7 Jul, 2021

What Is The Meaning Of Onboarding?

What Is The Meaning Of Onboarding?
Written by: - Phil Baker

The term onboarding has changed quite a lot over the years. It's no wonder many people are unaware of what it really entails. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t even know the onboarding definition or have just a meager idea of it. Happens to the best of us. Lack of knowledge in this department is becoming a bit common in organizations, especially large ones.
In this post, we will be sharing with you all there is to know about the meaning of the onboarding process and what it entails. Before anything else, let us see what a proper and clear onboarding definition for human resource professionals sounds like:

The Meaning Of Onboarding

When we talk about onboarding definition and the process of onboarding, we are not at all referring to a simple Wikipedia of bookish definitions that students often copy and paste in their HR assignments. We know that you as our reader are more concerned with the professional world. Hence, we have tried taking up different onboarding definitions and presenting to you an amalgamation of them. 
We do not believe in the cut and paste approach and have, therefore, spent our time presenting to you this, precise, clear, and one of the most professional definitions of onboarding you need as an HR official: “Onboarding, more commonly known in some places as organizational socialization, is a long journey-like process that involves taking along a newly hired person on a tour of the organization. 
This tour, both intellectual and physical, is aimed at making the newly hired person clearly and intensely aware of the knowledge, behaviors, and skills that every person working in your organization knows about and is in possession of to some extent. Onboarding is carried out so that the new employees can become effective members of your organization and easily merge with the work culture that you have at your workplace.”
We can bet you knew about this process and, chances are, you must have carried it out so many times being an HR representative of your workplace. But, the fact that you did not know the exact term of the new employee warming process is what might have made you uncomfortable at times. Don’t worry, because now you know it. And no, you do not have to cram this definition at all.
Just take its gist and move forward because we have so much to share with you other than this onboarding definition too. So, keep reading to learn about the onboarding process steps. If you have not gotten the idea already, let us reiterate: onboarding is a process with so many different elements and aspects under its umbrella.
You would be surprised to know that this onboarding process at times may take more than a month because it is not just about taking a newly hired person through the office cabins and making them meet and greet others, but in fact, it starts way before that.

The Steps Of the Onboarding Process

If you are a part of the onboarding process, you might have a rough idea on what to do first and what later in the process. But, many people often confuse the steps. Don’t worry, here is a step-by-step onboarding checklist that you must follow in the same order and then tick off every element, the next time you hire someone and take them through the process:

Step 1: Job Offer

Yes, the process of onboarding starts the very first minute of you giving that job offer to someone. Of course, your organization has conducted several interviews and then picked the best one. But you’re probably not sure by this point whether or not they will join your office. So, you either send them an email or call them up and put in a formal offer to join your office since their interview and credentials impressed you.
In most cases, this process goes smoothly since the employees are often hoping for the offer and accept it right then and there.

Step 2: Salary Negotiation

The second and the most important of the onboarding process steps is salary negotiation. This is the point that either begins the onboarding process on a comfortable note simply ceases the entire onboarding fun. When the employee accepts your job offer, you call them to the office or invite them to a virtual meeting and discuss their salary. They may or may not like it and you will have to negotiate to be able to get them to agree to whatever you are offering.
Let us say that the employee accepted your offered salary. Now it is time to move into the actual steps and tasks. 

Step 3: New Hire Paperwork

Obviously, this one is a step every HR professional has undertaken so many times, but many don’t really know of it as a part of the onboarding process. Once the salary has been negotiated, it is time you call the newly hired person to the office and before you tell them about anything else, make sure you work through those documents so you do not have to face any issues later on.

Step 4: Policy And Culture 

Now comes the tough part. Consider yourself as someone being hired in an organization that is entirely alien to you. Before you get to see the offices or are trained for the role you have been hired for, you would want to know the kind of culture that your workplace has. You would also want to know everything important about the rules and policies of the workplace and what makes it different from others.
Now, come out of your imaginary world because you are already hired and working in your organization forever. But, think of the lost folk you have recently hired. Don’t you think they might be feeling utterly anxious and lost? Well, let your humane part come to the forefront and help them by warming them up to your company’s culture. This is one of those things in an onboarding checklist that you must take a lot of care about.
The way you inform the new person of your workplace’s culture and policies can make a strong and lasting impact on the kind of image they will have of you and the workplace forever. Make sure this first introduction of you and your organization to them is both pleasant and uplifting for their spirits. It is only going to benefit your organization later when they start working.

Step 5: Training

Now is the time you start giving them the training that they need for their job role. This is another crucial step since most organizations now treat the training period as that of probation and then decide whether or not they want to retain the employee. You need to train them not only for their job role but also of how best to communicate harmoniously with others at the organization.
Maybe, this is the place where you tell them about the payroll process and other things too. By the way, you can always rely on paystub creator to solve invoicing and salary-related issues with your employees later on too. 

Step 6: Educating The Newly Hired Employee About Benefits

Every organization gives some sort of benefits to their employees and takes pride in the fact that it can help shape its workers’ life in a better way by providing them with those benefits. Telling the newly hired person about these benefits is not only uplifting for their spirits but also a great move in the sense that it makes them speak well of your organization to others not to mention that it boosts motivation
Informing the newly hired employees about the benefits they can avail makes them more passionate about their job role and also puts in their hearts, the will to work hard and consider the organization as their own.

Step 7: Office Tour

If the newly hired employee has been visiting the workplace for days, chances are they are familiarized with the many faces and the basic structure of your office building by now. If you are taking the official tour responsibility, you will most likely be deciding on a day and time with the new employee and take them to the office’s main building for a tour.
You will allow them to meet the people they will be working with and show them their desk. This tour also involves telling them about the basics in the office and where they should go in case of emergency, financial problems, taxes, etc. Just keep it brief, your employee can later find out things on their own too.
Let us say, your employee cannot join for the office tour because they will arrive from another region exactly on the day their proper work starts and have their training online. Even then, you can use the virtual technology for some warming and ensuring their bonding with other employees.

Step 8: Detailed Introductions With Relevant People

Now, you are almost at the end of the onboarding process and hence, it is about time you leave the newly hired person after making them meet the most relevant people in the organization. You can organize for them sit and chat for an hour or two about the work and expectations from them with the leadership at your workplace (only if the position they are hired for is that important).
Then, you can make them meet the team that they will be working with. We suggest you just do the basic coalition between the meeting parties and set a time for them at which they will meet.  Unless needed, you do not have to be present in the meeting. Rather leave them on their own and let them take all that they need to be able to work.
Also, their solitary meetings with relevant people will give them a chance to practice all their knowledge that you gave them in the previous days and this will give them the confidence they need to begin with working on their role and mingle with his/ her new colleagues.

How Long Should The Employee Onboarding Process Take?

This is a question for which there is no absolute answer. Every organization is different from others and has different kinds of things to teach to a newly hired person.  Moreover, not all the people you hire for the same position will be similar to each other. Some might warm up easily and others may take their time. So, we cannot define for you a limit at which you should stop the onboarding process and set the employee free to explore things on their own. 
Depending on the department, organizational nature, the job role, and its expectations, as well as the learning speed of the employee, the onboarding process can take anywhere between a few days up to some weeks and even a month in some cases. As a person from HR, you must have enough liberty to change and customize the length of each onboarding session in a way that helps the organization the most. If you do not have it yet. 
Maybe it is time you write an application to your boss and convince him/her to train people in a way (and time) that you deem appropriate! All the best!

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