Four Critical Employee Onboarding Practices in a Rapidly Changing Workplace

Much of the recent discussion on the changes in our modern workplaces has been focused on the increase in remote work. We’ve also been hearing a lot about the impact of the “Great Resignation,” as well as the need to hire and keep good employees. Change is certainly happening. However, we’ve been managing a shift towards large-scale change for a long while now. Large disruptions such as the pandemic and unpredictable economic conditions have changed the workplace, but so has the increased number of mergers and acquisitions over the last few years. 

None of these conditions have changed the fundamental need for employee onboarding programs. That said, ongoing change will mean that organizations should rethink how they approach employee onboarding training — and the onboarding experience — if they want to succeed.

Employee Onboarding Best Practices for Change Management 

Here are four actionable practices to consider in light of all these changes:

1. Establish an Employee Onboarding Program for All Internal Role Changes

Onboarding is more than simply getting a new hire to full productivity as quickly as possible. Organizations that take a more strategic mindset see the onboarding experience as a way to help employees continuously improve. Employee onboarding is useful to prepare for a successful promotion or lateral move. It is also helpful for a team following a merger or acquisition. Brandon Hall Group research shows that 40% of organizations have no transitioning practices in place at all for employees going through a lateral move or promotion.

Employees need the right tools and processes in place to help them access information, make necessary connections, and find ways to continue to empower the organization through their contributions. 

2. Use Onboarding as a Way to Engage and Connect Employees

Onboarding is an effective way to get your teams working together. You can promote interactions across divisions and functional areas by creating onboarding activities that require teamwork. For example, you can have new employees work on cross-functional teams on a collaborative project. For employees in new roles or at a newly merged company, you might choose to create a social onboarding task. These types of interactions help employees feel connected to something bigger than themselves. These types of activities also help the employee get familiar with the tools and technology available to them in their new role. It also helps them to see how that technology might be useful in solving problems down the road.        

3. Audit and be Prepared to Change your Onboarding Program Metrics 

An organization that is truly committed to strategic onboarding must have its key measures of success reflected in the measurements used to assess onboarding practices. For example, time-to-fill productivity is a key onboarding metric, depending on what your organization is trying to achieve. It may also be worth looking at all of the other metrics on your current onboarding dashboards to make sure they are reflective of your organizational goals. Diversity and inclusion metrics, usage of learning tools, employee engagement, collaboration, and increased communication are all vital ways to monitor and measure employee success.

4. Put Employee Experience First

With the workplace rapidly changing, creating connections for employees through processes and technology is one of the most important approaches to modern employee onboarding. It’s a prime opportunity to express your organizational values and culture. One great way to express those values is by showing employees that although productivity matters, it isn’t the only metric that they are judged by.

Create chances for employees to express their voice and personality. Provide times to meet with other members of the team, in-person or remotely. Make opportunities for employees to work and learn together. Employees should see that they are at an organization that values continuous improvement – and gives them the tools to improve. Organizations that build employee connections for a shared sense of purpose help the whole team to understand that they are at an organization that values them.

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