What is Onboarding?

Eve-Carrie
Eve-Carrie

Updated · May 10, 2022

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Shocking stats reveal that only about 12% of companies offer a satisfactory process of orienting new employees. 

For many companies, the procedure for hiring is complete once an applicant sits at their desk. But is it? Let’s explore what onboarding is and its benefits.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization or staff orientation, introduces new employees to your business - team, roles, and company culture

Besides the socialization aspect, it also acts as a probationary period. Newbies and employers can both observe to see if they’ll work well together in the long run. 

Most organizations make the mistake of hastily handing out paperwork for newbies to complete for compliance purposes. 

After that, companies regularly plunge new staff right into work, often leaving them feeling lost and confused.

Often considered a waste of time, employers skip the onboarding step in developing their human resources

However, employee onboarding is crucial.

Here are its benefits:

Higher Engagement

Disengaged employees cost companies upwards of $500 billion annually. This is because they often lack motivation.

On the other hand, fostering employee engagement can increase revenue by up to 682%!

Fortunately, staff orientation helps set the foundation for a robust professional commitment from the outset. 

When you communicate things like your company’s values and culture, newcomers will more likely feel like part of a family. A sense of belonging is likely to nurture teamwork and prove again and again why onboarding is important.  

Not only that.

Timey check-ins, reviews, and recognition can make them feel valued. This is also necessary from the beginning to help identify problem areas

Employee Retention

It is always best to consider onboarding new employees to reduce high turnover. Otherwise, you will have recurring hiring costs - like recruiting, screening, and interviewing that are preventable.

If done right, staff will experience heightened job satisfaction and self-efficacy. With such, you can expect less turnover.

Higher Productivity

According to the tech consulting and research firm Gartner, feeling like an outsider even once can make a worker’s performance decline by 25%. 

That’s something organizational socialization attempts to curb.

Staff induction practices can help make employees feel like part of a team. And that’s the easiest way for them to start working towards a common goal.

In addition, settling into a new role can take time.

But, onboarding new hires the right way can help shorten that time considerably. With unstructured methods, new workers often receive too much information with inadequate support or explanation. This only prolongs their newbie status. 

With an effective process of orienting employees, you can expect newcomers to more intuitively learn. In addition, you can identify and correct concerns earlier on. In turn, efficiency increases, and they can handle more and more challenging tasks.

Stronger Teams

The last thing you want is for your organization to splinter into cliques - like new vs. old or this department vs. that one.

Divisions at work can lead to unnecessary conflicts, gossip, unhealthy competition, you name it. Onboarding encourages connectedness.

Better Communication 

Most newbies don’t feel comfortable asking questions or providing constructive feedback.

Fortunately, a capable new employee onboarding process will encourage new employees to seek answers. As this happens incrementally, at no time will they be lacking confidence in completing their tasks at hand. 

Better Company Culture

Staff orientation presents your company's mission, vision, and values right from the beginning. If done right, it shows that you’re not holding back anything, which helps cultivate trust.

With a comprehensive company introduction from the get-go, newbies will more likely align their own goals with the organization’s. In the end, you’ll have staff working hard to make a difference while also reaching professional milestones. 

Additionally, they’ll be more eager to pass on the company’s culture to future new hires - a great advantage for any business wishing to expand.

Encourages Collaboration 

New team members can quickly learn from their experienced peers with suitable organizational socialization procedures. For example, more seasoned employees can share their inside knowledge and tips with them. Such support is a great advantage for learning and reinforcing the ins and outs of any organization.

Components of Successful Onboarding Programs

Finding appropriate candidates to fill vacancies is one thing. 

Giving them a quality onboarding experience is a whole other ball game.

No worries, though. 

Here are some best practices on how to onboard new employees:

Introductions

Being a new team member can be super intimidating. 

As such, the best way to onboard new employees is to do so promptly in order to avoid any awkward stares. Start by giving them a warm welcome the minute they report for work. 

In addition, you can introduce them individually to key team members. Make sure to mention their respective departments so they know who to go to when needing assistance. 

Goal Definition 

Defining expectations is critical for new hires to gauge their progression. Clearly specified objectives and deadlines will effectively guide them. Be sure to provide ample time for questions for effective on-the-job learning as they knock off their assigned onboarding tasks.

Check-Ins and Reviews

It is important to reach out regularly to new hires to determine if they’re facing any challenges. Such opportunities also allow for constructive feedback regarding their performance.

And for those underperforming, structured meetings and reviews will allow for more timely corrections. 

Workplace Culture 

What is an onboarding process without familiarization of a business’s culture? 

It can encompass things like customs, language use, dress requirements and attitude.. 

While molding a positive onboarding model takes time, the end results of an inclusive and unified team are timeless.

Office Navigation

Familiarize you new employees with their environment. This can include things like:

  • Parking and transport options
  • Supply and resource stores
  • Fire assembly point
  • Office layout with attention to key departments and offices

Paperwork and Regulations

Now let’s take a look at what onboarding paperwork is often required.

Companies usually request new hires to complete insurance policies, equipment use agreements, IT agreements, etc. A human resource representative or a line manager often provide new employees with such and ensure they are available for questions. 

A good hiring and onboarding practice emphasizes the importance of all internal policies and procedures. Additionally, it won’t hurt to outline any potential consequences for not following them. Being upfront with such will hopefully prevent future misunderstandings.  

Appointing Mentors

It is practically impossible for recently hired individuals to memorize everything on their very first day. 

So it's crucial to have a competent individual available who can help them settle into their new role. Additionally, once the newbie’s probation period is over, you can receive third-person feedback from the appointed mentor.

Job Description

And last but not least, outline everything the position entails. That way, there won’t be any mixups that may lead staff into veering into other people’s responsibilities, causing wasted manpower or, worse, conflicts between personnel.

In addition, reviewing job functions will help set expectations. This is likely to positively impact performance. 

How Long Does Onboarding Take?

An effective onboarding process for new employees should take a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of one year. 

Here are the different phases of onboarding and their timelines:

Pre-boarding

Pre-boarding happens between offer-letter acceptance and reporting date. During this period, the applicant may be weighing your offer against others. 

They could also potentially use it as a bargaining chip with a current employer. 

As such, it is vital to make a good impression.  

But whatever you do, do not over-promise!

You can start by sending a warm, personalized welcome note. In it, mention the reporting date, payment details, employee handbook, benefits, and other pertinent details. Also, if convenient, consider inviting the new hire to meet the rest of the team or see the office and their workspace.

Also, one of the best ways to onboard new employees is to ensure that they have everything they need by their first day. This can include stationery, a computer, an equipped office, manuals, etc. When possible, you should provide reading materials as far in advance as possible.  The chances are that new hires will get a headstart on digesting your company’s literature. 

Day One to Month Three

This is a crucial period in any onboarding process for new employees. In addition to face-to-face team introductions and the provision of materials, it’s imperative that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, and objectives are determined. 

Regular check-ins are necessary to ensure the new member feels supported and to determine if additional resources are required. 

Be sure to manage the flow of information carefully to avoid any overload that could become counterproductive.  

Also, remember to track their workplace engagement and nudge them whenever you notice disengagement. In addition, keep an eye out for any potential deficiencies in performance and consider necessary adjustments to their tasks.

Three to Six Months

During this time, it's plausible that your employee is debating whether to stay or go. 

When onboarding new hires, one of the best practices is to keep an open line of communication. Also, continue to offer guidance through one-on-one sessions. And don’t forget to provide positive reinforcement!

Six Months to One Year 

This is the transition period between onboarding and retention.

By this time, your worker has already settled into their new role. In addition, you will have done enough evaluation to see if they’re a good fit. 

Difference Between Onboarding and Training

Although people sometimes use the two terms interchangeably, they are not the same. 

First, let’s revisit for a minute, what is an onboarding process?

In the simplest terms, the process of orienting new employees is all about building a bond between individuals and the organization. It helps new hires better relate to your company earlier on, which in turn helps solidify work ethics and overall development. 

On the other hand, training covers the technical aspects of a job. In other words, it’s all about learning how to complete the tasks. 

However, for the successful induction of any new staff member, you must implement both training and onboarding processes

Wrap Up 

Organizational socialization is crucial for effectively bringing new staff onto an established team. Onboarding can make all the difference between employee retention and high turnover. It can also boost your profits by improving productivity, engagement, collaboration, and teamwork. 

You can also invest in quality onboarding software to ease the process. Automatic workflows are often a key component, making them invaluable to firms looking to increase the size of their teams.  

Before introducing any solutions, ensure that management fully understands what onboarding is and its advantages. That way, they’ll properly use the tools for maximum benefit to the company. 

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Eve-Carrie

Eve-Carrie

Eve is a lover of everything technology. Figuring out how software works and creating content to shed more light on the value it offers users is her favorite past time. When not evaluating apps or programs, she's busy trying out new healthy recipes, doing yoga, meditating, or taking nature walks with her little one.

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