online onboarding plan

How to build a successful employee onboarding plan?

Onboarding Training and Development Training Trends and Best Practices
Building a successful online onboarding plan for employees sounds simple but requires planning to implement it successfully.

Do you remember the first day of reporting at your new workplace? Most likely, you were greeted by the human resources team, made to fill up forms, sign papers, shown your desk and given a tour of the company premises. This one day, according to some studies[1], has a far-reaching impact on employee retention, productivity and job satisfaction. As Bradley Hall, in his book the New Human Capital Strategy, defines human resources management as “watching over and growing human capital, one of the greatest aids businesses have in gaining the competitive advantage”. Onboarding tools and process are those systems which can help HR managers give their organization this competitive advantage through training and periodically assessing new hires. A Harvard Business Review study states that 22% of companies have no formal onboarding program which could make a world of a difference in retaining employees.

HR professionals start the onboarding process with compiling data of the organization’s history, vision, mission, values, products/services, employee benefits, employee – which are prepared into booklets/PowerPoint presentations, etc. and shared with the employee. According to a research (Wynhurst Group, 2007), 58% of newly hired employees are likely to stay in an organization for up to three years if they complete an organized onboarding process. Not just that, but 90% employees decide to stay or leave the organization, in the first six months of their tenure. A structured onboarding is a cost saving method as another statistic points out that the annual expenditure of keeping unproductive employees (who have a poor understanding of their jobs) in the U.S. and the U.K. is $37 billion.

Guidelines for Building Your Onboarding Plan

One of the primary concerns of an HR team should be having a comprehensive employee onboarding plan in place as management of an organization’s human capital begins when a candidate accepts an offer made to him. The traditional way of onboarding employees is giving way to a blended learning onboarding process which uses videos and interactive content through online onboarding software. Traditional hand holding methods (buddy system or mentoring) and an online orientation (video conferencing, self-paced modules) is a new way to create a compelling onboarding plan. Studies suggest that more than 75% of employees will watch a video than reading the text (Forrester Research). This reduces the burden of effective information dissemination from the shoulders of the HR professional and makes way for efficient information retention by the new employee.

How do we create a successful employee onboarding plan? Here are some tips:

  • Keep communication channels open pre and post onboarding. Reach out to the employee even before he/she joins so that the level of motivation and excitement is kept up. Research suggests that top-notch companies are 35% more likely to begin onboarding processes before day one.
  • The orientation plan must be engaging and spread out for better impact. Employees, whose companies have longer onboarding programs, gain full proficiency – 34% faster than those in the shorter programs[2]. Re-engage new employees at the one-month mark to find out how they are doing. An interesting fact is that only 37% of companies extend their beyond the first month onboarding programs[3].
  • Assigning a buddy or a mentor can be included as a part of the onboarding plan. In a study by Bamboo HR, 56% of new hires feel it is important to have a buddy or a mentor to set them up for success in their work.
  • Setting expectations at the start is important as data points out that 60% of companies fail to set goals for new hires – which may lead to confusion about their roles and responsibilities.
  • Automating paper pushing processes (e-signature, forms) will provide relief to both the HR and employee as online processes are easier and faster.
  • Involving members from different teams in the induction process helps the new employee feel a part of the organization and make a connection with colleagues.
  • Enabling the new hires to give feedback (voicing their concern) gives them a sense of autonomy and control and gives the HR professional an opportunity to communicate better.
  • Assessing onboarding process effectiveness (ROI, attrition, job satisfaction, etc.) may give a clearer picture regarding the impacts it had on the employees.

Online Onboarding Tools: What do they do?

Using less paper is not only beneficial for the environment but also easier for the HR professionals helping them easily manage the onboarding process. How? Firstly, access to employee data becomes easier, and decisions regarding human resource management become data-driven.

Corollary advantages may be having features like Employee Handbook, Employee Portal, Form Management, E-signatures, Job Description Management, Orientation Management, electronic Tax forms, Electronic employee forms, etc. This will help HR make critical decisions about career management, succession planning – as these functions require a thorough knowledge of the employee’s progress within the company. A sound onboarding plan will help employees become productive faster. As suggested by a Harvard Business Review report[4], it takes eight months for a newly hired employee to reach full productivity and employees who are part of longer onboarding programs are 34% more proficient than those in the shortest programs.[5]

Using Your LMS as an Effective Online Onboarding Tool

The advantages of having an exclusive online onboarding tool are many – but what if one is already invested in a learning management system? This should not be a cause for worry. These organizations are better equipped to provide, an easy to use, standardized training environment.

An LMS can be used to create courses about the organization that new hires can take up. In case the joining date is far out, video conferences can initiate dialogues to make the employee comfortable. Read more on how to integrate Talent Learning Management into an organization.

Another way of using an LMS would be to share pre-recorded sessions that speak more about the corporate culture and values and frequently asked questions. These will help an employee to orient himself/herself to the organization’s expectations. Read more on how to create an interactive virtual classroom training.

Setting up a meaningful employee onboarding process lets you manage your human resources successfully, earn dividends for your company and propel it to become a best-in-class organization.



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