In earlier times, organizations did not have a formal onboarding process. New joinees had to learn things on their own and adjust to the office environment. However, things have changed for the better. Presently, organizations stress an organized employee onboarding process. Right from lead management software to appraisals everything is pre-defined. This turns out to be fruitful for the employees. Also, it helps build a positive brand image for the company.
Introduction to Employee Onboarding Process
Employee onboarding refers to the process of integrating new employees into the organization. It involves making new joinees familiar with the culture of the company. Employees even get to know the company policies.
With a formal onboarding process, employees are equipped with the tools and techniques. This helps contribute to their teams productively. The objective of the onboarding process is to make employees understand the expectations that the company has for them.
The Cross-Boarding Process
While an Employee Onboarding Process is primarily targeted towards new employees. However modern workplaces conduct an onboarding process even for existing employees. People within the organization accept new roles in the same department or a different department. Such employees are given cross-boarding. While existing employees are aware of the culture, the cross-boarding process helps them prepare for the new role.
Importance of Employee Onboarding Process
An effective and well-organized onboarding Process ensures employee loyalty and retention. Such employees even spread the good word about the organization in the industry. Instead of making this Process company-specific, HR needs to design it from the employees’ point of view.
A well-designed onboarding strategy makes the employees aware of the rules and equips them with the required tools. This ensures productivity from the employees from the very beginning. The duration of the onboarding Process can be anything between 6 months to sometimes even a year. It ends when an employee settles into the office environment.
The Flow of the Onboarding Process
Step 1: Job Offer to the Candidates
An employee onboarding process begins when it is decided to hire the candidate post interviews. The first step is to release the offer to the candidate. It begins with mailing an offer letter that comprises policy documents, forms if any and requirements. The communication should be in black and white to prevent any glitches.
Clear communication ensures that employees begin their relationship with the organization on a positive note. This also ensures that the employees settle into the office environment quickly and comfortably. The release offers should contain:
Job Description of the Employee
A formal phone call that is open-ended
Complete information about the job profile
Employee’s cost to the company
Contact details for follow-up communication
Step 2: Acceptance of the Job Offer
The job offer to the candidate should mention the deadline till the date the offer is open to him/her. The second step is the stage when the employee accepts the offer. The company representative sets up a call wherein the two parties discuss the policies and procedures that were mentioned in the job offer.
This is the phase where the maximum number of candidates revoke their decision to join the company. An open-ended phone call clears doubts in the mind of candidates and confirms her appointment. Organizations should be prepared with the following documents before the date when the employee joins:
Code of Conduct
Attendance and leave policy
Health and Safety Policy
Step 3: Reminders during Time Gap
Between the offer acceptance and the date of joining, there is a time gap. Even after accepting the offer, it is not sure that the candidate will join the office. Hence, the role of the organization is to keep sending reminder emails to the candidate.
The reminder emails could comprise photographs of the events being held by the organization. Companies can even send newsletters during this time. This sets a positive tone in the relationship between the candidate and the company. The emails even excite the candidate to join the organization, looking forward to an eventful time.
Step 4: First Day at the Organization
Just like a child’s first day at school is important, the first day of the new employee to is equally crucial. A new joinee can feel anxious on her first day along with excitement. The role of the HR manager is to make new joinees feel comfortable on the first day. There can be a formal induction ceremony for the new joinees as well. Things to be kept in mind after the employee has joined:
Company email address for the employee
A welcome letter on that email address
Introduction with the head of the organisation
Introduction with the team
Sufficient time to complete paperwork
Policies during emergencies
Time and place for lunch
Date of salary
Visiting card, Office phone number, biometric, laptop, etc
Allotment of vehicle parking
While some of the above-mentioned things might seem unnecessary, they are necessary to start things with clarity. In addition to these, every joinee should have a mentor to guide them during the probation period.
Step 5: Synergy with other Departments
In most cases, an employee has to work as a member of a specific team or department. For instance, marketing, IT, human resource, and the like. However, every organization has different departments that work in synergy with each other.
A new employee needs to be introduced to other departments in the company. The mode of communication with these departments also needs to be mentioned for smooth operations. Heads of other departments should also be communicated regarding the role of the new employee.
Step 6: Orientation
When a new employee joins the organization, she is often unaware of the culture of the organization. The role of HR is to orient the new joinees regarding the organization and its environment.
An employee should be aware of the different HR policies of the company. These policies should be accessible to the new joinee in case she needs to refer to them. Proper orientation helps employees to settle into the organization at a quicker pace. Employees who are trained properly are more productive.
Tips for developing the onboarding process
Mostly, companies are not prepared to welcome new employees. This starts things on a negative note, especially when existing employees are not aware of the new joinee. Companies should prepare their colleagues for the new employee. There could be an announcement on the premises, a common email mentioning the name and position of the new employee or even an induction ceremony. Existing employees can be guided on how to help new employees settle into the organization. Assigning a mentor goes a long way to make the new employee settle in quickly.
The first day is a very crucial one for the new employee. The HR team should schedule a formal introduction with the senior employees in the organisation. This ensures that the new employee does not fall into the trap of false rumours. The new employee should know how the formal communication channels work in the organization, whom they can approach in case of glitches, and what are the possible remedies if some common mistakes are committed.
The first day of the new employee in the organization should be devoted to introductions. The first week is to make the new employee understand her role in the organization. During this time, employees will also unlearn certain things from past experiences. There are chances of bloopers during this period, which should be calmly handled by the HR teams.
A formal setting often makes it difficult for new employees to build a bond with the existing employees. The HR team can plan team lunches at a restaurant or a potluck to blend the new employee into the company culture. This helps make teams more productive. Retention, too, becomes more accessible.
The flow of communication with the new employee should be maintained without any gaps. There are more chances of misunderstandings during the probation and things getting ugly later. Feedback forms can be filled out by new employees to express their experiences. They should feel free to ask questions and settle their queries.
The Road Ahead
An onboarding process goes a long way in making an employee feel proud of the place where she works. However, there might be a few challenges that HR needs to take care of. One of the biggest challenges faced is mismanagement. If the onboarding process for the new employees is not in proper order, then all the benefits that could have been received from the process can backfire. Another problem that is generally faced is improper budgeting. Organizations should be prepared to shell out adequate money for the employee onboarding process. This helps elevate the experience of the new hires. Great employee training programs include clear and precise communication, the scope for feedback from new employees, and offering quality information. This helps new hires get acclimatized to the culture of the organization and meet the objectives effortlessly and efficiently.