Onboarding processes:
A structured induction plan helps to integrate employees perfectly

Onboarding: Introduction, outlook, significance

Whether your employees make a motivated and committed start within your company is decided by the first days and weeks in their new job. Therefore, a coherent onboarding process is absolutely essential. It is not uncommon for newcomers to leave the company in the first few weeks or months because their expectations have not been met. Particularly with the strained labour market of today and the difficulty of finding employees, you should develop a well-thought-out orientation plan.

But how do companies and the HR department in charge structure the orientation plan in a targeted manner? And what advantages does onboarding offer and what contribution does this process make to the integration of new employees?

When new team members and specialists join, they are initially bombarded with a lot of new impressions and information. Whether new tasks or new people: Everything must first be properly processed in order to then get into action and take over the defined tasks independently. We provide you with help and pointers on how to integrate this process into your company and what expectations you should meet with your newcomers.

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Definition of onboarding: What does that actually mean?

An onboarding process is the orientation, hiring and targeted integration of new employees into a company or organisation. Onboarding is a concept that comes from human resources management, which makes it easier for new talents to enter the company, resp. get on board, through fixed measures.

With the signing of the employment contract, the onboarding process starts and ends with the expiry of the probationary period; this usually means after a period of six months. But basically, the complexity of the position (e.g. manager) and the associated tasks determines the duration of the onboarding process.

 

Onboarding: What you can achieve as a company with an orientation plan

Companies often invest some human and time resources in the orientation and integration of new employees – or they should. Unfortunately, a large number of new employees already fail during the probationary period. The reasons for this are quite different.

However, companies and organisations can significantly minimise this risk. Comprehensive onboarding with a structured orientation plan not only helps the new colleague to better become acclimated and empathise with the company, but also the company itself to present itself as an attractive employer brand.

The advantages that you and thus your HR department reap as a result are wide-ranging:

  • Employees start with a lot of motivation in the first few weeks and feel cared for and welcomed in the team.
  • Newcomers to the job build their first relationships with other colleagues, find trust in the team and identify more quickly with the culture of the company.
  • The onboarding process helps newcomers find their way around a new work environment and helps them to work productively faster.
  • New employees feel valued by a structured orientation plan and recommend the company as an employer on the basis of this positive experience.

 

Orientation plan template: You should establish these phases of the onboarding process

We recommend structuring your own onboarding process in three phases:

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  2. Pre-boarding

    The application procedure has been successfully completed and after a possibly long search for suitable personnel, you have finally found your desired candidate.

    Before your new team member starts with you in a few weeks or even months, you can already create good conditions to allow for a long-term and trusting relationship to develop. Keep in touch with your new employee – right after signing the contract. Share the next steps and actively ask if anything should be unclear.

    Signal anticipation and advance confidence in your new colleague so that they do not even remotely think about becoming weak when it comes to offers from other companies. Present yourself and your company to be well prepared for the time ahead and accurately describe what the onboarding will be like.

    Right before the first day in your new job, you can respond to internal practices and explain how the company ticks. Provide a bit of information about the dress code in your company and proactively address possible concerns about your company’s fashion standards.

    Or share what the lunch break in your house is like. Is there a kitchen for the team or department? Do you have a canteen? Are drinks provided or is everyone responsible for them? The more precise you are at providing internal information, the better and faster the first day together on site succeeds – and the faster concentration is on the tasks and technical issues.

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  4. The orientation phase

    On the first working day of the new employee, the second phase of onboarding begins. They get to know the team and get first-hand insight into internal processes. To start, your new team member should be greeted by a well-known person to make it easier to become acclimated. Provide the necessary work equipment and show them the new workplace.

    In addition, it is advisable to consider the first two weeks as an important part of the orientation phase, in which you provide the new team member with a sponsor (or mentor). This person should act as a contact person on whom your new team member can orient themselves, respond to questions and ensure that the new colleague settles in well.

    At the beginning of the first week of work, set up an employee or feedback interview in which your newcomer can review the first week together with superiors and HR managers and describe their initial experience. In this way, you create the basis for independent work and a quick growth into the new role.

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  6. The integration phase

    The last phase of onboarding runs from about the third to sixth month. During this time, the employee has arrived in their own area of responsibility and should deepen their knowledge. Internal workshops, cross-team working groups and feedback discussions at regular intervals fill the first half of the year at the new company well. At the end of this probationary period, it is advisable to have a final interview.

    Here you should not only bring up experiences and past situations, but also take a look into the future. Set common goals and coordinate development steps that you want to achieve together with your new team member.

Onboarding: This is what employees expect from the orientation phase

However, an onboarding process is not a one-sided affair. Employees also come to the new company with a certain expectation.

You not only want to be introduced to the team and get to know your superiors, but also find a fully equipped workplace including appropriate IT.

Depending on the industry and job title, the newcomers also expect that they will be provided with all the necessary tools and a correspondingly powerful software. In order to avoid disappointment, it is advisable to inquire about these wishes in advance in order to be able to act accordingly in the pre-onboarding phase or to clarify any discrepancies.

In addition, newcomers have a pronounced need for exchange. Be sure to stick to your plan to have regular feedback meetings. This allows your new colleague to better assess their own performance and respond to your feedback. Also use the exchange to communicate your own expectations. Your newcomers need orientation, especially in the early days.

 

Checklist for successful onboarding

If your company opts for professional onboarding, as mentioned earlier, you should free up resources so that your onboarding plan is successful and can be standardised.

Establish a mindset for successful onboarding.

Only get comrades-in-arms who are just as motivated as you are and understand the meaning and benefits behind the orientation plan. Communicate your goals and involve your employees. Only through constant cooperation and clear agreements can onboarding proceed optimally. Everything else is a waste of time and effort.

Allow enough time for onboarding

and create a plan as accurate and detailed as possible. Coordinate the time frame with all parties involved and record exactly which technical and corporate cultural information and content you want to pass on in onboarding. Also take into account the personal and professional background of your new team member.

In any case, the best plan will be unsuccessful if it is not adhered to.

If the onboarding team is large, you need time to plan and implement. Almost certainly, appointments will be duplicated, colleagues will be absent or on holiday. To ensure that onboarding can proceed without obstacles and interruptions, therefore, plan generously.

In addition to the joint time investment, it is also important to find, motivate and instruct colleagues.

Employees who present their own area of responsibility, tools or fixed workflows in your company should deal with their respective onboarding topic in good time and carefully develop the contents of your learning session. A clear division of topics serves to cover all areas sufficiently.

If your onboarding process is firmly implemented, you should regularly ask for feedback and further optimisation.

The cooperation does not end with the completion of the onboarding - include collected impressions and experiences in your planning of future onboarding processes. In this way, you demonstrate that you take onboarding seriously and work hard to ensure that your new colleagues arrive perfectly in your team.

Dos and don'ts in the onboarding process

Even if the preparations are properly executed, there can be shaky moments within the onboarding. If the new employees understand your intention and feel your motivation, faux pas will be forgiven.

Companies often make the following mistakes:

  • They confuse pure onboarding with orientation. New colleagues need more than an orientation that focuses exclusively on their own department. Also focus on the human component and integrate the people into the social fabric. You should pursue the professional orientation as a separate program.

  • Before the first day of work, there is silence between you. However, it is better to intensify contact with new colleagues. Seek communication and proactively ask if any questions have arisen before starting work.

  • They attach little to no importance to a welcoming culture. If you do that, you have bad cards with restarters. Inform your teams that the company is getting an increase in personnel.

  • You do not name a direct contact person. Distance fuels mistrust. Therefore: Let them know at an early stage. Give your new team member a timetable for the first few days. So that they directly start with a good feeling about you.

  • They do not pursue direct exchanges. But communication is essential, especially at the beginning. Therefore, give feedback at fixed intervals and help your new colleague to grow.

  • They disregard business aspects when onboarding. This error can also have a negative impact. Be realistic when planning the time and personnel in the onboarding process and also be mindful that colleagues who carry out the onboarding are pulled out of projects.

Even if a structured onboarding process is associated with effort: In the current time, you should be mindful that a renewed search for suitable specialist personnel represents a significant item (resource, budget).

Think and act in the long term and invest in the future. Because this also benefits your employer brand. If we can support you in your personnel search or if you want to exchange information about successful onboarding: We are at your disposal for all questions relating to human resources.

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