You can say that there are trends in everything. In the HR world right now, there is a lot of talk about the candidate journey, from applying for a new job to making your first appointment at a new workplace. To say the least, the pandemic has pulled everything to its peak and we are a little more fragile for the movement of labour on the labour market. It is no wonder that we want to know how to get our employees to stay and that’s exactly what we’re going to dive a little deeper into with this blog post.
Anna Bouka is a HR expert. In her role as HR Manager, she works with skills development, health and well-being, recruitment and employer branding, amongst other things. We look at how to retain talent, how important a good preboarding and onboarding is and how this will develop going forward.
The importance of onboarding
Onboarding is to ensure that the candidate goes from the recruitment process as smoothly as possible into being fully integrated into the business. Anna tells us that onboarding actually also affects the entire employee experience during the full duration of an employment.
The experience of onboarding remains throughout the entire employment. Too often when an employee leaves a workplace they will describe their experience as a new employee to be shaky. It is an incredibly important period that plays a role in how long an employee chooses to stay at the workplace and how well they enjoy themselves – a lot is decided right at the start.
What does onboarding include?
Anna explains that there are two perspectives in onboarding, where one part concerns the practical pieces such as materials, work clothes or other equipment that may need to be ordered. Having everything ready and in place when the candidate arrives on their first day contributes to a better experience.
Then there are what Anna refers to as the soft values, which provide security and contribute to a warm welcome. Maybe you have booked a coffee with the team or have put a flower in place when the new colleague arrives on their first day. If there is still a long way to go until the candidate starts, you can work with mailings or perhaps a pre-recorded information clip with a CEO. The period before the start of employment is called preboarding.
As a manager, in addition to standardised processes it is important to adapt the approach of onboarding to the individual who will start, as there is no one-size-fits-all. Some will want to be in the office amongst colleagues, others will want a mentor in addition to their immediate manager to turn to. It is important to be sensitive to what the new colleague needs to thrive.
Preboarding and Onboarding
For some, preboarding is a new concept. But Anna tells us that you can see preboarding as part of onboarding. An employment process begins with recruitment, a contract is signed and then there is usually a period of time between the dismissal from the old job until the first day of the new one. This time can last for one or more months – until the candidate starts their first day at the new workplace. It is during these months that preboarding takes place.
Some workplaces apply emails during that time with ongoing information. If the candidate starts right after Christmas, you can invite them to company events, a lunch or send a Christmas card. The most important thing is that the candidate feels included even before the start of employment.
– I think you are perceived as a disinterested employer if you skip the preboarding. A total silence from the employer creates uncertainty for the candidate the closer you get to the start date, “what will actually happen on my first day and what time should I be there”. They are of course asking for information and that is so easily remedied. Regular phone calls from the manager at the new workplace are enough, says Anna.
AutoAutomatic tools and digitised process to help
Anna tells us that in today’s society it would be beneficial to have a combination of digital and physical methods in our employment processes. This could mean that a signed contract automatically provides payroll information to the payroll department, checklists are available to the immediate manager and order lists go straight to the IT department. This would streamline the process and save valuable time, so that equipment and information can be in place for the employee’s first day. For example, logging in information is readily available in an email, a computer is on the desk, etc Overall, it is more advantageous to work with digital tools in the workplace
– I have been to companies where development interviews and induction schedules are carried out with paper and pencil, are lost and have to be redone when the next manager starts. With the help of digital tools, the leader receives a reminder of what must happen during the onboarding via, for example, checklists. Then you can also, with the right tools, easily create goals, both measurable goals and development goals, and measure goal fulfillment continuously during the course of employment. Feedback from employees to the organization via employee surveys is also extremely important in order to be able to develop together. Digital tools are incredibly effective in many ways, but the most important thing is to continuously involve the employee and never lose sight of the personal aspect. This is most easily done through regular dialogues between managers and employees.
How till onboarding develop going forward?
In times where more people work from hybrid offices, Anna believes it is important that we become even more digitised and skilled at digital pre and onboarding.
– I think it will be better integrated with other parts of the employee journey. You will probably work more with different tools and processes to interact and it will probably be more interactive for the candidate. It may be that we send out a quiz “what do you know about your new workplace?” or that you get to participate and contribute to an ongoing project already in the preboarding phase. Then I think we want to collect more information about our new employee even before starting and what is important to them.
If I’m still unsure how to work with onboarding?
For the employer who does not work with onboarding and feels unsure about starting work, Anna has some tips along the way:
– I would just like to say to everyone who is thinking about how to start a pre and onboarding process: to just start. Every beginning is difficult, but it always leads in the right direction. You can easily get stuck in fears and compare yourself to how other companies have done but don’t think that the process has to be perfect right away, any way is better than nothing. Also dare to take input from employees. Ask what they lacked when they started and evaluate how you can develop the onboarding continuously.
Anna Bouka, HR Manager, Visma Talent Solution