Onboarding, When Done Right, Improves Productivity
30 de July de 2021
30 de July de 2021
Taking someone in is an art form with its own protocols and tools. Whether it takes place in our social life or in a professional environment, it’s a fundamental element that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. During the landing process, at times, we think new employees will reach cruising speed and adapt to the company’s pace on their own and not much attention is paid to the process. Esther Sánchez Torres, HR Consultant, thinks it’s quite evident that companies haven’t been showing much interest in being the best hosts for many years now. “In my experience, it’s one of the most neglected and poorly managed processes”, she said at the beginning of the session ‘Advantages and Impact of the Onboarding Process’.
The onboarding process determines, sometimes quite clearly, many of the factors that affect the employees’ happiness, productivity and adaptability, which will in turn affect the way the company works. It’s important for employees to clearly understand the tasks and roles that they are expected to fulfil — which must be well defined in the contract, alongside their rights and benefits. But it’s as important to have them experience a good landing process during the first days for them to get to that much desired cruising speed in the most organic way possible. From the employees’ side, they must try to keep low levels of nervousness and uncertainty, common to those arriving at a new home. “The onboarding process is one of the many strategic processes on which the employees’ productivity depends during the adaptation period”, adds Esther Sánchez. It’s not about making the newcomer feel comfortable out of mere courtesy.
For the onboarding process to be done efficiently, both parts must do their bit: company and employee. There will be many responsibilities on the company’s side; but there are others that will depend on the employee’s good faith and initiative. It’s a two way process.
“The transition into a new company is a process in which we face the unknown”, explains Esther. This gives place to high levels of psychosocial vulnerability which are only worsened by the need to be liked and be up to the task from the very first moment — precisely on those first days or weeks on which we don’t yet control the new environment or the new responsibilities. To make matters worse, we’re being analysed by our coworkers and bosses.
The company’s ability to reduce the psychosocial vulnerability of its workers will be reflected in the work environment. The company must always look for the best work atmosphere in order to motivate and take care of the ‘employer branding’. Especially in a world in which employees have a social network presence and voice their opinions about their working place. Attracting talent heavily depends on having a good brand image from its foundations and it’s something that is increasingly present in every company.
The first days in a new job are always more about that first contact than anything else. It takes quite a while for employees to fully develop their skills in the company. Thus, accelerating the learning curve becomes a necessary process for the employee to be able to contribute the most in the least time. “The onboarding process is not fixed for every position or profile”, the speaker points out.
In order to make the onboarding process more efficient and to get employees to adapt as fast as possible, we must avoid making the following mistakes:
As for employees, they also have a great responsibility in this process. These are some of the common mistakes that must be avoided on the first days:
The way in which employees work is greatly determined by the preferences and habits of their superiors. That’s why it’s so important to get to know them as soon as possible so as to be able to work with them in the best possible way. Esther gave us some tips to improve this work relationship from the get go: In this initial period, we must try to come to them with solutions and not problems, not surprise them with unexpected changes or promise more than we deliver and, of course, not taking distance from them or expect them to change. “The key to being comfortable in an organisation lies in the way your boss is. We must have all of our senses focused on figuring this out and on understanding which signs must be interpreted as insatisfaction”. We must not take anything for granted. We must ask and have well defined expectations, as well as knowing the terms of the relationship.
For the HR professionals, a good welcoming plan must take into account all of these elements and point the employee in the right direction in terms of, for example, culture and behaviour patterns, the company values or rituals, language and symbols. This section, which may seem a bit trivial, is actually very important, according to Esther, whether it’s about dress code or coffee breaks.
The company must give employees the tools for the job, but also manage communication and feedback in order to get them ‘hooked’ from the start. It’s fundamental to allocate resources to the onboarding process —especially in big companies that can’t provide the close treatment that smaller businesses offer— in order to successfully welcome the new employees as efficiently as possible. In this way, the newcomers will be able to offer all of their skills to the company in the least amount of time.
Now that we know that the onboarding process is strictly related to productivity and happiness and we know the importance of a good working environment and of the image the workers have of the company; now that we became familiar with the most common mistakes to avoid on the first days and how to interact with our superiors; now that we know that every detail counts, even the coffee break: Now... We’re ready to be the best hosts in our companies!
Speaker: Esther Sánchez, People Directress, Change Coach, Scrum Master and EAE Professor.