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What Is Onboarding And Why Is It Important For Organizations?

Emmanuel Umoren

Jan 15, 2021

Introduction

It takes an incredible amount of time to get the right candidate to fill a particular position in an organization. The process usually involves a thorough search, screening, and selecting process of prospective candidates. With so much time expended in the process of getting the right candidate for a particular position, it is understandably frustrating when such talent does not fully integrate into the organization or stay longer. This lengthy process is why the concept of onboarding is crucial to every organization.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding is the systematic process of integrating recruits into an organization. In some quarters, it is called organizational socialization. This alias means that its meaning stretches far beyond the recruit's first day in the organization. Onboarding is an ongoing process. It continues until the Organization fully integrates the new hires into its system and operations.

Many times, the concept of onboarding is usually confused with Orientation. However, Orientation, being a one-time event, is the first step of onboarding. It is merely when the recruits are welcomed and put through the basics of the organization. Onboarding, on the other hand, is so much more. It refers to how the recruits understand the organization’s culture. It is also acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills to be comfortable and effective in the organization.

Steps of Onboarding

The Society for Human Resource Management discovered that 1 in 25 employees leave the organization due to terrible onboarding processes. Undoubtedly, first impressions do matter, and the effect is usually long-lasting. An organization's new hire onboarding process is an excellent chance to create that lasting impression. It is supposed to give the new hires a sense of belonging to the organization.

Therefore, here are the steps to ensure a successful onboarding process:

First office visit

It is best practice to notify the existing employees of a new member joining the organization. The organization gives the current employees notification via email or in-person. The organization provides this notification to ensure that the team warmly welcomes the new employee joining their ranks. Thus, this action ensures that they can offer assistance to the new employee.

Also, this is the best time to take the new employee on an office tour.

Providing everything needed for the new employee's workstation

In a remote setup, there are vital things that the organization should provide to ensure that the new employee finds it easy to get started. The organization should provide items like a new email and a phone number. Also, other office equipment ahead of time goes a long way in ensuring the employee feels valued and comfortable.

Do not rush the new employee’s training.

Providing the employee with ample time to integrate into the organization's system will go a long way in ensuring that the new employee becomes productive. Having a training plan is highly important in the onboarding process. The training should cover the organization’s essential tenets, rules, procedures, and expectations.

Follow-up

Follow-up is a vital step that many employers often overlook. Regular interactions with the new employee, irrespective of whether they are doing fine, is important. It will go a long way in giving the employee a sense of belonging to the organization. The follow-up process can also serve as a review of the organization’s onboarding process. It is good practice to discover what the new employee liked and disliked about the process and make necessary changes.

Common challenges in onboarding an employee

Irrespective of how perfect the onboarding process is, some challenges are quite familiar to new employees as they try to integrate into the new environment.

The common challenges are:

Lack of clarity for the assigned role

It is expected for many new employees that during the onboarding process, they discover that the job description is not what they expected it to be. This feeling can lead to onboarding derailment. This challenge can be a pervasive one, and words of affirmation and clarification will help acclimatize the employee to the role and the work environment.

Dealing with changes

Sometimes, a new employee may have been in a leadership role in his/her new place of employment. Thus, if not given some of the previously used benefits, the changes can create a productivity dip. Therefore, the employee should forge better relationships with the new colleagues to help with this transition phase.

Expectations and results

Frequently, it is common for employees brought in to evoke changes to struggle with effecting such changes. Undoubtedly, the pressure of performing and delivering results may be difficult.

Conflicting schedules

The new employee's time management culture in her former place of employment may differ from the organization’s requirements. The new employee should adjust and understand the importance of sticking to the organization’s schedule.

Adapting to the new culture

Adapting to the new culture is a pervasive challenge. Sometimes, an employee may show signs of not adjusting to the new organization's work culture. If this problem doesn't change in time, it may affect the relationship with his coworkers and manager.

Checklist for successful onboarding of the employees

Paying proper attention to the employees' needs is very important as they will not hesitate to move between companies until they find the best fit. Here is a simple checklist for successful onboarding to curb the challenges and suit the new employees’ needs.

Expectations clarity

Asides from the given guidelines and expectations written in a document, it is expedient that the new organization clearly defines the role and expectations.

Culture

What is more important than a new employee finding comfort in her assigned role is adapting to the new work culture. During the onboarding process, the organization should explicitly state its mission, values, and modus operandi. Also, it is good to check if the new employee's values align with the organization’s.

Management

It is best practice to get the new employee's manager involved in the onboarding process. This move will guide and help the new employee in feeling confident in her assigned role.

An onboarding process reflects how much the organization is concerned about the integration and wellbeing of its employees. It also gives an impression of the time and effort to make the new employee feel welcome in the organization. Despite it being a lengthy process, it should reflect the thoughtfulness and impression of a suitable environment for new employees.

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