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What Onboarding Really Means and Its Misconceptions

David Law

Sun, 9 Jun, 2024

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 2 minutes

Employee onboarding is a crucial process that goes beyond just basic training. It involves a wider range of activities that help the recruit integrate smoothly and effectively into the organisation’s structure, culture, and vision. However, several companies often limit their understanding of onboarding to just training, leading to poor execution of onboarding initiatives.

Onboarding – More Than Just Training

At the heart of it, both onboarding and training are geared towards the same objective – enabling employees to be productive and engaged from day one. However, the two are not synonymous. Onboarding is a holistic process that starts even before the new hire joins the organisation with pre-boarding activities and continues long after they’ve completed their first task, with regular checks and feedback sessions.

Viewing onboarding as a one-off training event undermines its importance. It not only underestimates the time and resources needed but can fail to provide the recruit with a thorough understanding of their role, the organisation’s culture, and how their work contributes to the broader vision.

A Dual-Faceted Approach To Onboarding

Onboarding goals are two-pronged. Firstly, it involves providing the new employee with the necessary technical skills and knowledge to carry out their duties effectively. Secondly, it is about fostering an inclusive environment that allows the recruit to understand and align with the company’s culture.

While training can address the first aspect, the second component often gets overshadowed. The task of helping employees feel comfortable, included, and connected to their work is an ongoing process that cannot be achieved through just training sessions. It requires a well-thought-out strategy that extends over months and often starts before the employee’s first day.

Shared Responsibility Of Onboarding

The onboarding process isn’t the responsibility of a single individual. It’s a shared task involving multiple stakeholders within the organisation. Assigning the entire onboarding process to one person can be overwhelming and impractical.

The first few weeks of a new hire in the organisation are crucial in defining their role and their fit within the company culture. Therefore, it’s essential to involve different departments in the process. This not only eases the workload of a singular person but also provides the new hire with a more comprehensive and engaging introduction to the company.

The Dynamic Nature Of Onboarding

Onboarding is a dynamic process that involves both hard and soft organisational knowledge. But how do you know if your onboarding process is effective? How can you determine if your new hires are satisfied and ready to take on their responsibilities? The answer is feedback.

Collecting regular feedback from new hires during and after onboarding is vital for the success of the process. Both quantitative surveys and one-on-one meetings can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the onboarding programme and areas that need improvement.

As onboarding is a two-way process, implementing the feedback for future hires is equally important. It’s not just about knowing what worked and what didn’t, but also about making the necessary adjustments to enhance the experience for the next batch of new hires.

To delve deeper into the onboarding process, download our free e-book, Onboarding 101.

In conclusion, onboarding is a comprehensive and dynamic process that requires careful planning and execution. It’s not just about equipping new hires with the necessary skills, but also about helping them integrate seamlessly into the company’s culture. By understanding this, organisations can ensure a more productive and engaged workforce.

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