Effective ways of creating good onboarding in your company

There is only one right method of creating good onboarding for your new employees. It can’t be done alone while sitting behind your desk even if you have big experience, good knowledge of your company’s reality and best intentions. The most effective way is to involve your employees in the development of onboarding.
Nothing can replace the knowledge you obtain from your employees in terms of strengths and weaknesses concerning current onboarding, if you already have such, or the knowledge about what is useful to have in your first onboarding to make it effective and valuable. Working behind the desk and your observations aren’t enough. You need to go out to those who are concerned. 

Participants of the process of onboarding design
A good way to design company onboarding for the new employees, which I always recommend to my clients, is to organise workshops during which you can focus on creating such a process. Cooperating with my clients, I invite not only HR or administrative teams, which usually get a task to create and implement onboarding, but also other employees from different departments of the company.

The ideas and perspectives of these two teams only may be different from those who work, e.g. on a production line, the customer service or as sales representatives. Therefore, it’s important to select the participants carefully to meet the ideas and points of views of a wide range of the employees representing various business areas.
I always invite the newcomers as well. The employees who have recently started their jobs are perfect participants of such workshops to share their comments and assess current onboarding, which they should still remember. Such a diverse group provides a good basis for further creative work.

Methods of creating onboarding
Apart from the classical methods like, e.g. a brainstorm session, an analysis or benchmarking, check more creative ways as well. The 4C model may be a helpful solution. The idea of this model is to focus on creating actions within several areas. The 4C comes  from the following English words:
•    compliance (you should create all the administrative issues to be carried out when hiring the new employees, e.g. a job contract, an email address, a computer login, etc.)
•    clarification (you should focus on introducing job tasks and goals to your new employees – plan how to do it during your onboarding)
•    culture (there is some space to present formal and informal rules you have at your company)
•    connection (you should plan how to integrate your new employees with their teams, but also with a company vision, mission and strategy to make sure the newcomers understand them)

It’s worth going through all these elements and considering at what stage of onboarding your new employees should learn and remember all these 4C components.
Another method that may help you create this process is design thinking (a very popular method in Poland, where I live). You can use the whole process of design thinking or its selected parts only. The two first steps are the most important ones. They are called empathy and diagnosis of needs and you should go through them to find out as much as possible about those for whom you create onboarding. You need to discover and define the needs of the newcomers. Your current employees will also help you with that – they know what the newcomers should learn at the beginning of their work.

The next step of design thinking is generating ideas. You look for ideas and solutions for your onboarding with the participants of the workshops. The employees on board will be very helpful and useful to do so. From among many ideas you need to choose a few to work with more closely during the next step, which is prototyping. It’s the stage of creating what you want to include in your onboarding.

And finally, you reach the last step, which is testing. It’s time to ask the participants of your workshops to present their ideas, listen to opinions and comments provided by others to check if the best chosen solutions have any chances of being implemented successfully in your company as the onboarding programme.
If you want to create onboarding by using this method, consider hiring an experienced moderator. You can also use some ideas of the design thinking method and try to lead your team at the workshops on your own.

Just remember to plan the agenda of your workshops carefully, describe in detail all tasks for the participants and select them carefully – both the newcomers and the employees. Have fun!


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