Onboarding: basics for a successful process
The first days in the company are often decisive for how motivated new employees approach their new tasks. A good onboarding process helps new colleagues to feel at home quickly and to work productively. In this article, we would like to give you an overview of onboarding.
Around Onboarding: The Basics
Onboarding: Definition & Meaning
The term onboarding is mainly known from human resource management. It derives from the English "taking on board", which translates as "bringing on board" or "familiarising" new employees.
The onboarding of new employees takes place on different levels. In addition to the professional level, good onboarding also takes into account the social level and the value-oriented level. The goal of onboarding is therefore the systematic integration of new employees into the company on all these three levels. A professionally designed onboarding process makes it possible to provide targeted support to the new colleagues at every stage of onboarding in order to optimally integrate them into the company and make them productive as quickly as possible.
Onboarding is contrasted with offboarding, which involves the professional handling of employees who leave the company.
Why is a good onboarding process so important?
What are the benefits of good onboarding?
At the same time, good onboarding also contributes to employer branding. A structured onboarding process underlines the professionalism of the company. As a result, employees become brand ambassadors and contribute to a positive external perception of the company. This in turn offers long-term advantages when hiring further employees.
Phases of onboarding
Onboarding is a long-term process. In principle, it lasts until the person in question has been fully trained. The exact period of onboarding varies greatly and depends on, among other things
- the position of the person to be trained
- the tasks of the respective position
- the structure in the company.
The 3-phase model divides onboarding into:
1. preparation phase (preboarding)
The preparation phase begins with the signing of the contract and lasts until the first day of work. In this phase, it is important to prepare for the start of work. This includes, among other things, the procurement of the necessary equipment, such as a laptop, desk and other working materials, as well as the preparation of all documents that are important for the start.
Pre-boarding should already be well organised, after all, you can give the new employees a professional image of the company already in this phase and thus show that you care about the satisfaction of the employees.
2. orientation phase
In the orientation phase, which starts with the first day of work and typically lasts for the first 2-3 months, the employee is introduced to his or her role step by step and to future tasks. The aim is to get to know the company, the colleagues and other departments as well as the basic processes.
3rd integration phase
Which people are involved in onboarding?
During onboarding, several people usually accompany the new employees. Who these people are in particular depends on the respective onboarding phase.
In the pre-boarding phase, the main focus is on general questions and preparing the start of work. HR managers are therefore primarily involved here, together with the head of the specialist department or team.
For the professional integration during the orientation and integration phase, the colleagues with whom there are regular points of contact are added. If there is a time overlap, the predecessors in the respective position should also be integrated into the onboarding process as much as possible.
To ensure a quick social and value-oriented integration, new employees are often assigned mentors, also called onboarding buddies. They help them arrive and get to know the company and general processes better. The onboarding buddy serves as the first point of contact for all kinds of questions outside the department.
Onboarding concept and onboarding plan for successful implementation
In order to ensure structured onboarding in which all aspects are adequately considered, it is advisable to develop an onboarding concept. As a rule, the HR department is responsible for this. In the form of an onboarding working group, the team can also be expanded to include other employees from different hierarchical levels of the company. There should also be a close exchange with the specialist departments with regard to the technical onboarding.
Consequently, the onboarding concept incorporates a great deal of information, for example on
- Known difficulties from the past
- Frequently mentioned positive experiences
- Special features in your own company
- special requirements in individual business areas
Based on the concept created, an onboarding plan can then be developed. The onboarding plan is much more detailed than the concept and presents a precise timeline of the individual tasks to be completed as part of the onboarding process.
Onboarding process & the digitalisation
Like almost everywhere else, digitalisation has also found its way into the HR sector. A variety of software solutions support HR managers, department and team leaders in the different onboarding tasks and thus enable the automation and optimisation of the onboarding process.
- HR platforms offer a clear onboarding plan so that no tasks are forgotten.
- eLearning platforms enable a clear and knowledge transfer on processes and applications.
- Communication and collaboration tools ensure efficient exchange, even if you are not in the same office.