Why your organisation needs to get onboarding right


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written on November 6, 2017

A look at what you need to successfully integrate employees into your organisation.

In any relationship, the first few months are crucial. This is the time when you either really warm to the other person or wonder whether this might not have been your best decision. Employee relationships with organisations aren’t radically different, which is why first impressions really count. Onboarding is one of the most important components of an employment relationship. It’s the “honeymoon phase”, and getting it wrong can be both risky and expensive. According to research conducted by Aberdeen Group, 86 per cent of respondents felt that a new hire makes the decision to stay or leave an organisation within the first six months. As we all know, replacing employees is time consuming, resource draining and impacts negatively on organisational morale and productivity.

Onboarding shouldn’t be approached as a quick fix. A brief HR orientation, a checklist and a bunch of policy related forms and documents will not go a long way with a new recruit. Rather, a strategic and integrated approach to onboarding should begin well before the first day and continue throughout the year.

SilkRoad’s Ultimate Guide to Onboarding and Employee Transitions helps employers navigate the process in four key areas:

  • The essential onboarding approach
  • Creating a user-friendly onboarding portal
  • Automating onboarding preparation
  • Setting goals and measuring ROI

Onboarding essentials

Successful onboarding needs to be approached as a holistic and strategic venture. The Brandon Hall Group Performance Onboarding Model sheds light on some of the key onboarding components like momentum, collaboration, enablement, assimilation and connection. As touched on earlier, the onboarding process should begin before the new employee sets foot in the door. Momentum is comprised of a pre-boarding process and regular check-ins. “Pre-boarding” means having all paperwork completed and a new workstation set up, so everything runs smoothly when the new hire arrives. Throughout the first months, there should be regular check ins scheduled with the new hire with HR, leadership, and most importantly, the hiring manager.

You next need to figure out how onboarding is approached. Collaboration refers to the way an organisation integrates a new employee, be it through meeting different department heads,  training new hires about core business units, or onboarding new recruits as a group to heighten the social aspects of the process. New hires aren’t going to have much success if they don’t know how to access company resources, and that’s why enablement is so important. Equally important is providing feedback and forming a mentoring relationship with the new hire through an assimilation process. The success of the employee’s integration ultimately rests with the involvement of the hiring manager. While that relationship is of the utmost importance, it’s not the only one that counts. Make sure new employees are included in company social events if they want to be.

Onboarding portals

A user-friendly portal will make the onboarding process more streamlined and enjoyable for a new recruit. Bombarding them with information is not the way to go . You want to emphasise two to three key goals which will differ from employee to employee: It shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach. Demographics, location and job title all need to be considered. Making information more accessible means categorising it in your portal while emphasising the cultural values of the organisation. Collect ideas from other managers about what they think is important, and set up a feedback portal.

Automating onboarding preparation

There’s no better way to alienate a new employee than failing to prepare for their arrival. Here’s where an automated checklist comes in. It provides reminders about what needs to be set up before they arrive, such as business cards, parking permits, usernames and passwords and ID cards.

Setting goals and metrics

It’s no good investing all this time and energy in starting off on the right foot with an employee, if you don’t assess whether it has worked.  That’s why you need to measure your onboarding processes and make sure you’re achieving ROI. You need to think about what your goals are, for example increased productivity, reduced stress and turnover or development of on-the-job knowledge.

Organisations that have successfully transformed their onboarding process

Unisys, a global technology company, hire over 4,000 new employees every year across multiple countries, languages and divisions. “As we continued to grow, it became more apparent that our new training program needed to be restructured,” says Rebecca Moorhouse, Unisys’s onboarding global process owner, who described their previous system as “like drinking water from a hose”. “New hires and managers were overwhelmed,” she says.

Unisys turned to SilkRoad Onboarding to automate their onboarding process. The portal is flexible to suit their diverse, global needs. “Onboarding became automated, efficient and cost-effective,” says Moorhouse. “Everyone now works off the same page in a very complicated, global situation.”

On the home front, Georgiou, a dynamic and rapidly growing Australian construction company, needed an automated onboarding system that would eliminate paperwork and cater to the nature of the business, which sees both full time employees and contractors move from project to project. Their previous manual system was a long-winded process and took the focus away from important issues such as workplace safety.

After implementing SilkRoad’s Onboarding and HRMS software, Georgiou employees were able to hit the ground running. Their unique system has saved the company both time and money while being more informative about the job at hand.

Manufacturing company Scania Australia wanted to save time and resources by having employees ready to go on day one. SilkRoad Onboarding has simplified the process for managers and new hires. In contrast to their previous hard copy starter pack, which took four weeks to complete before employees were fully integrated into Scania’s internal systems, employees can now complete the process using e-forms at home before their start day. Managers are also able to track their onboarding deadlines using the system. Overall, Scania’s new automated portal is more efficient and makes sure all the bases are covered. The company has seen satisfaction with their onboarding process increase significantly, which has positively impacted productivity on the whole.

Find out how to transform your onboarding process with SilkRoad’s Ultimate Guide to Onboarding and Employee Transitions.

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