Onboarding is a term used to describe the period of time between an employee's job offer acceptance and assimilation (anywhere from 30 days to a year depending on the organization). It is a critical time for new employees and their respective companies. Employees have to perform at a level that validates the decision to hire them, and organizations have to make good on the promises they made during the recruiting process. 

Although many tasks fall on the shoulders of managers, HR is responsible for the overall onboarding strategy and developing a structured and systematic process for managers to follow. 

Here are the three goals that every HR team should have when developing an onboarding program. 

1. A positive candidate experience. 

This process of focusing on creating a favorable impression of your organization through the talent acquisition and onboarding phase is known as the candidate experience.

A 2017 Deloitte report revealed that nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience as very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent). However, only 22 percent said that their companies were excellent at building differentiated employee experiences. 

When developing an onboarding program, it's important to intentionally incorporate opportunities that enhance the employee's overall experience. Simply put, it's making good on all the promises your organization made during the recruitment phases. 

Unfortunately, many organizations let down their guard once an employee starts, and the lack of planning and prioritizing the candidate's experience leads to broken promises, and disillusioned employees. 

To ensure this doesn't happen, set employees up for success. Help them understand and assimilate to your culture, support their interpersonal network development, and build their self-efficacy by assigning tasks that build their confidence and competence.  

2. Keep managers from feeling overwhelmed. 

It's critical that an employee develops a meaningful relationship with their manager. Most of the candidate's experience will be based on the time spent with their boss. But, the entire onboarding process shouldn't fall on the shoulders of our managers. I don't think HR should be responsible for hand-holding, but it should provide a structure that helps managers plan for and execute a systematic onboarding experience. 

Whether its a checklist or an outlook calendar, make sure your managers have a roadmap to follow that enhances the employee's experience. Help them plan and account for needed training, networking, and early career support and development. 

3. Develop a strategic and systematic approach.

I've mentioned a few areas to focus on above. Once you've identified the areas to focus on during onboarding, it's important to standardize the process. Create a system that allows for you to track and measure the effectiveness of your onboarding plan. This is a critical step to improving the process and ensuring new employees have a positive experience. 

Great metrics to leverage during onboardrding include the new hire's time to productivity, engagement, manager satisfaction, and early turn-over/attrition rates. 

When executed correctly, onboarding programs reduce operating costs associated with hiring and training, help employees reach a point of contribution faster, minimize unnecessary turnover, and help your company deliver against strategic goals.

Published on: Sep 24, 2018