Onboarding in the Emerging New Normal
As businesses move into an emerging new normal, they need to consider how to bring in the right talent. When they hire, they need to find a way to bring the person onboard.
Onboarding plays a critical role in employee retention and engagement, perhaps even an outsized role since it is the new hire's gateway into the company. Before the pandemic, many companies relied on in-person meetings to welcome new hires and familiarize them with the company. Now, with many businesses deciding to operate in a hybrid environment and/or hire remote employees, there needs to be a new way of thinking about it.
To craft a first-class onboarding process, companies must:
- Set goals for the employee's first day, first week and first month.
- Communicate the company's culture, policies and procedures.
- Include opportunities for new hires to meet and interact with the company's leaders as well as with peers.
- Get the new hire's views about the process and implement and integrate relevant suggestions into the process for future hires.
What exactly is onboarding?
Keep in mind that onboarding and training are two different things. While training—such as software training—may be a part of the onboarding process, the two do not have the same goals. Onboarding is the process of welcoming a new employee, making them feel comfortable with the company's culture and integrating them into the fabric of the company's operations. Training is the process of ensuring the new hire is familiar with the tools, processes and procedures they need to do the job they were hired to do.
The onboarding process provides the foundation on which the new employee's overall impression of the company is based. When done right, it makes employees feel that they are contributing to the company's success. To make sure this happens, companies can take some steps that show that the new employee is important. Once the job offer is accepted:
- Send a welcome package that includes an item (or items) with the company logo.
- Schedule a date for a meeting with the new hire's direct supervisor when they can meet and greet each other in order to provide an opportunity for the new hire to ask questions.
- Set dates for the manager or supervisor to check in to make sure the new hire is adjusting well.
- Set a date for the new hire to meet his or her teammates.
- Going forward, make sure the new employee has the opportunity to meet with others both formally and informally.
- Include an overview of company norms that reflect the company culture, such as "Emails received after 7 p.m. do not need a response until morning."
- Schedule a date for a meeting with HR so the new employee can be walked through any forms that need to be filled out, go over any pertinent companywide policies and be provided with a password for access to the company's HR website so he or she can fill out the necessary forms prior to his or her start date.
- If the new employee is working remotely, let him or her know when office supplies will be delivered.
Work with an HR professional to make sure you are doing everything necessary to engage with new employees.
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