Onboarding, how to properly introduce a new employee to the team?

Onboarding (the process of introducing a new employee), in which he is only bombarded with a huge dose of information or complex technologies used in the company does not sound like a good plan. So what is a good plan? What to look for when hiring an employee to the company? And why is onboarding important especially in IT? You will learn about it from today's post.

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9th June 2022

Hiring a new team member is only half the battle. The next important stage is its implementation. The new employee has to overcome a certain entry threshold, which is caused by the use of different systems, technologies, slightly different working practices, as well as the need to learn about a specific project. Onboarding in IT is a particularly important process, because the industry is characterized by high employee turnover, and every specialist is at a premium. That's why IT companies care about keeping an employee in the company for as long as possible. Onboarding is the employee's first contact with the company's culture, which is such a first impression that is difficult to erase for a long time. Let's remember that the first impression can be made only once. So it's worth taking a closer look at it, learning about good onboarding practices and preparing a list of tasks necessary during the induction of each new team member.

What exactly is onboarding?

Onboarding is a process in which an employee is introduced to the social, technical and organizational aspects of his new job. The formal task of onboarding is to introduce the employee to the new company tasks and processes in such a way that he or she is able to quickly and effectively start working in the area for which we hired him or her. An equally important task is to make the new employee feel expected and taken care of. So that he knows what awaits him and feels our support. And last, so that he has a chance to verify that the promise made to him by the company during recruitment has been fulfilled. As part of the process, the new employee learns about attitudes, competencies, company culture, managers' expectations of their teams and the behaviors required in the organization to make it run smoothly.

What does a well-conducted onboarding do for the company and the employee?

First of all, it reduces employee turnover and improves retention. A well-implemented employee will certainly acclimate faster and better and stay with us for longer. Acclimatization of an employee to the company is very important for him. Not only does he need to understand what his role in the company is, but also what roles the people around him play and whose support he can count on. Establishing the company's expectations of the employee and the employee's expectations of the company will resolve many doubts that arise on both sides. The employee also needs tools to help him in his daily duties. Accelerate the employee's productivity. The more thorough the onboarding of a new employee, the faster he or she can get to the actual work. If this process leaves an employee with a lot of doubts and questions, they will spend a lot of time searching for answers on their own or with the help of others. A good solution is to prepare introductory materials that will explain to him the functioning of the company and his role in the team. Greater employee involvement. HR specialists point to employee engagement as the key to high employee retention. Once an employee understands his or her and the company's goals and sees what the organization has to offer him or her, he or she will be more likely to commit to his or her role and become part of the company's culture. Engaged employees are employees who strive to work efficiently every day because they identify with the company's goals. For the organization, this means higher profits, lower turnover rates, better product quality, better customer feedback, and lower employee absenteeism rates.

Best practices in onboarding

Each company arranges its employee onboarding plan according to its needs, goals and organizational culture. However, there are several best practices and general process steps that are worth including in your onboarding.

Preboarding - the employee's experience before the first day of work.

Lately, we've been hearing more and more about candidate experience (CX), or ensuring a positive experience when recruiting new employees. Once a candidate accepts an offer, the organization can continue to influence his or her attitude, mood, and subsequent engagement. The preonboarding process is a transitional stage, and can begin as soon as the contract is signed and then evolve into onboarding during the first day of work. An email or a brief phone call is enough to prepare an employee for his or her first day on the job and make him or her feel that he or she is an expected member of the team. A nice gesture from the employer is to send a personalized welcome package. However, it is worth not limiting yourself to this. Organizing technical introductory meetings will allow a smooth start for the new person. Such an approach brings mutual benefits for both the employer and the freshly graduated programmer. In addition, such meetings will allow building a good relationship from the very beginning. Given the difficulty of creating distributed teams and working remotely, the practice of preonboarding is even more justified.

Preonboarding allows you to spread out the necessary knowledge over time. No one likes the feeling of overwork, and sometimes that's how unsuccessful onboarding processes end up. As a result, they can effectively scare off a newly hired person. Well-conducted preonboarding will relieve the employee's cognitive system during the first day and week of work. This will allow him to focus more on his initial tasks. An additional element of preonboarding can be to send a plan in advance for the first day of work. This will allow the candidate to mentally prepare for all meetings and avoid elements of surprise. The very first day in a new environment already generates enough impressions. If we want to introduce the new person to the entire company, let them know in advance how this will take place. A day plan and checklist will also be useful from an organizational point of view. This way we can make sure that all the necessary information has been provided. The same goes for necessary accounts or access to systems that are needed for work. These should be prepared before the new person arrives, so as not to waste their first days. The preonboarding time is an important moment not only for the new employee, but also for the employer. The company should prepare well in order to minimize the cost and time needed to get a fully independent specialist. By doing so, it can continue the good impression it made during recruitment.

Stages of onboarding

The first day of work

The person in charge of onboarding welcomes the new employee and shows him around the office. If he is assigned a supervisor, then he is the one who gets involved in the implementation of his charge. He also prepares the workspace for him and all the necessary things, such as keys, codes, passwords, a welcome packet if not given earlier, etc. If the company has an employee training track, it's a good time to provide any guides, tips on using office equipment, software, communication channels, etc. What should you especially take care of on a new team member's first day on the job? About making them feel comfortable. It's a good idea to introduce all employees and tell them about their roles with the company. It would be a good idea to have a coffee or lunch to which all employees are invited.

The first week of work

It is important to engage the new team member in tasks during the first week. He or she may feel a bit lost, but if he or she receives support from a mentor or other person who is willing to answer his or her questions and help him or her acclimate, the process of adapting to the new role will go smoothly. It is worth arranging for the new employee to meet with important people in the organization with whom he or she will be working. Thanks to meetings with the head of the department, managers of other departments, key people in the team or the president, the employee will get to know the structure of the organization better, and at the same time learn when, how, where and with whom to schedule meetings. During the first week, short- and long-term goals are developed and training sessions are implemented.

The first month of work

Onboarding an employee doesn't end with the first few days after crossing the office threshold. Once the new team member has adapted to his role and the company environment, it is worth working on his development. Developing his career path in the company will be an engaging element and build a sense of belonging to the company. A good way to implement this step is to organize company-wide events or meetings in smaller groups. The most important thing at this time, however, is feedback. Let's talk to the employee about how he feels about the company. Let's ask if he has all the resources he needs. Let's accept his comments.

How long does onboarding take?

Typically, onboarding programs last from one day to one month. In an ideal world, such a process could take three months or even a year. Onboarding is a long and involved process in which an employee learns and adapts to all aspects of his or her new role. Job training, goal setting, but also learning about the company's culture and other employees helps the new hire quickly acclimate to the new place and work efficiently and stress-free.

Was our onboarding effective?

Onboarding closed. The employee stayed with the company. The daily work begins. How can we be sure if the process was effective? It's always worth asking. There are several opportunities to do so: annual engagement surveys or employee confidence surveys can bring us this knowledge. However, we don't have to wait for the survey date or send any forms. A manager can ask about impressions of onboarding during the onboarding process, at the end of the onboarding process and some time after the onboarding is completed. Sometimes you can get the most valuable suggestions directly from the person who went through the whole process, based on his previous experience or observations. It is a mistake to fall into a routine. For us it is the same process repeated periodically, for a new person, in this particular company, it is something new. Let's remember that the effectiveness of a new employee's induction into a job is determined not only by whether he got the knowledge, but also by whether he found his way into the culture and whether it was what he was promised at the recruitment stage. No one wants to be treated as a cog in the machine. We want to feel that the place we ended up in is our place - it will let us grow, it listens to what we have to say, but it will also get the best from us.


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