Why Getting Onboard in So Important

I’ve met quite a few people – both those leading organizations and those tasked with HR for those organizations – who have brilliant ideas for employee onboarding, mentoring, and policies. However, I’ve met more people who want all that, but don’t have the time, resources, or internal know-how to do it right now. This short post looks at some of the questions I hear all the time, and how implementing a well-planned employee onboarding program can change your organization for long term and for the better.

Those questions I get? They often look like these:

When you have talented, intelligent people on staff, how do you nurture them?

When there are organizational constraints around benefits and job requirements, How can you be creative with growth? How can we support our low turnover rate and maintain our retention? How can we avoid an abrasive “getting-up-to-speed” process for new hires? How do we maintain a healthy, welcoming, and supportive environment for all hires, but especially those from historically marginalized groups? How can employees innovate – in all business areas? How can we create a process that matches up with the new strategic plan?

Implementing a functional employee onboarding process allows new hires to learn everything they need to know easier, better, and faster. This process results in better employee performance, deeper engagement, and increased satisfaction. Onboarding programs can cover the smallest topics (from using the copier and kitchen) to larger concepts (employee culture, where to find policies and procedures) and can help both new and existing employees adapt to changing environments. Mentoring programs can support employees in their work with the public, facilitate knowledge transfer, and reduce employee discomfort and tension. Successful onboarding programs:

  • Let all stakeholders know what is expected
  • Allow new hires to arrive ready to be productive
  • Have a formal feedback process
  • Connect to specific competency requirements/pieces of the strategic plan

By utilizing a learning lens rather than a traditional organizational development lens, Edify helps organizations build onboarding plans with real teeth” and real value:

  • Helping employees understand the brand, culture, and values in terms of performance means that the work they produce will match their capabilities as well as their requirements.
  • Offering insight into the placement of the position in the organization, as well as the intent and direction of that employee’s services, allows employees to feel grounded and oriented.
  • Onboarding starts with the decision to hire – before Day 1 of work – and rather than ending, it transitions to mentoring.

Consistency, empathy, and delivery are key for success.

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Posted by Kristen Gallagher

Kristen Gallagher
Kristen Gallagher is an organizational strategies and learning designer. Specializing in onboarding systems, manager development, and knowledge management, Gallagher delivers programs that are designed to evolve and scale with rapid changes. She is the founder and CEO of Edify and has architected and delivered onboarding programs for companies bringing on just one person a quarter to 50+ people a quarter.

She brings over eight years of learning design, business development, and program operations and strategy to Edify. She guides growing tech companies to create amazing people systems, learning programs, and cultures that scale. Kristen speaks on human resources, human centered design, learning & development in technical environments, and integrated people operations across the country. Informed by her interests in technical product design, art history, contemporary Southeast Asian art, and museums, Kristen brings an iconoclastic approach to designing and implementing learning programs in tech environments.

She's spoken and taught at Learning Dev Camp, ATD Cascadia, ACTW, Refresh Portland, Product Tank, PHRMA, and dozens of other conferences. Effective, efficient programs, events, and strategies are what motivate her, and in every project, she engages teams to understand trade-off’s, make data-driven decisions, and design evolvable solutions.

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