Organizations hire new people to fill either a new position or a vacant slot. As soon as the new joiner arrives, a payroll record is created and various stakeholders in the organization start their tasks to help the person start his or her work. Everyone is well-intentioned to make sure that the new person gets on with his or her job at the earliest.
Most often, the best case scenario of a hasslefree onboarding means, the employee has a welcome mail, a bouquet, a set of forms to fill, a few documents to read, a few videos to watch, a meal with a bunch of folks, a tour of the workplace with quick introductions and handshakes by many and assignment of a workstation with a bag of office stationery. This seems to be a well-organized check-list, but it takes immense efforts to organize. An HR person has to co-ordinate with several departments and seek some approvals to get these in place. Needless to say that many organizations find this tough to get all of these done free from glitches.
And some organizations have a longer list of activities in the list. They need to be delivered on the 7th day, 30th day, 60th day and so on.
Is onboarding all about organizing a set of tasks? Do these activities make the new joiner feel at home and make the person get onto the expressway?
A set of well-organized tasks can make someone experience a machine-like accuracy. However, it does not give the confidence to the person about the future that lies ahead. Starting a new job is much more than getting an appointment letter at hand, signing a few documents and getting introduced to a few colleagues and seniors. A new job inspires the person with new dreams, hopes and aspirations. An organization needs to think about these and create the space in the program to touch upon these vital aspects.
Normally, organizations treat onboarding as a transaction. Hence, a new joiner is most often just a headcount and a row in the HRMS database. While these are important pieces in the labyrinth of a firm, it is equally or more important for the leaders to build systems and processes to make the new employee feel valued.
Ultimately, an organization has a purpose and a mission to accomplish. It has its systems and processes. It has a set of tangibles that define the journey. There are roles and responsibilities for people working there. The organization has a structure that facilitates the employees to perform various tasks. Also, it delivers rewards and recognition to the employees. Onboarding must include this critical aspect the life at work.
Many organizations do not have an onboarding program that gets down to the brass tacks. A new joiner is not sure what is expected of him to be considered successful in the role. LEaders shy away from explaining the targets, the methods by which the job is evaluated and what support will be provided along the way to aid success. The measures of success must be clear for the new joiner.
In sum, there are three aspects of an ideal onboarding program : carry out a set of tasks driven by a check-list, build emotional connect with the person and define the key indicators of performance.