Effective Onboarding – How to Get the Most from your Onboarding Process

By Andrea Watkins

Human resources are the lifeblood of any organization so a successful firm needs to manage its employees wisely. In particular, the effective integration of new staff, a process known as onboarding, is vital for success.

Effective onboarding enables new employees to learn their jobs faster and become engaged sooner. The result is improved productivity along with enhanced employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention. Also, the recruitment of new employees is a costly procedure and the organization needs to get a return on its investment as soon as possible.

However, the sad fact is that many organizations neglect their onboarding process. This has negative implications for staff satisfaction, performance and ultimately the bottom line. The problem is that the onboarding process is not a part of day-to-day life for many companies and there’s no system in place to drive and monitor the process. To understand what an effective system is, let’s look at the basic onboarding process known as the “four As”.

The first ‘A’ is ‘acquire’. Effective onboarding needs to begin right at the start of the recruitment process with the acquiring of new staff. Choosing the right people for the job is the first step in having a quality workforce and so a solid system needs to be in place to make sure this happens.

This means that an effective procedure must be in place to identify, recruit, select and hire the right staff. In addition, the new hire must be made aware from the outset of how he will fit into the operation.

The second ‘A’ is ‘Accommodate’. This essentially covers giving the new employee what he needs to carry out his duties. The first days at work for a new employee are a stressful period so it’s essential to make sure the new employee has everything he needs in a comfortable and well-equipped environment.

The new employee also needs to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing his personal life is taken care of. This includes such matters as accommodation for his family and a school for his children.

To facilitate a smooth and pleasant first few days on the job, the firm should also take care of all administrative tasks related to employment such as payroll and insurance on day one. This will allow the new employee to focus on integrating into his new role.

The third ‘A’ is “Assimilate” – helping the newcomer integrate into his new work environment. The firm has to inform existing employees of the newcomer’s background and role. Involved managers need to be kept constantly in the loop regarding new hires via regular feedback reports and a detailed report after 90 days or so.

The final ‘A’ is ‘Accelerate’. This is a system to speed up the integration of new staff so that they reach their most productive level as soon as possible.

As you can see, proper onboarding is an intensive task for any organization, but done effectively bring many benefits to the company and the individual.

Firstly, it streamlines the whole recruitment, hiring and assimilation procedure and reduces the time needed for new employees to produce their best. They learn their jobs faster and become engaged sooner leading to maximum efficiency.

Next, by clearly and fully defining what the job entails, it reduces hiring mistakes. When a prospective employee knows exactly what is demanded of him in the job, he is better able to decide whether he is the right person for the position.

Next, an employee’s retention is improved as a result of more accurate hiring criteria and job alignment.

Finally by quickly and accurately aligning the new employee with organizational strategy and culture, greater efficiency and synergy is gained.

One way to enhance the onboarding process is through employment branding. This involves finding the strengths and weaknesses in an organization’s culture. By doing this, it helps clarify what it demands from its employees and thereby helps attract and retain the right staff.

Setting up an effective onboarding process is a specialized activity that’ outside firms with the right experience, skills and systems can help. These companies can offer a complete system tailor made for your own situation. The result is satisfied staff and a happier and more productive organization in the least possible time.