First impressions of a new workplace can greatly influence employees. The image of a company is shaped during the recruitment, interviews, and pre-boarding phases, but it becomes even more critical from the moment work actually begins.
Depending on the industry, company, and position, onboarding processes can vary in length, with different areas taking the spotlight. Many steps can be standardized, but it's important to periodically adjust and refine the strategy.
Entering a new workplace, a new community, can be a stressful and uncertain period for many. To turn this introductory phase into a positive and commitment-building experience, we must be aware of potential pitfalls.
When Onboarding Goes Awry...
A poor or weak onboarding process can trigger negative repercussions and have a longer-lasting impact than just the initial few days or weeks of adjustment. Here are some consequences:
- Attrition: If a significant number of new employees leave early on, something is amiss. In extreme cases, even recruitment may need reevaluation, but certainly, the onboarding strategy requires fine-tuning. Additionally, high turnover carries substantial financial implications.
- Uncertainty: It's impossible to integrate confidently into a new company without professional support. If, during the initial stages, an employee feels lost in professional limbo – uncertain about their tasks, lacking guidance – it leads to frustration and affects performance.
- Disengagement: In situations where we are the newcomers, especially when chosen among others, we want to feel welcome, valued, and appreciated. If an employee experiences the opposite during onboarding, something has gone terribly wrong. Disappointment won't lead to commitment, and motivation and productivity may plummet immediately.
- Team Issues: The arrival of a new colleague often places extra demands on the existing team members, which is tolerable up to a point. If the team feels that the new member lacks sufficient information, preparation, or training, and if they require excessive support post-entry, it affects team morale. It sends a negative message about the company, which seems not to have cared about the newcomer's integration, creating tension in daily work.
Making Onboarding a Superb Experience and Effective...
For many companies, onboarding processes are still in their infancy, and some organizations don't pay much attention to this area until negative effects become apparent. Here are some areas and ideas that can be instrumental in creating an efficient onboarding process that directly fosters employee commitment:
- Personal vs. Online Onboarding: Personal onboarding offers the advantage of live interaction with a colleague or leader, enabling a personal connection and immediate access for questions. However, it also demands a significant amount of time from other employees for training. A balance between personal and online onboarding is key.
- E-learning: The virtual space provides accessibility and individual pace for new hires. Many important areas, such as workplace safety and fire regulations, are indispensable in onboarding but can be effectively conveyed through online training. It can include videos, tests, quizzes, and other engaging content that can also be revisited as needed.
- Administration: Access to essential documents (job descriptions, regulations, etc.) can be more straightforward through an online platform, streamlining administrative tasks for both the employee and the company. It saves time and offers a smoother experience.
- Integration: Employee commitment thrives when they quickly find their place within the team and company structure. An internal communication platform can greatly assist in this regard. New hires can explore company content at their own pace, get to know the organization and its history, and even participate in various activities from the outset.
What Shouldn't Be Overlooked: Onboarding Feedback...
A hybrid approach seems to be the perfect solution for the introductory and learning period. Standardizable and digital processes can be shifted online, while maintaining the essential personal interactions. This saves time for both new employees and the entire team while preserving crucial personal contact.
It's essential to find the onboarding approach that fits your company best, differentiating it based on job roles, and incorporating new ideas. To refine your strategy, gather feedback in multiple stages:
Ask new employees for their opinions. Find out their first impressions, challenges during onboarding, and what helped them the most. Incorporate these valuable insights into your strategy.
With a positive onboarding experience, employee commitment is already on a solid foundation, and you can build on it effectively.