What is Onboarding and how do you apply it within your organization?

By now most employers know all too well that it is very important to keep investing in the search for new talent. After all, a company has an ongoing need for strong human capital in order to grow, realize new and often challenging projects, guarantee quality and service, and perhaps most important of all: to ensure that there is always a good exchange between the employees who work together on a daily basis to achieve all these things. An eye for the present is often obvious, but focus on the future is essential. Nevertheless, the search for those new strong employees remains a major investment for many companies.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding means the socialization of new employees. But what does that mean in concrete terms? Well, every business organization has its own mission and vision. To give shape to these 2 things, organizations also have their own corporate culture, structure, strategy and operation. Knowing this, it is understandable that when an employee enters a new work environment, some guidance is definitely welcome. Onboarding therefore refers to the guidance process that serves to allow new employees to land in the new work environment in a very efficient way. Despite the fact that this all sounds quite logical, we can conclude that there are still many companies that place the responsibility for the implementation process entirely with the new employee. This is unfortunate as we can see that organizations that do pay a lot of attention to the implementation process and take a lot of responsibility for it, achieve stronger results in the area of recruitment. What we mean by this is that these companies not only manage to make the newcomers feel at home on the work floor faster, but also to inform them more quickly about the operation, which makes them much more productive and involved. The first 90 days after entry are crucial for the success of recruitment and further employment. If a newcomer does not immediately feel at home, is not well informed about the operation or structure of the organization and does not know who to turn to for feedback and additional information, he or she will not be able to start and perform the job properly, which means that the employment with the new employer will be short-lived. This is true. Onboarding not only ensures that new employees will be more productive and successful within the new organization faster, but also that they will soon be familiar, comfortable and involved with the working environment in which they recently landed.

Their self-confidence and motivation will be strengthened, which will make them less likely to leave and look for an employer where they will feel at home from the first day at work. Onboarding is an essential step not to be missed when hiring new candidates. Because why on earth would you put in  so much effort and investment to find top candidates and convince them to come and work for you; when the employment will not get all the opportunities it needs to get off to a good start? Now that you know what the benefits of onboarding can be, you are probably very interested to know how you can apply it within your organization. Therefore, we will explain the things that are very important about a good onboarding process.

How do you apply onboarding within your organization?

Of course, strong guidance is not only important for successful onboarding. There are some elements of which we need to be aware in order to optimize this implementation process.

  • The corporate culture that lives within an organization evolves throughout the lifespan and history of a company. The policy is then tailored to this. We can therefore state that the corporate culture in most cases refers to the mission, vision, strategy, operation, values and standards of the company. For example, one company may focus mainly on the personal development of the people who work there. Training and coaching are central here. It is clear that the objectives of the company are then in line with the development and goals of its employees. The company is there for its people and not the other way around. The other organization, in turn, puts its own goals first. Here there is mainly attention for processes and rules. Inefficiency is the biggest enemy for this type of work environment and will be eliminated so quickly so that the operation is not compromised. The employees who contribute to this inefficiency will soon have to learn to follow the process and the rules flawlessly or they can look for another employer. Finally, there is also the company where the hierarchical structure prevails. Here, everything revolves mainly around positions, promotions, privileges and competition. This is not a work environment for people with a weak stomach, because you have to be able to take a beating here.

On the one hand, it is very interesting to introduce the new employee from day one to the people he or she will be working with and also to put him or her in contact with a specific colleague who has been working in the company for a long period of time and who will take on a mentoring role. The team will create more involvement by inviting the newcomer to a joint lunch or “fun after work” and the mentor will be able to show in a very efficient and practical way which values, norms, vision, mission and operation are alive in the workplace. On the other hand, it is beneficial if you give the newcomer some “branded gifts” that he or she can use during work, which will help him or her to personalize with the organization more quickly. Finally, it is important to highlight the current projects, objectives and results to the new employee. Inspiration and pride work very contagious and this certainly benefits the start of employment.

  • Guidance, clear agreements and expectations are highly desirable when welcoming and integrating new talents. It is true: one employee finds his way faster than the other. Nevertheless, it is important that the responsibilities regarding the implementation process are not fully assigned to the newcomer. In many cases he or she does not know what is expected of him or her and what objectives, aspirations and results have to be achieved within which period of time. In the end the person in question will do everything in his or her power to get settled in on time but will in fact just be thrown in front of the lions. So it is actually the organization that is fully aware of the agreements and expectations. Only these agreements were not made with the candidate employee, so we can really only talk about expectations on the part of the employer. In this case, the employment will be of short duration as the interim evaluation will take place without the new employee being present. Another welcoming factor is that the person in question is questioned about his or her expectations regarding the new working environment. If these are not clearly discussed, the employee may get off to a good start but will still leave if the expectations held beforehand turn out to be unrealistic.
    In order to successfully meet these challenges, it is important to make a good preparation before the first working day. For example, you can use a checklist of 30 days so that the new employee knows what objectives and results need to be achieved and within what period of time. This will create more certainty about the implementation period. Also, the success rate will increase a lot. A good start is half the battle. But to get off to a good start, good preparation and guidance is essential. Since the first 90 days play a decisive role in the success and longevity of further employment, it is interesting to keep using the checklist during this period. But also the expectations of the newcomer should not be forgotten. They should therefore be discussed transparently and clearly so that they can also be assessed realistically. If this is not done, the confidence, security and motivation of the newcomer will be affected in the long run. Objectives can be very motivating, but of course they must be achievable. That is why it is better to discuss them well. This is the only way to identify the different steps needed to achieve these objectives. Finally, feedback is the last step of this process. All this effort mentioned above will turn out to be useless if we do not return to it every time. The agreements, objectives and expectations can be clearly discussed, but interim evaluation and adjustment are also part of a good coaching process.
  • Practical matters, necessities and rules need to be provided on time in order to be able to start the work properly. This seems to be a very obvious issue. Yet there are still too many employers who do not succeed in this. If it is not possible to arrange the practical matters before the first working day, the consequences will be disastrous for the familiarization period and therefore automatically for the further employment. If the newcomer does not get the supplies on time, the involvement and trust will be affected. It will also be more difficult to personalize with the new organization. Finally, he or she will also not be able to start work correctly. In addition to the necessities, there are other things that are important to get used to right away. Legal provisions and the basic regulations are there to be followed. These regulations refer to matters such as policy, sick leave, leave days, safety rules, manners and confidentiality. Without these rules there would mainly be chaos and absent-mindedness in the workplace.

In order to guarantee clarity and transparency in this respect, communication and dialogue form a good strategy. In a further stage, colleagues and mentors within the company can also offer the solution to the forgetfulness about rules. It seems very obvious, but still it is so important to give a new engagement all the opportunities it needs to get off to a good start. A good conversation before employment starts can work wonders.

Conclusion

It is now clear that a successful recruitment process goes beyond finding the right candidate. Once this has happened, the candidate still needs to be trained in order to be able to add value to the organization and vice versa. A successful onboarding can be summarized as follows. On the one hand, it is important that the candidate employee is given the means to do his or her job well and in time. Next, he or she should quickly feel familiar with the work environment. Social contact is therefore essential. On the other hand, it is very important that attention is paid to recognition and appreciation. These have a positive impact on the motivation of employees and their productivity. Finally, the self-awareness of the new employee is perhaps the most important thing. When he or she has found his or her way, is confident and experiences the feeling of freedom, he or she will be motivated to take the initiative. People convince themselves but also each other. This means that in the first 90 days they will convince themselves and each other or that they have made a good or bad choice about their new employment. So a kind of story comes into being. And on this they will base their choice whether or not to leave. Onboarding optimizes the chances of a positive story.

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