Yesterday, I was asked this question: “In your opinion, what is the most important part of onboarding?”
Naturally, I had an opinion, and I wanted to explore the topic further here.
My answer to the question – the most important part of onboarding (in my opinion) is connecting the new employee to the organization.
Notice I didn’t say getting paperwork filled out correctly. Or ensuring that policies are adequately covered. Or that the boxes are all checked. I believe the human component of onboarding trumps all of that.
What do I mean by “connecting the new employee to the organization?” Depending on your organization, this could mean a few different things, such as:
- How can the new employee establish a “direct line of sight” to the customer?
- How does the new employee impact the customer experience (directly or indirectly)?
- How can the new employee embody the company vision, mission or core values?
- What is the company culture? How can the new employee get involved?
- Who are the key individuals with whom the new employee can connect up, down and across the organization?
Simply put, it’s about putting people before process.
Chances are…the paperwork – online or hard copy – will get filled out. Those policies will be covered. The proverbial boxes will be checked. But what if no one helps the new employee connect to the organization? That vulnerable new employee, left alone to navigate with uncertainty, will inevitably stumble.
Will he be able to establish that “direct line of sight” to your customer?
Will he know how his role impacts the customer experience – particularly in a non-customer-facing role (such as accounting)?
Will he truly understand your company’s vision, mission or values?
Will he “get” the culture? Will he feel comfortable enough to get involved?
Will he be able to identify those key individuals and be empowered enough to reach out and make those connections?
Maybe…but not likely. That’s where all of the stakeholders involved in the onboarding process come in. Just as it “takes a village to raise a child,” it also takes a village to nurture and engage a new employee. Whether you are an HR manager, a Talent Development practitioner, a hiring manager, a teammate or someone in a supporting role, you have an opportunity to make a difference when connecting a new employee to your organization.
Because after all, it is the most important part of onboarding. In my opinion, anyway.
Your turn: How does your organization’s new employee experience put “people before process?” Share your thoughts in the comments!
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