Onboarding

Business meeting

Have you ever wondered why some company cultures are stronger than others, or why some brand stories are crystal clear? Certainly there are many factors that contribute to the clarity of your company’s culture and brand, but one of the most important is how well you onboard people during their first critical days, weeks, and months.

Successful onboarding has two primary benefits: 1) A more informed worker, partner, or customer stands a better chance of being more productive than a less informed one. 2) Knowing more sooner increases an employee’s odds of producing faster results.

If onboarding is such a good thing, why do many organizations treat onboarding as little more than the time it takes to fill out paperwork on day one?

The answer has as much to do with commitment as anything else. Onboarding is hard work. It’s not something you do half way. It should be a part of everyone’s job.

What does a successful onboarding practice look like? Here are some ways smart organizations embrace onboarding:

  1. Onboarding is treated as a strategic asset. It has management’s commitments of budget, resources and time.
  2. Onboarding is seen as the responsibility of everyone in the company, but especially the hiring business manager and HR (where the practice normally resides)
  3. Onboarding content not only conveys everything one needs to know about how a company operates, it also provides the context of where and how the company fits into its broader economic ecosystem
  4. Onboarding goes well beyond the first days or week of work. It extends through the first few months of any new relationship
  5. Onboarding taps into the resources of the entire organization in an orchestrated way – from management to products to marketing to services
  6. Onboarding typically features teachings about a given marketplace, customer segments, and product offerings

That’s what successful onboarding looks like. How do some organizations go above and beyond these best practices? They do things like this.

  1. Include culture immersion as part of the onboarding process
  2. Extend the onboarding process to include new customers and partners
  3. Onboard strategic vendors and suppliers

How do you think about onboarding? Is it important? Do you treat it as a strategic asset? If you don’t consider onboarding to be a critical part of how you operate then you’re putting your organization at risk of higher-than-normal-levels of attrition, more mistakes, poor decisions, and haphazard cultural interpretation.

What will it take to get you on board?

Thomas Butta

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