Onboarding Process: Which is Best, Structured or Loose?

Finding Middle Ground With Your Onboarding Process

There are many varied takes on the onboarding process as more and more organizations try to think “outside theonboarding process box” when attracting a new generation of workers. Some of the processes are nothing short of trendy, loosely structured seemingly lackadaisical in many ways. Many refer to this as informal onboarding or unstructured onboarding. Does it really work?

The opposite approach is much more structured and detail oriented. It’s a way of showing people who are new to the company a step-by-step guide to success in the workplace. This structured approach takes into account how the employee is progressing and lays out a projected growth pattern for them. Does this method really work for everyone? Is there perhaps something in-between that strikes the right balance?

Shuffling Papers
The goal is to make employees enthusiastic about their workplace, and one way to get them started on the right foot is to get the paperwork out of the way as quickly and painlessly as possible. Today’s workforce is tech savvy, which means you should send them everything in electronic form that they can sign quickly.

The next step is to introduce them to the culture of their workplace. Rather than taking them around for a meet and greet, companies are finding great success in producing videos that offer a virtual tour, perhaps with sound bites from employees talking about what they like most about their job.

One problem with the informal process is that it’s so laid back that a lot of time is wasted. For instance, the new hire waits for IT to set them up with their new workspace, or the paperwork hasn’t been scheduled yet and they wait on HR to come around to get that rolling.

A better approach is to have their workstation clean, fully stocked and ready for them to dig in and get started. Give them access to supplies that will help them personalize their desk, and provide them a welcome gift. That might seem over the top, but it shows them that the company is excited about having them on board.

The Training
With little structure to the onboarding process, goals are so loosely defined that training can sometimes be an afterthought. Nobody wants to sit through hours of instructional material, but there has to be some basis for solid training strategies.

Lay out clear goals based on their first 30, 60 and 90 days with the company. Make sure the educational materials are interactive – something that allows them to learn the ropes while establishing relationships with their fellow workers.

Behavioral Assessment
If the goal is to make your new people feel accepted, respected and engaged, you have to know what makes them tick. Breezing through their resume and interview notes will reveal some personality traits that you can key in on, but to really get to the bottom of what will ease them into their new workplace takes a science-based approach used in behavioral assessment processes.

At PI Consulting Group, we have developed exactly that. Our methods help our clients build teams based on facts. We can assist you in identifying future leaders, too. Contact us today and we’ll explain our onboarding process.