Employee onboarding - welcome on board!

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Employee onboarding does not go as it should in every company. Meanwhile, jobseekers want to know how they will be supported in the first few weeks and months of their new role. They also want to be clear from the outset what is expected of them and what they will be held accountable for. What gives the company a good preparation in this regard? If candidates receive information about the implementation process already at the stage of the recruitment process, those who like what they see will be more likely to apply to take up a position in this company.

Why is employee onboarding so important in recruitment marketing? More and more candidates are looking for development opportunities, not just "hooking" somewhere for a while. Moreover, research shows that salary is no longer the most important thing for job seekers. Learning and development opportunities as well as work-life balance were ranked 1st and 2nd. The salary came only in third place. In addition, research has shown that it is comprehensive and robust onboarding process maybe improve employee retention by up to 82%! A well-planned and conducted implementation process also helps increase their productivity by 70%.

What is employee onboarding? 

Employee onboarding is generally not considered an integral part of what companies are promoting in their recruiting marketing strategy. And they should! In fact it is onboarding is the first element to be implemented, Regarding employer branding. If you hire a given candidate, their experience with your company does not end - it will turn into the employee's experience. The implementation stage is the first impression a company makes on a person joining its ranks. And as you know, the first impression can only be made once. Everything applicants have learned about the company from interacting with its employees during the recruiting process - such as the company's culture, values, mission - they take with them on as employees.

The onboarding process can improve retention by up to 82%.

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By presenting your implementation program at the stage when candidates are considering the possibility of cooperation with your company, you have a better chance of acquiring potential employees who will be engaged and productive. Are you wondering what information would be included in it? According to LinkedIn, most of the employees joining the organization want to:

  • talk to your immediate supervisor 1 to 1 - 72%,
  • have a clear outline of the goals they should pursue - 67%,
  • see the plan for the first few weeks of work - 57%,
  • learn more about the company's culture and values -53%.

Regardless of what your employee onboarding currently includes, you should incorporate the above aspects into it. If there is no such thing as developed employee implementation plan, you should make it part of your recruiting marketing strategy as soon as possible and employer branding.

Employee onboarding - definition

Employee onboarding is a broader concept than introducing a new employee to the organization. Its goal is to get the new employee to start doing productive work as quickly as possible. Its essence is to prepare the employee to perform new functions.

Employee onboarding is the process of transforming new employees into members of specific teams whose functioning corresponds to the culture of a given organization.

Employee onboarding is a kind of holistic approach that connects people, process and technology. It can be presented as a bridge between the promises made by new employees and the actual gains in their productivity.

 Properly conducted employee onboarding ensures effective adaptation of the employee to the organization. It also translates into the results that he will achieve in the performance of his duties.

Employee onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, can last from days to months. Covers all practices, programs and policies implemented by the organization or its representatives to accommodate the newcomer.

There are two types of employee onboarding - formal and informal. Thanks to good organization and proper implementation of the new employee implementation process, many negative phenomena are eliminated - task ambiguity, stressful situations and conflicts.

Employee onboarding - quotes

As John Berridge notes, "the organizations of the future will be dominated by soft skills." Onboarding programs allow new employees to learn about their duties, goals and aspects related to applicable legal standards.

Henry Ford was of the opinion that "getting together is the beginning, sticking together is progress, working together is success." Employee onboarding supports the socialization of employees by developing a collective organizational identity and a sense of belonging to a group.

The purpose of onboarding is to increase productivity, therefore it should be viewed as something more important than purely transactional activities. Henry Ford once hired an expert in labor productivity to evaluate his company. After a few weeks, the expert returned to Ford. His assessment was extremely flattering except for one weak point. "It's that man in the hall," the expert complained. He's wasting your money, Mr. Ford. "Ah, that man," Ford replied. "He once had an idea that saved us millions of dollars." And his legs were exactly in the same place as they are now.

Employee onboarding largely depends on the skills and predispositions of the leader. Ronald Reagan knew about it, who used to say that “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. The greatest leader is the one who leads people to do the greatest things. "

As companies engage large resources in the process of searching for and recruiting new employees, the stage of proper employee implementation becomes crucial and necessary. Henry Ford used to say, "Companies that grow through development and improvement will not perish. But when a company ceases to be creative, when it believes that it has achieved perfection and now only needs to produce - it's over. " Therefore, let your company grow along with the development of your employees.

Onboarding a new employee - stages of activities

Do you know what the foundation of the building is for? It is supposed to support the structure so that it does not sink gradually lower and lower into the ground during operation. It works similarly implementation process for new employees. It allows them to develop on firm and firm ground. Onboarding an employee is both his safety net and life vest.

It gives him the foundation for a solid start to his career in the company and prepares him for success. A great implementation plan immerses new employees in the company's values, beliefs and motivation, making them excellent brand advocates. When the time comes, they will be ready to represent the company with pride and enthusiasm. Where to start the implementation? They can be divided into 4 stages.

Stage 1 - before the first day. Before you welcome an employee to the company, collect the necessary documents and forms that he will have to sign. Prepare a workplace for him, along with the necessary tools, such as a computer, company car, telephone and / or access to the required software. Provide the new employee with your corporate e-mail address and any relevant material that they should read.

They should be familiar with the company's rules and procedures, organizational chart, values, mission and culture of the company. It is a nice gesture to leave a card on the new employee's desk with a few words expressing the joy of welcoming him to the team. Before the first day of work, it is also worth informing him about the dress code in force in the company. He should also know where he can park, what time he should arrive, etc.

Stage 2 - the first day. Prepare your team in advance - notify when a new employee arrives. Then other members will be able to greet him when he gets to work. Book time in the team's calendar for a "welcome coffee" for the new employee. Show him around the company and arrange a meeting between the head of department and the new employee.

The manager will be able to introduce himself, explain the department structure and typical activities of each employee, and answer any questions. What makes onboarding an employee, and what is the bane of every newcomer, is to provide him with work from the very beginning. It is very important that the employee is busy and engaged on the first day in the company. Nobody likes to feel awkward sitting at a desk waiting for instructions. Proper implementation to work shows that the company took the time to plan a full, productive day for the new employee.

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Stage 3 - the first week. It is worthwhile for a new employee to take part in a specific project or task in the first few days. Thanks to this, they will immediately feel that they are a valuable resource for the team. He will also be able to feel more comfortable in his role. From the beginning, he should also have set goals for the first month of work. If necessary, he should be trained in the use of the software used in the company. The manager is responsible for integrating the new employee with the new team. It is important that the new crew member understands not only his own role, but also how his role fits into the strategy of the entire company.

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Stage 4 - the first month. It is important that the newly hired person has a good understanding of what is expected of him during the first month and who to turn to for guidance or help. It's important to make sure that the new employee is making progress and getting feedback on their work. It's also a good idea to verify how the new member has been received by the team or department and hear their feedback.

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Employee onboarding - goals, types and levels

The goals of onboarding are aimed at creating attractive and positive experiences for new employees and building employee trust in the organization. There are four levels of onboarding:

  • compliance - the lowest level of implementation, which boils down to familiarizing new employees with the applicable standards, principles and assumptions of the organization,
  • clarification - the task of this level is to familiarize new employees with the workplace and the requirements as well as the levels of efficiency that have been assigned to a given position,
  • culture - the aim of this level is to familiarize new employees with elements of the organization's culture, i.e. history, holidays, traditions, or the prevailing norms and values,
  • connection - refers to the creation of important interpersonal relations and information networks from the perspective of a new employee, thanks to which the new employee will be able to solve problems faster and act in difficult situations.

An effective onboarding program should guide a new employee through all these levels. However, the research shows that almost all organizations naturally implement only the first level. The second and third levels are implemented by only about half of the organizations, while the fourth level is carried out by only about 20% companies.

Benefits of employee onboarding in the company

Although we finished discussing the implementation process after the first month, research has shown that companies that spend less than one month onboarding an employee are about 9% less likely to retain employees for at least a year than companies with longer processes. And yet new employees need timeto fully acclimatize. They need time to adapt to their roles and company culture. A good time frame is about one to three months. Nevertheless, some companies decide to implement an onboarding process that takes the entire year.

Why do onboarding companies? For many reasons. First of all, it encourages building a healthy company culture. Its role in the functioning of the business cannot be overestimated. The company's culture is extremely important in keeping employees engaged, from the oldest team members to the greenest interns. Onboarding also allows you to start building relationships among employees from the very beginning. Everyone benefits from this, and internal communication it is devoid of understatement.

Considering how difficult it can be to find, attract and employing suitable, talented employees in today's competitive environment, it's important for companies to make sure they keep these key people. An effective implementation process plays a very important role in this regard.

Finally, it is worth recalling that in many respects we still have an employee market. Therefore, no company should allow itself to lack a well-thought-out implementation structure. Employee onboarding sets the tone from the very beginning. It determines what is expected of a new employee, helps in communicating with the organizational culture of the company and should provide new employees with motivation to develop as quickly as possible and become a deeply rooted part of the organization.

What form can employee onboarding take?

Onboarding, we can divide them into theoretical and practical elements. The theoretical form is all training, talks, lectures and presentations on:

  • the principles of the company's operation, its history, achievements, etc.,
  • organizational culture of the enterprise,
  • mission, goal, vision and strategy,
  • regulations, health and safety rules, operating instructions for company equipment,
  • scope of duties in a given position.

The employer should provide the new subordinate with all the most important information in the form of written files, documents or video materials. Thanks to this, the employee will be able to return to them if necessary.

Practical forms of on-boarding include, for example, showing an employee around the company, preparing interactive quizzes or surveys. It's a great idea to introduce some gamification elements.

Gamification is the use of mechanisms known from games for elements other than games. In other words, it is the introduction of fun where there was no fun originally. The purpose of gamification is to keep employees engaged, build specific habits, develop typical behaviors in specific situations. As part of the gamification, participants perform various tasks, complete missions and challenges for which they receive points, signs, and then prizes.

A properly designed game provides new employees with knowledge in a simple, accessible, and at the same time very interesting and creative way. Thanks to it, new employees can learn about the procedures in the company, regulations, specialized terms used in the industry or detailed information about specific products.

Gamification in onboarding works great in larger organizations - especially when the company employs several people at the same time. In this case, elements of team play or competition can be applied. This will facilitate adaptation and integration with other new employees, help reduce the stress associated with starting a new job, and allow you to test the potential of individual people. Preparing gamification requires some financial outlays (building a platform, purchasing a dedicated game, etc.), time and a lot of commitment. However, it is undoubtedly one of the most effective forms of onboarding. According to a study by The Aberdeen Group, the use of gamification in the process of introducing new employees increases their engagement by as much as 48%, and also helps to reduce turnover by over 1/3.

Other interesting forms of onboarding are:

  • a dedicated pre-onboarding newsletter sent to the future employee's e-mail for a specified period of time (e.g. for a 3-month notice period with the previous employer),
  • 1: 1 meetings with representatives of individual departments (or in small companies with each employee),
  • welcome pack, i.e. a package containing items useful in the first days of work.

How long should an employee onboarding last?

Employee onboarding begins at the recruitment stage. The person conducting the recruitment should briefly tell the candidate what the organizational structure in the company looks like, what are the responsibilities for a given position, how internal communication and external. Then comes the period of preparing the employee for the first day in the company (newsletters, information e-mails, preparation of the position and duties for the first days, etc.). The actual onboarding begins with the start of the new employee's job.

There is no clear answer to the question of how long an employee's onboarding should last. It is an individual matter that each company determines on its own. The length of onboarding depends on the enterprise, job position, duties of the new employee, his qualifications, etc. According to the data, onboarding lasts about 2-3 months in most companies. Sometimes it can take up to 6 or 9 months. The onboarding process should end with full adaptation of the newly hired person. After the implementation period, the employee should be fully independent. According to Glassdoor's analysis, decent onboarding can increase employee productivity by up to 70%. A properly implemented employee will feel confident in his position. He will perform his official tasks with the highest commitment and full professionalism, and thanks to this, he will achieve the set goals and achieve maximum results.

Onboarding is a step-by-step process of discovering your business that shouldn't end too quickly. You cannot bombard an employee with a tremendous amount of information in the first days of his job. The newly hired person may feel overwhelmed and confused, he will not remember all the information, and thus he will not be fully prepared to perform his or her job duties.

The fast and inaccurate onboarding process increases the risk rotation of new employees. According to data, as many as 20% employees quit their job after just 45 days from signing the contract, and as many as 33% quit after working 6 months.

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After approximately 3 months, it is worth inviting a new employee for an interview. The employer should ask the subordinate how he feels in the company, if he does not know something or is unable to do so, which is the most difficult for him. He should show him that his comfort is important to the company.

Remote onboarding - how to do it?

Remote work is becoming more and more popular - especially now in the era of a pandemic. The crisis forced employers to create new rules for the functioning of enterprises.

Remote work is not only about the daily performance of home office duties, but also remote recruitment and onboarding processes. Onboarding is a difficult art, no matter what form we choose. However, in the case of remote work, there is another challenge - no direct contact with the newly hired employee. How to effectively perform remote onboarding?

Remote introduction of a new employee should consist of the same stages as the stationary form. In remote onboarding, however, it is necessary to use new technologies. The automation of certain processes is also of great importance.

It is worth starting onboarding at the recruitment stage. During the interview (by phone or video interview), you should tell the candidate about the company's mission and vision, its goals and the detailed terms and conditions of employment. Then you can send him a dedicated poviat message and the necessary information by e-mail. If he has a notice period in the previous company, you can arrange for him to periodically send important materials that will introduce him to the organizational culture of the company. It is also worth mentioning the tools that the team uses and introducing them to the other employees, the manager and other company representatives.

It is a great idea to prepare a dedicated platform for new employees, which will contain all important information about the company, its functioning, scope of duties, individual procedures, etc. The platform should be designed in an interesting way. Walls of text without any graphics and other cutscenes are unlikely to work.

The newly hired person will quickly get bored of browsing the prepared website. It is worth placing engaging, multimedia e-learning, graphically attractive content and interesting video materials on the website. The platform should include tests that will check the acquired knowledge, as well as surveys that will give the company feedback on the effectiveness of the onboarding process - what works, what needs to be improved.

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Other forms of remote onboarding include:

  • a knowledge base that the employee will be able to return to at any time,
  • introduction of elements gamification,
  • training, e.g. at Zoom.

Which forms of remote onboarding are worth using? Preferably all! Diversified adaptation is a way to interest a new employee and a chance that he will remember the maximum amount of information about the daily functioning of the company, its goals, structure, communication procedures, document circulation, overtime, etc., and the scope of duties in the position held. According to the SHRM portal data from 2017, as many as 69% employees who went through the onboarding process were more likely to stay in the organization for min. 3 years, which is a very good result, taking into account the dynamics of the labor market.

How to build employer branding using onboarding?

One of the best ways to get a candidate's attention is to post the details of your onboarding process directly on your career pages. Jobseekers often search this site for information on onboarding. Make it easy for them and just put them on the page. Show how important it is to implement to work in your company. Candidates know how a strong implementation program is important and they want to know that companies are aware of it too. It is a good idea to inform applicants how the company is focused on implementation and how this helps employees increase satisfaction and productivity in their roles.

It's a good idea to let someone who has experienced it before onboarding is presented. Who knows better what the onboarding process looks like if not the employees who have already gone through it? Putting employees in the spotlight to share their experiences from participating in the implementation program is an excellent strategy. They are the ones who can best tell candidates more about what they have experienced as newcomers to the company.

Most job applicants hope that training and development programs will not end after the adaptation period. Companies that provide their employees with more opportunities to learn and acquire new skills do the same for themselves a happier and more productive workforce. If you do offer these types of programs, make sure to include this information in your recruiting marketing efforts.

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