Is your onboarding program an integrated process that combines high touch with high tech and manager involvement?

The Business Context

First, let’s decide on our terminology. At Infopro Learning, we consider “orientation” to mean activities such as getting the new hire on the payroll with appropriate benefits, etc.

On the other hand, “onboarding” is considered a longer process (up to one full year) with the goal of reducing the time it takes for new hires to reach acceptable productivity, to truly assimilating them into the culture and the team, and to ensuring they understand how their role fits into the big picture.

A recent survey of 90 HR professionals by the Impact Instruction group (reported in T&D magazine) found onboarding to be a major priority for fully two-thirds of respondents. Almost that same number uses a technology-based solution for onboarding – more than half use e-learning.

Asked by Impact what their organizations do well in onboarding, responses included:

  • Making new employees feel welcome
  • Personalization to the employee or role
  • Strong leadership involvement
  • Support and face-to-face interaction

The Manager Is Critical in the Process

A second survey (by Ryan Sanders) indicates that managers are always critical to a successful onboarding process, especially for younger workers who have a strong need for connecting at a personal level with their managers.

Three out of four respondents said on-the-job training was the most important thing a new hire needs to get up to speed and begin contributing quickly.

Benefits to the Organization

The benefits of strong onboarding programs to employees may be obvious – but what about the benefits to organizations? According to several studies, these benefits include:

  • Reduced costs associated with learning on the job
  • Saving co-workers and supervisors the time taken up in training new employees
  • Strengthened morale
  • Reduced turnover by showing new hires that they are valued

What Goes into a Good Onboarding Program?

Experts advise providing onboarding throughout the organization at the following levels:

  • Corporate: business strategy, organizational structure and culture and company-wide values and how the person fits into that structure and culture
  • Location/Department: regional and facility-specific issues, safety, regulatory issues, etc.
  • Team/Job: the work of the team and how it fits into the company’s strategy, the role of the co-workers and specific responsibilities, and how team members work together to accomplish its goals
  • Individual: the personal responsibilities of the new hire, how success will be measured and feedback mechanisms, mentoring/peer coaching

While each organization may have its own goals and processes in place, here at Infopro Learning we propose the following key components and tools that can be considered as the foundation for a solid, practical onboarding program.

Here are 5 Key Components of Successful and Practical Onboarding, in an Infographic:

Suggested Readings on Onboarding:

  • Checklist for Successful Onboarding, by John Edwards, hrworld.com, 7-31-2008
  • Effective Onboarding: Reducing New Hire Time to Competency, by Karen O’Leonard, Bersin & Associates, July 2005
  • (The) First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins, HBS Press
  • (The) New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, by George Bradt, Wiley, 3rd edition 2011
  • Onboarding Has Become a Major Priority in 2013, Study Finds, by Patty Gaul, T&D Magazine, 12-8-2013
  • Want Your New Employees’ Personal Commitment? Take Their Onboarding Personally, by George Bradt, Forbes.com, 3-19-2014
AUTHOR
Kathy Sherwood

Kathy Sherwood

About the author: Kathy is the Director of Leadership and Organizational Development for InfoPro Learning. Prior to InfoPro Learning, she was the founder and senior partner of a global leadership development company for more than 20 years. Kathy’s specialty is creating a customized blend of workshops, coaching, simulations, and e-learning tools to provide leaders and managers with a competitive advantage, while also maximizing the return on training investment for their organizations.

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