What is Onboarding? Part One: Employee Onboarding

Funny fact: when searching for the meaning of term Onboarding, you would stumble upon one of two explanations – one relating to the process of acclimating new employees at a workplace, the other relates to the experience of getting a user to learn how to use new software and feel comfortable with it, often on a Mobile device.

 

In essence, these two processes are similar. The process of familiarizing someone with a new environment, whether professional or digital, requires a strategy for welcoming, teaching skills and providing a sense of control and confidence in a new environment.

 

Seeing as Iridize’s expertise pertains to both onboarding practices, we gladly offer the Two Part Series of the Iridize Onboarding package. This post will focus on onboarding new employees:

The Goal

Onboarding new employees is the process of helping the employee settle into the new work environment. Depending on the employee’s role and the size of the organization, it can take between several weeks to several months.

 

The main objective is to help the employee become acquainted with the organization’s work processes, work culture, software and colleagues.

 

employee onboarding - working together

 

Why Onboarding should be a priority?

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but employees who develop a healthy sense of loyalty toward the organization are more likely to stay in its employment. This is an important factor in a corporate world, where an estimated 15% of employees turn over within the first two years of their employment. Replacing 12 employees will cost the organization about a quarter of a million dollars (the calculation is differential, so don’t do the average).

 

The bottom line: providing a welcoming, comfortable, socially stable work environment is not only the mensch way to do things – it will greatly impact your HR expenses and overall organizational stability and performance.

 

Best Employee Onboarding Practices

Onboarding operates in several wave lengths:

Immediate and time sensitive

Making sure the organization is ready to welcome the new employee with regard to infrastructure: PC, name tag, meet & great team and management, creating a user on various organization software tools. The idea is to provide a sense of significance, so the employee understands his arrival was prepared and not a matter of afterthought. He is valuable and his arrival has been anticipated.

welcoming employees onboarding

Medium-term fixed activity

This refers to inducting the new employee into the mechanics of the organization’s work-flow: introducing and teaching new software, explaining procedures, and, well, putting up “Here Be Dragons” signs in the appropriate places to avoid unnecessary awkwardness.

Long term  

Staying informed on the employee’s acclimation process in the organization. Touching base, scheduling periodic feedback meetings, tracking the training progress with onboarding analytics tools, possibly assigning a peer to be the unofficial onboarding mentor. Someone has to have the overview perspective.

 

Hands-on tips

  • Work with an onboarding checklist. These things are remarkably helpful.
  • Benchmark onboarding processes to track the organization’s progress in this regard
  • Give context. “Tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you told them”. It may seem tiresome and repetitive, but context is a colossal factor in orientation, in the pure sense of knowing where you are in a certain space or situation.
  • Make a plan. It sounds trivial, but really isn’t. Set your onboarding priorities, determine learning goals and time frame, break it down to short, medium and long term. Everything will make so much sense afterwards.

Summary

The idea behind onboarding is both humane and performance driven: treat your new employees in the most welcoming manner, taking into account first-day apprehensions and insecurities. Creating an accommodating, well-prepared environment for a new –comer to ease and grow into will prove itself as a worthwhile, quantifiable investment for your organization in the long run.

Noa is Iridize's Head of Content. With a background in digital strategy planning and database management, Noa translates Iridize's vision, stories and data into words. Digital learning and user experience are a particular passion of hers.