While the term onboarding sounds relatively novel, its origin harkens as far back as the 1970s when organizational theory and business systems began focusing their attention on resolving challenges related to the “socialization” of new employees.
Unlike orientation, a common practice implemented by both corporate and educational institutions, onboarding is considerably more complex than introducing someone to a unique work atmosphere, new colleagues, or even a brand’s vision or mission.
According to Marjorie Derven, the “honeymoon stage” of hiring personnel or management is the best time to integrate new talent and to address some of the essential questions the incoming members of any organization are asking themselves:
Have I made the right decision to join this company?
What is the opportunity for growth and development here?
How will I know if I am respected in this organization?
Understandably, no one questions the value of the onboarding experience. It’s an essential step to connecting the potentially disparate elements in any organization--from people to central ideas.
Where questions do exist, however, is in the best ways to accomplish this task.
Why Do Some Onboarding Processes Fail?
Too often, people go through an onboarding process in a new organization that feels a bit like, well, “offboarding”—being handed a security badge or a nametag and then getting pushed off the boat and told to swim (figure it out)!
One reason this takes place is related to cost. Successfully onboarding new personnel is a financial commitment that also requires a substantial investment of human capital which some companies are not willing to make.
Another reason is a lack of innovation. Too many businesses have not evolved with the culture and continue to roll out the same old and boring materials and strategies they did years ago.
This is where moving the onboarding process to a digital platform can provide a tremendous boost. Implementing a technological approach not only provides a savings in terms of expenditure, but it can also be a highly attractive method of socialization and employee preparedness.
The Onboarding Process
Most of the literature surrounding onboarding argues that it takes place in stages. While there’s a plethora of terms involved, many experts agree to this sequence:
By implementing a digital program, a company can ensure that each of these stages is not only meticulously designed but also delivered in a thoughtful and coordinated format. Too often, employees become overwhelmed in the earliest stages through a bombardment of information or a lack of clarity. Deadlines or tasks precede adequate training or necessary information.
A digital onboarding process eliminates the problems of a vacillating trainer or the limitations of a person in charge of performing or delivering content. Rather, a precise curriculum can be created with vital input from important stakeholders and, more critically, with feedback from those who have more recently been hired.
Finding a steadfast and reliable human resources manager who can also engage new employees in a compelling and informative way is nearly impossible. To sufficiently educate people in a memorable format, or in experiential learning, requires a significant commitment of time and resources.
This is especially true of the millennial workforce!
As discussed in this insightful Medium article, the days of handing new employees a binder or a manual are long gone. Yes, today’s newcomers arrive at the workforce with a new set of desirable skills, but they also arrive with a distinct set of expectations directly related to the culture in which they’ve been raised and, ultimately, educated.
For example, hiring a young person today means you’re hiring someone who prefers a digital experience because today's millennial
Wants to feel both known and crucial to the organization’s success.
Wants content to be delivered in short form.
Wants immediate feedback on performance.
How Digital Onboarding Addresses These Needs
The power of digital onboarding is that it can efficiently satisfy each of the above-stated criteria.
We live in a world where people are best known by their social media profiles. People have grown more comfortable with sharing who they are via videos or photos of everything from their pet to the meal they’re consuming at the moment.
Creating brief and well-defined modules or training units for employees to tackle both on their own or collaboratively guarantees the content can be delivered in sizable chunks. Also, designing animation or videos is a preferable tactic to a lot of reading.
The successful conclusion of each digital module allows for a learner to receive instant feedback on performance. This can also happen outside of “normal” working hours.
To consistently achieve all that a successful onboarding process entails in today’s world would require an entire staff. People to produce materials, someone to teach the information in a thought-provoking and timely fashion, and team members on hand to forge a relational environment. Few organizations have the resources to pull that off, which is why moving your onboarding plan to a digital platform is the best choice.
Luckily, the experts at Northlake Professional Group have accounted for these specific challenges and have developed a cost-effective and comprehensive plan to digitally address the onboarding needs of businesses and corporations. Let us help you take your onboarding to the next level!