Research shows that each year at least 25% of persons in employment undergo some form of career transition. After these people have been recruited and selected, it is important that the organization put efforts to improve the effectiveness of the new employees through the process of onboarding. Onboarding refers to the course of assisting new employees to adjust to performance aspects and social demands of their new work environment as soon as possible and with much ease (Talya, 2010). It forms one of the top priorities of any human resource activities of any firm. It is important that the new recruits adopt the attitudes, skills, knowledge, and behaviors that will enable them to function more efficiently within their new organization.
If the onboarding process is not well managing the results according to research , show that about half of the senior managers hired from outside the talent pool of the firm will fail within 18 months in their new position. Nearly more than half of hourly employees will exit the business within the first 120 days. Onboarding hence that goes far beyond the traditional orientation is the key to ensuring success of the new recruits and by extension the whole firm.
An onboarding program varies from company to company, but it comprises of four major activities:
- Giving the new employees training for the job that they have been recruited for and encouraging roundtable discussions on the requirements of the job.
- Making arrangements for the new employee to meet with the main people within the organization.
- Providing on the job training for the new job with support from the line management.
- Providing individualized mentoring with support from the HR department.
- In the case of jobs that involve fieldwork, site visits are organized.
There are many different approaches to onboarding with some being systematic and structured as conducted by Farsight or an unstructured approach in which the employees are left to figure out on their own exactly what is expected of them and the culture and norms of their new workplace. Research by Talya (2010) shows that when employees are engaged in formal onboarding that is systematic and conducted step by step teaching the employees their roles, company expectations and accepted way of doing things within the enterprise then the end results on productivity, and retention are worthwhile. Farsight Company provide a well-designed sequence of activities that are also well timed and have specific objectives. An effective onboarding occurs at four levels.
- Compliance is part of the most basic onboarding that involves a process in which the employees are made aware of the basic policy and legal regulations that the company must abide with.
- Clarification is the second stage, and it involves creating an environment of open interactions between the recruit and the line managers to ensure that the new employees understand the expectations of their job apparently.
- Cultural onboarding ensures that the employees are impacted with both the formal and informal norms of the organization.
- Connection involves offering vital interpersonal relationship establishment and information network that the employees must establish.
According to Sonja (2015), when well-conducted onboarding brings to the organization various benefits that include:
- The company becomes able to attract and retain quality talent. Quality talent cannot only be maintained with good salary and allowance perks but they also highly value intangible motivators. The intangible motivating factors are the hardest to deliver and account for many cases of deserting a company. A well-organized onboarding program builds a strong foundation for the intangible elements such as creating a good rapport with the managers and fitting into a thriving company culture that attracts and retains quality talent.
- The onboarding process gives a chance for the employees to be engaged as early as possible with the company core values and culture. Studies have indicated that when this is done soon enough, it goes a long way towards fostering the engagement and hence retaining of staff in the future.
- Engagement of the company that is provided for through onboarding helps to build cultural rapport and by extension drive business growth. Employees when highly engaged with the company will give their optimum output and hence increased profitability.
- It also contributes towards building trust among the workforce. During onboarding, the new recruits meet with the management and they are made aware of the various practices of the company and what is expected of them. Later on in their work, they are hence not taken by surprise by the different requirements of their job and hence more harmonious working relationship.
- The process of onboarding also includes assigning a recruit a mentor during the program. The instructor acts a resource person and helps the new employee through their early days in the firm. Such employees form strong connections with other colleagues and hence better working relationships that translate to higher productivity.
- A new work environment can be quite intimidating, and the new recruits can feel uneasy about asking questions and the possible answers that one expects. During the onboarding program, an open communication environment is provided. The process provides a setting for the new recruits to ask questions about various aspects of their workplace without feeling under pressure. A free communication environment fosters the thriving of the employees. It also creates a free environment for the new members of the firm to learn and hence better adjust to the culture and procedures at their new station.
- When employees exit a company, it ultimately affects the productivity of the enterprise. Proper onboarding program contributes significantly to ensure that there has been established a better fit right from the start. Opening the communication lines ensures that the employees are engaged hence less likely to exit.
In conclusion, onboarding is currently not just a preserve of a few companies. For any firm that hopes to thrive in the increasingly competitive make onboarding is mandatory. The talent pools of the different companies and their target markets increasingly overlap and hence onboarding presents the only way to retain top talent and increase their productivity and hence be able to beat the competition in the market.