Considering the amount of time, effort, and expense that goes into hiring, it’s surprising how few companies follow through on that hiring. Only 32% of companies recognize the importance of a formal onboarding process. Whether the process is formalized or not, consistent onboarding dispels new hire confusion and manager frustration by providing new employees with an orientation of the company, a baseline for performance expectations and a list of job requirements.

For Best-in-Class organizations and HR departments, onboarding is a process that evolves alongside the company. As an example, if Jane is hired as the Director of Strategy this month, her onboarding process should be completely different than Bill, who was hired for the same position two years ago. The differences should arise based on the company’s growth, new technology, change in culture, fresh content, and updated company goals.

Updating the Onboarding Process.

It’s not necessary to completely overhaul the onboarding process after each new hire. However, at least once or twice a year, it’s vitally important to evaluate the process and update it as needed. There are three particular areas that are most likely to affect the onboarding process: technology, content, and goals.

  1. New Technology

Businesses that don’t keep up with technology are quickly left to trail behind their competitors. The technology that was available yesterday can be far less advanced than the technology that will be available tomorrow. For HR professionals, technology can also be an answer to problematic and time-consuming onboarding processes such as new hire documentation and training materials.

In recent years, online portals have become a far superior way for organizations to provide content access. A portal provides a cloud-based option to printed paperwork, and since content requires regular updates, it provides a simple solution for content replacement and distribution in one easy step. In fact, Best-in-Class organizations are 1.6 times more likely to offer a portal to new hires as an access point for onboarding content.

  1. Onboarding Content

Just as technology changes constantly, an organization’s content evolves just as quickly. As management is exchanged, department goals are updated, company messaging is modified, and the onboarding content provided to new hires must be updated. The employee handbook from 2014 will not be appropriate for an employee hired in 2015.

There will also be times where the onboarding content needs to be changed based on the understanding of the HR department. Governmental laws regularly change, which can require new forms. The company’s mission statement and core values can be modified, and that update should be reflected in the onboarding content. If you’re unsure what content should be included in the onboarding process, Aberdeen has provided a checklist to get you started.

  1. Company Goals

As an organization’s goals change based on the shifting landscape of business, the way new employees are trained and onboarded should also change. The onboarding process should always reflect company goals, and new hires should also always be provided with individual and departmental goals as a basis for performance expectations. Goals also play an important role in evaluating and maximizing the effectiveness of the onboarding process, and Best-in-Class companies are 2.54 times as likely to track their new hires’ progress during onboarding. Give the new hire’s manager information and guidance to help them achieve current goals, but also make sure the employee is onboarded with future and organization-wide goals in mind.

To remain stagnant is to have an ineffective onboarding process—there’s always room for improvement. Think of your company’s onboarding process as a constantly evolving ecosystem that changes as the company changes.

For a deeper dive on this subject, check out the Aberdeen Research Report ‘Welcome to the 21st Century, Onboarding!’

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