Although employee onboarding programs are known to provide great benefits for employees and the organization (see our Better Employee Onboarding recorded webinar to see some statistics and data on that), many organizations don’t offer a real employee onboarding program and still others could improve the onboarding they do offer.
In this article, we’re going to remind you of a few important things about onboarding that might help you decide to invest in an onboarding program or follow some general best practices and guidelines.
We often think about brand-new employees when we think of onboarding, but there’s a benefit to providing onboarding to current employees who are moving from job to job as well. Do those entirely-brand-new hires need onboarding? Absolutely. But don’t forget to include people moving around in your organization as well.
Employers often bring in new hires, have them fill out some paperwork, tell them a few rules, and send them to work the first day or after only a day or two. This describes orientation, not onboarding. Onboarding is a much more comprehensive, lengthy process that might take up to a year to truly help the new worker succeed in his or her job role.
During onboarding, the employees should learn about your organization. This includes things like your mission and values, your products and production processes, your market, and your place in the market. This information is valuable and relevant to all employees, no matter what job role they’re moving into, and it is often introduced to a group in something known as general onboarding.
In addition to telling the new hire about the organization, onboarding should also explain to the new hire how his or her team works. During this part of onboarding, the new hire should learn people’s names, who does what, and who the manager is.
Onboarding does more than just introduce the new worker to the organization and his or her new department. It also is the first opportunity for the organization to support the worker as he or she begins to learn the new job. Remember, this may take as much as a year to get the new hire up to a full level of competence—depending on the job, of course.
One helpful idea during onboarding is to pair the newly hired worker with two different people. The first is a workplace buddy who can help the new worker acclimate to where things are and how things get done. The second is an experienced worker who can act as a mentor on tough problems. Both can play a big role in helping the worker transition to the new work.
The onboarding program should also initiate a workplace relationship between the new worker and his or her manager. The manager can help explain the job expectations to the worker and meet on a regular basis throughout the onboarding period to provide helpful feedback and let the worker know how he or she is doing in terms of reaching learning, skill, and performance goals on the job.
You’ll want to consider designing a new employee onboarding program that lasts as much as a year (instead of a day, a few days, or a week), depending on the complexity of the job.
At Vector Solutions, we offer a learning management system and elearning courses (along with safety management, risk management & other performance-improvement solutions) for the Architecture, Engineering & Construction industry, the Facilities Management and Maintenance industry, and Industrial & Manufacturing companies.
You can use these online training tools as part of your onboarding program to jump-start the learning curve of your employees and rapidly close your skills gaps.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more.