having the necessary resources from day one helps new hires quickly form working relationships with teams and colleagues.

    • Role clarity

      This relates to how well a new employee has understood and comprehended their role and the expectations of the organization. Role clarity and specific key performance indicators help set the related expectations, and boost self-efficacy. This directly impacts loyalty, engagement and retention. If roles and expectations are left ambiguous, performance and confidence would quickly slide. In fact, a study of employees in the United States and United Kingdom found that businesses lose an estimated $37 billion each year as a result of employees not understanding their jobs. Therefore, role clarity is a good indication of how well-adjusted a new employee is. Setting KPIs also aid in giving new hires an understanding of their role and contribution to the specific department and the organization as a whole. KPIs also help provide training and development opportunities for the employee to develop and broaden their skill set.

    • Connections

      It is vital that human resource departments, and respective teams assist and facilitate new employee transitions in making the necessary social connections and understanding power structures and team hierarchies in the company. This relates to all the necessary interpersonal relationships and information networks that would be required for the job. 60% managers who fail to onboard successfully cite failure to establish effective working relationships as a primary reason. Employees also need to feel socially at ease and accepted by colleagues and team mates. Integrating into one’s team is directly related to commitment and productivity. High quality relationships with managers, leaders and other team members is also vital.

Organization Centric Processes

  • Compliance and employee related information

    This relates to training the employees on basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations. Apart from this, mandatory employee information must also be gathered. Much of this information can be collected using HR information systems prior to the employee’s first day.

  • Organizational culture

    This entails providing employees with a sense of the organizational norms, both formal and informal. Helping new employees understand the nuances of a company’s unique culture, and steering them to find their own place within the system is essential. The mission and the vision of the company, its values, its ethics, its unique style and language and even the office jokes, are all important for a new hire to quickly integrate into the organization.

  • Get key stakeholder buy-in

    Getting the buy-in of colleagues and team members is important for a new hire to succeed. Getting everyone relevant on board in welcoming the new employee is essential. Often politics and insecurities crop up within teams with the arrival of a new member. Thus role clarity, ownership and understanding individual and team KPIs for every member of the team also becomes important

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