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A Solid Onboarding Process Is Necessary For Your Company

By Author: Jan Procházka
Total Articles: 8

On the aisles of the expo hall at
IHRIM '08 in Orlando last month were no less than a dozen vendors with an
onboarding product. It didn't take much more than three booth stops to come to
the conclusion that there are as many definitions of onboarding as there are
vendors selling onboarding products. For that matter, there are additional
definitions for each consulting firm and HR industry analyst that writes on the
topic of onboarding. So what, then, is onboarding? Can a universal definition
of onboarding be written?

Ask a vendor with an onboarding
product what onboarding is, and their answer is likely to be skewed in the
direction of the strengths of their own product. Instead, ask an HR
professional what employee onboarding
is and they will universally define onboarding simply as moving a candidate for
a role into that role. The candidate can be new to the organization, or may
already be participating in the organization as an employee, contractor,
partner, or in any number of peripheral capacities. The role the candidate is
moving into may be any working relationship with the organization, most
typically an employment role, but the role may also be an expansion of duty or
responsibility, either permanent or temporary.

Onboarding technology vendors
offer products that address a myriad of aspects of the above definition, all
claiming their approach is the most important and therefore the only approach
that matters. It's not surprising, then, that all of the vendors with
onboarding products at IHRIM '08 showed off widely varying approaches to
onboarding. A closer look at each of the vendors and their products reveals
that there are two basic approaches to onboarding: transactional onboarding,
and acculturation.

Benefits and Goals of an Employee Onboarding Program

The traditional orientation and
onboarding process has typically been about bringing a new hire in and focusing
on the company's identity and immersing the new hire in its culture and
processes, while putting less emphasis on the new hire and what he brings to
the table.

To gain long-term retention
success, solid online onboarding
programs should instead be more about the new hire-customized to helping him or
her succeed. The following are just some of the goals that should be targeted
in onboarding:

Gets the new hire familiar with the company, its
culture, mission, goals, and processes
Helps new hire establish a rapport with other
colleagues, hiring managers, etc
Makes the new hire feel comfortable in his/her
role, a clearly defined picture of duties
Learns what is expected of him/her
Inspire the new hire to become productive faster

Make the new hire confirm that he/she made the
right decision by joining your organization; feels encouraged that he/she is in
the right place

A solid onboarding program isn't
just beneficial for the hiring company in terms of making a good impression on
the new hire. It is very instrumental in setting the new hire up for long-term

Once you've spent the time,
effort, and money to find top talent, it only makes good business sense to
continue with a solid onboarding process. It will help your new hire get
acclimated and established within the company so that productivity can begin
faster. Then you'll start to see the return on your investment, both monetarily
and through retention.

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