Employee Onboarding – Make it or Break it?

Consider two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Debbie was pursuing her post-graduation from one of the Ivy League schools and she was interested to pursue her career as a Talent and Acquisition Specialist in one of the top finance-based company. Luckily the company decided to come to her campus for placements and as luck would favor it, she got the opportunity for the interviews. After series of group discussions and interviews, she finally gets selected as Talent and Acquisition Management Trainee. She received her offer letter and was scheduled to join after 6 months. But those 6 months fell short of her expectations. Apart from a couple of mails which were mostly about documents submission and verification, there was zero-communication. On her first day, there were no office tours, no dedicated workspace and moreover, there loomed a non-welcoming attitude. Months passed by, even her training and performance appraisal was very irregular. Feeling insulted and demotivated, she left the job in about 7 months and decided to go for another organization.

Scenario 2: Debbie joined a new organization which might not be one of the top financial organization, but it was a medium sized thriving organization. She was scheduled to join after a couple of months aftergetting selected. Surprisingly, during those 2 months, she received a congratulatory mail, company goodies and an employee handbook. Apart from that, her HR also completed all the required paperwork. Her first day went by in a blink of her eye. Starting with orientation, followed by leadership team introduction, office tour and a special lunch with her new team, her day went by exceedingly well. Even after 6 months, she went through a methodical training program and a transparent performance appraisal process. Satisfied, she overstayed in that company for almost 9 years.

Onboarding: Building a first-time experience that makes users ...

So now let me ask you a question – Given a chance, which company would you choose?

Among the two scenarios, the first company lacked a major employee experience – Employee Onboarding, which was apparently instituted by the second company. Onboarding is the process of integrating a new hire with the company and with the company culture, values as well as providing all the necessary tools, software and information, so that the new hire becomes a productive member of the team. Believe it or not, employee onboarding experience plays a very crucial role in the employee engagement and is considered to be potential investment in the employee retention.

But some people might ask, what is the necessity of such a program. The sole reason is to allow the new hires to be familiarized with the company culture, to determine the fit and most importantly, to remove the confusion and the anxiety that usually haunts the hire on the first day. Research says that our new generation, that is Gen Z is very much dependent on the manager’s approval and they expect themselves to be highly productive from the very first day of hire. New hires have immense expectations from his new company in terms of engagement, career development and growth and similarly, the employer also has expectations from the new hire in terms of performance and contribution. And the very first step to build that relationship is this EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING EXPERIENCE.

Employee Onboarding consists of 5 major steps:

  1. Pre-hire – This is the period between the selection of the candidate and his first day. Operations HR plays a very important role in the pre-hire stage. During this time, the company sends the offer letter which is to be signed and sent back. The company also sends a company guide (mission, vision and values), an employee handbook (compensation and benefits policies) and company goodies (paper weight, coffee mug, coaster etc). During this time, background and documents verification is the most crucial part.
  2. First day – On this day, the HR Team plays a crucial role by welcoming the new hire. Usually the day starts with orientation in the form of webinars and videos, but mostly done face to face. An employment contract is also signed on this day. This is followed by meeting with the leadership team who delivers information about the company’s culture, an office tour, a lunch with the dedicated team and most importantly, assignment of the workspace.
  3. New Employee Orientation – During these days, the team lead introduces the entire team with the new hire and assigns a buddy and a mentor for guidance. Also, some important contact lists in terms of work and safety are also provided. Access and account creation is also done. It is very important for the new hire to get acquainted with all the team members and try to acclimatize in the new workplace.
  4. New Employee Training – After the orientation is complete, the hew hire should understand who are the major stakeholders of his work. A training program should be developed with quantifiable objectives to make the new hire productive and the training should be result oriented. Post that, small achievable goals will be set with milestones and deadlines. The new hire will be observed and then the ground is set for performance evaluation. This is usually done for the first 90 days.
  5. Performance Evaluation – Usually after 90 days, the new hire will be evaluated on the basis of training objectives and they will receive the performance ratings. The evaluation is done based on observation or interview. The result of the evaluation is either more training or normalization to the daily schedule, depending on the rating.
7 Problems With Your Onboarding Program

These are the major steps which should be followed by a company, with some modifications according to company’s culture. What an organization must remember is that the cost of new hiring is 3 times the cost of retaining the existing employee. So if a company has taken the pain to hire someone, it should bear the extra burden by providing an onboarding platform to make this entire journey a bit easier for the new employee.

“Be thankful to your employees, who are ultimately the face of your company.”