Intentional Onboarding

Intentional Onboarding

By Staci Hegarty, M.Ed., COO

Starting a new job brings a range of emotions, from joy to apprehension to anxiety. The first day of a new job sets the tone for what an employee can expect from the organization. Many times, the onboarding process has been in place for years, with additions being made as needed. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, companies were forced to quickly change the way they worked, including how new employees were brought in. Technology can be very useful as a support tool for onboarding, but it should not be the main character in the onboarding process. Even remote employees need some human interaction, especially during the onboarding process. 

Onboarding begins where hiring ends. The offer letter is the first step in the onboarding experience. It should be provided in a timely fashion and include all the relevant information, such as start date, salary, work location, and Next Steps. Most people will not resign from their current job until they have the offer letter, any delay not only causes a delay in starting the new role, but it may also cause stress for the new employee before they have even started!

When possible, have the new employee complete most paperwork before the first day. Even if it is not 100% complete, it will allow everyone to focus on connecting with each other instead of filling out forms. Your company may have protocols for badges, logins, keys, and parking passes that are contingent upon new hire paperwork. Doing this early will mean that the new employee has everything they need on Day One. This is especially helpful if you are onboarding multiple people on the same day.

Provide an agenda for the first day, or first few days. Some things never really change, the first day of school was stressful for most of us as children. The first day of a new job is stressful for the same reasons. Will I get lost? Will I know enough? Will I be alone at lunch? An agenda that introduces the new employee to their new boss, new colleagues, other departments, and organizational leaders will help alleviate some nervousness. Conduct a tour of the facility early the first day to help employees build a mental picture of what their environment will be like. The sooner a new employee has the basics, the sooner they can start focusing on the role-based tasks.

Onboarding does not end after the first few days of employment. It takes time for people to learn their role, how they fit in with the big picture, and what the culture of the organization demands from people. Keeping new employees close for the initial 90 days will help build confidence, help managers to assess training needs, and allows new employees to fail in a way that will not be catastrophic. Even people with experience in the role need to time to adapt and adjust to a new company, with different systems and different expectations. 

For some people, asking questions and speaking up comes easily. For others, it can be difficult to seek answers without feeling exposed or insecure. A thorough onboarding process that continues beyond the first week will allow new employees, regardless of confidence or disposition, the opportunity to learn while also becoming integrated into the culture of the organization. When surveyed, 94% of respondents indicated that a feeling of belonging is critical to their opinion of their employer. Don’t make new employees work too hard to belong, build a process that fosters belonging and inclusion from the beginning.

Contact Envision RISE for more information about how we can assist in building and maintaining efficient and ethical hiring practices and processes.

Our evolutionary platform helps companies create a powerful integration and understanding of the relationship between the organization and the workforce. Envision RISE empowers your people to drive continual change and innovation through effective strategy and transformation.