You wake up one day and decide to move to a different country. The reasons for it are irrelevant. It could be that you wanted to start a new life, a new career, a change of scenery etc. The point being, you wanted something more or better than what you had thus far. The process of it all begins. You find an apartment, you deal with the government policies, learn the outline of the new city, culture, people’s mentality, it’s all so daunting and hard at first because most of the time you have to deal with all of it alone. Yeah, expat’s life is hard for the first 6 months to a year. Many people stay and adapt but many people also decide to go back because they couldn’t take the pressure of the new life or simply because they couldn’t get used to the fact that they will likely never have the same treatment they had in their “previous” life. We could say that their onboarding process failed.
We could easily use the same principle with new employees starting their journey in companies. It is crucial that they don’t have to deal with anything, concerning their experience from the first day on the job, alone because otherwise they will end up like a poor expat returning to their old life.
The meaning of onboarding
There isn’t a clear definition of what the onboarding is but the meaning is very simple. The onboarding is a human resources process which refers to the organization’s attempt to integrate a new employee with the sole purpose of creating quality loyalty and retention. Sounds more complicated than it is, actually. It’s providing the new employee with the professional and caring experience in order for them to grasp the company’s culture, policy and job function as quickly and smoothly as possible. It sort of evolved from just administrative assistance and vocal communication over the phone in terms of inducting them into business, it is much more detailed and refined and it’s only going to keep changing with the market’s and new generation’s demand.
To expand and add onto it further, a good onboarding process ensures the new employee’s attitude towards work to be more productive and more ambitious. People are not robots and the feeling of purpose and belonging are one of the primary things you have to provide them with in order for them to assimilate into the organization as quickly as possible. If you achieve that, you naturally minimize the risk of leaving and thus reducing the cost of business in the broader spectrum.
During the onboarding process, the sense of competency and being skilled in what they do is also of high importance. What does that mean? A good training has to be provided and incorporated into the onboarding process to reduce the chance of frustration and resentment towards the job and company itself. That means that the managers responsible have to be well prepared to transfer the company culture and job efficacy onto the new employee with the goal of their complete satisfaction.
The effects of good (and bad) onboarding
As mentioned above, the new employee has to achieve a purpose and a good training in a company to quickly feel at home. We’re trying to minimize the retention. From the business perspective, it is really important for the turnover to be as low as possible. The cost metrics can be really high if we construct the onboarding into smaller steps. Recruitment’s time (time-to-hire, ads cost, channel cost, recruiters’ interview stages etc.), administrative time to process all documents and the entire onboarding process after the employee started working. Not to mention that usually a new employee needs about 6-8 months before they can become fully functional in terms of performance management (more in a different article).
Now imagine a company is working really hard to hire a Java developer, think 3 months since the start of the talent sourcing. They put in time, resources and their will into it all but with a problem of a bad onboarding process. The developer starts working and after 3 months, he resigns. Reason? The monetary benefits were good but the organizational culture and the structure of the training wasn’t up to par to his standards. The company lost 6 months of time for that one hire. Business-wise, the company’s cost is huge and they have to start the process all over again. Dear me.
Connecting onboarding with employer branding
How is onboarding connected to employer branding strategy? In quite a simple way, actually. Good or bad onboarding will in the end grade the company’s reputation, whether we like it or not. The word of mouth and the review sites will inevitably mention the first couple of months in the new employee’s experience, I can assure you. People and candidates alike talk and the first month of a new employee can determine if another one will join based on the former’s impression and experience. It all goes back and connects to the warring state of the talents in the market. The best one gets best one, essentially.
It’s a no-brainer that it’s in companies’ best interest to have an above average onboarding process if they want to build loyalty with their new employees and reduce the cost of the entire business. This should be a priority, not just to recruiters or HR in general, but to every stakeholder as well. How does onboarding in your company look like? Let me know in the comments!