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HR & culture

Onboarding: what is it and how to get started? An overview.

By Silke
05 Sep 2022

All you need to know to get your employees off to a flying start

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is becoming increas­ing­ly important in today’s organ­i­sa­tions, and for good reason. But what does it actually mean? How do you set up a good process, and above all: why is it important for businesses to focus on this?

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, researches workplace evolution and its impli­ca­tions for HR pro­fes­sion­als and business leaders. They define onboarding as the process of inte­grat­ing a new employee with a company and its culture. Making sure the new starter has all the tools and infor­ma­tion they need to become a productive member of the team is part of this.

As an employer, making new employees feel welcome is a top priority. Onboarding is mostly controlled by you, but is by no means a one-way street. Part of the process is always asking for feedback. This allows you to continue to optimise the process, and improve as you learn from that valuable feedback.

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The growing importance of rock solid onboarding

One of the biggest pain points for growing businesses, is recruiting and retaining new talent. More than four in five employers agree this is a problem, which only reinforces the importance of positive dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion from your com­peti­tors. At the end of the day, you want to enter into a rela­tion­ship that both sides see as successful. So good onboarding is extremely important here.

A healthy onboarding process has remained a stable concept over the years, until the pandemic. In 2020, businesses worldwide were forced to enable their employees to work from home. For many of these organ­i­sa­tions, even occasional tele­work­ing had been unimag­in­able up until that point. By now of course, we’re all completely used to juggling working from home with our everyday lives. 

Although hybrid working is becoming more and more common, we’re still searching for ways to stay connected to each other. Office dynamics are dis­ap­pear­ing and aren’t something that can be simply translated into a digital story. Eating virtual lunches together also wasn’t a big success.

This all makes it hard for new starters in a new envi­ron­ment to deduce the unwritten rules and casually join in with informal con­ver­sa­tions. You need to pay extra attention to this, right from the start of their onboarding. Bringing the team atmosphere into a video call is a challenge, but not impossible. Regular, short check-ins to discuss weekend plans or share virtual updates also help team members bond.

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Don’t forget to include your current employees – in addition to newcomers – in this new normal. This way of working might also take them a bit of getting used to. An inter­est­ing approach might be reboarding’, where you revisit the hybrid working rules for your team.

The HR Digest made it clear that the coro­n­avirus pandemic also shone a light on some other attention points in addition to hybrid working, with their article predicting several trends for 2022. For example, it’s even more important for businesses to focus on the general well-being of their employees. This is an element that needs to be running through the entire employee journey, starting from onboarding.



Would you like to give your new colleague a warm welcome and get him or her ready to make a lasting con­tri­bu­tion to the future of your organ­i­sa­tion? This onboarding checklist sets out all the steps in a row! Good luck with it!
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