Employee Integration: Onboarding


photo courtesy of: info.cowaninternational.com

I have had quite a number of complaints from employees who have either recently joined an organization or are being redeployed to another department/subsidiary/branch within the same organization.

These complaints share a common theme -bordering around on-boarding.

In the context of this post, onboarding may be described as the process of introducing new personnel into an organization in such a way as to smoothen their integration into the new environment and aid their contribution to productivity.

What is expected (which isn’t asking much of any organization, really) is adequate preparation for new hires or those on redeployment. It is assumed that the HR department would have known in advance the employees who have successfully scaled through all selection hurdles. In like manner, it isn’t out of place to expect that HR would have had sufficient time to pull together the resources that would be needed to ensure a smooth transition and a successful integration.

As basic as this may be, I find that a well thought-out process isn’t so commonplace. The process of employee integration and onboarding seems unplanned, adhoc and disappointingly lacking in structure.

What I”d like to see more of is more importance given to onboarding and the subsequent integration of the employee.

  • For starters, it isn’t asking too much really for new hires to have a workstation upon arrival (that is; a chair, a desk and a laptop).
  • Ensuring that the names of newly employed staff are included on the company’s payroll is also another valuable point (you’d be surprised how not so automatic this could be).

Other activities or essentials necessary for an effective onboarding exercise includes:

  1. A telephone box/mobile phone (for employees who qualify for same)
  2. Identification card
  3. A name plate (for those who qualify for same)
  4. Employee handbook, company’s organogram/relevant other documents as well as other stationery items reserved for onboarders
  5. The basic tools/equipment required for the performance of tasks (this applies to more technical roles)
  6. Access to an official email address and the¬†company’s employee portal log-in details
  7. Details on reporting relationships should be adequately communicated
  8. A comprehensive organizational/departmental orientation plan

While HR may not be able to achieve all of these tasks in isolation (considering the various inputs required from other departments such as IT), HR’s role as programme coordinator demands that it ensures cooperation, timely delivery of inputs and full participation of all interfacing units.¬†

The above listed are quite basic. The effective implementation of all these make for a delightful first day at work and a great start to achieving a seamless integration of new hires into the system.

In conclusion, the value an organization places on its human capital which invariably reflects on the capability and professionalism of the HR department (and the organization as a whole) may easily be deduced from the importance companies place on the subject. Onboarding remains a cheap method of maintaining the drive of new employees; managing their expectations and ensuring their experiences foster engagement.