21st Century HR: Digital Onboarding Programs

What is the Goal of On-boarding?
First, let’s address the goal of a well-planned and delivered on-boarding program. We know it is more cost effective to retain a current employee than to hire a new employee. Therefore, on-boarding programs should be in place to ensure the retention of the new employee by making the new employee feel welcome, and comfortable in the first few weeks on the job.

How can a new employee feel comfortable in a new work environment?
Discomfort in a new job stems from a lack of knowledge about the job, and its expectations. Also, having little or no understanding of how work gets done in the organisation or what the organisational culture is, makes it difficult to “hit the ground” running because there is so much guess work.

A successful on-boarding program should address those factors that typically play a role in a new employee’s failure. Therefore, a successful on-boarding program should:

  1. Lessen the learning curve for the new employee by providing training on processes, applications and how “BAU” business as usual gets done.
  2. Ramp up the time to real productivity through coaching, and by establishing performance goals and expectations quickly.
  3. Clearly explain job requirements and expected outcomes.
  4. Increase retention by ensuring an employee feels supported in an environment responsive to questions and new ways of working.
  5. Help the new employee feel comfortable in the new role.
  6. Detail the more abstract areas of the organisation including its culture.

The Advantage of a Web-based On-boarding Program
A web-based on-boarding program can be designed with the end user in mind. It can accommodate a wide spectrum of new hires with individualized information detailed by staff resource type and level. It can also present varying benefit programs and options. Not only, can a web-based on-boarding program present foundation information that is applicable to the entire organisation, it can also provide information specific to managers. The information most suited to web-based on-boarding programs includes company history and overview, organisational structure, and goals.

Using a web-based on-boarding program allows for anytime, anywhere learning immediately upon hiring without having to wait for other new hires for face-to-face training. An interactive CD or URL link shows the new employee you value their time in getting up to speed as quickly as possible. By providing an on-boarding program before the actual start date, new hires begin to build interest, loyalty and knowledge of the company.

Summary
An on-boarding program shows the organisation cares, and recognises the investment it’s making in the new hire, and the new employee in the organisation. By learning important organisational information immediately and not having to wait to get questions answered, an on-boarding program provides new hires with an opportunity to process information and be prepared to ask questions immediately when starting the job. A quality on-boarding program sets your organisation a part as more competitive. A well defined and established on-boarding program can be used as a selling point in the recruitment phase.

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