The process of onboarding employees is a mandatory one in any organization. Of course, this is how new staff members get started and settled into the existing system one hiring has been completed. There are many who believe that it is solely the responsibility of the Human Resources department to ensure that new employees have the information they need to get started. As many business decision makers share this belief, the onboarding process is usually handled by HR, then the new hires are turned over to their respective department heads who organize some sort of training based on the job they are supposed to do.
There is no denying that this has worked in many organizations but there is much room for improvement in this process. If more staff members are involved in the onboarding process then the new hires can enjoy a seamless transition from being ‘fresh on the block,’ to becoming an asset to the company. Here are a few modifications that can be done to the onboarding process to ensure a smooth entry for all new employees:
• Duration – The time taken to onboard new employees is quite inadequate in many organizations. Unfortunately, the actual process usually involves a tour of the building and then some training, which technically takes place on the job. While this is helpful, the duration that this usually spans is a week (or less) and in some cases two weeks. Companies tend to look for persons that have some history in the field applied for and so it is expected that a somewhat strong background exists on the part of the new hires. This is not unreasonable; however, it is important to bear in mind that while some technologies and responsibilities are the same across multiple firms, each firm has its own environment and ways of operation and care must be taken to ensure the employee slides into the corporate culture. Therefore, the duration of onboarding should be feasible to accommodate this.
• Presentations – There are quite a few companies that have adopted this, and it has proven to be successful in allowing new hires to understand the functional areas of the business and the responsibilities of some key employees to the business. Based on the nature of the business, the degree to which this is possible may vary. However, a good idea is to have various employees do presentations to the new hires on their roles and responsibilities in the organization. These presenters don’t necessarily have to be from the same department as the new hires and this is what allows them to gain an appreciation for various roles in the early stages.
• Lunch and learn – This one is not very common, but it is successful wherever it is adopted. Assign different employees to have lunch with new hires for the first week of employment. It would be great if the company could cover the expense (if lunch is purchased externally), however, it is understood that this is not always possible. This allows the new hires to communicate with existing employees in a relaxed setting and allows a sense of feeling at ‘home’ much quicker than usual. It also allows existing employees to get a feel of who they are working with. Also, if lunch is purchased externally, then the new hires gain the additional benefit of learning where some of the best spots are to get lunch.
Onboarding is the responsibility of every level of the organizational chart and it should be handled in a way that allows employees of every level to formally take part. With the ideas presented above and others you may come up with on your own, you can improve your overall process.