This year, I took part in local workshops about building so-called “dream-teams”. A meeting itself aimed at building successful/desired teams specifically in start-ups. What came beyond the organizer’s expectations was that some participants like me were coming not only from different industries but also from various types of organizations. Bunch of individuals representing start-ups and software houses through universities, NGO’s, SME’s to recruitment agencies and corporations all gathered in one place. This not-so-obvious combination of experiences created an unexpectedly rich in examples discussion about onboarding.

What is the process itself? When does it start and finish? Why do new employees need it, and do they need it at all? These questions were raised and answered. The subject of onboarding is huge and at times controversial. And it is not a goal of this article to explain it.

The participants of workshops exchanged examples from their lives. They explained how the onboarding process is executed at their workplaces and how they would have liked to have it work. Not all of them agreed on how exactly it should be managed, but one thing everyone agreed on – onboarding is essential. Not necessarily a formal process but welcoming employees to the company is.

Let me explain to you my understanding of onboarding process, especially to those who may not be familiar with the term yet. Onboarding it is a complex process and its main aims are:
– to introduce a new employee to the company (to its way of functioning in all possible aspects)
– to help a new employee in adaptation to the new role/team/company.

Ideally, onboarding should be delivered touching/presenting 3 dimensions of introduction:
– strategic (i.e. mission, vision, goals, organizational structure.),
– procedural (i.e. communication, policies, documents),
– personal (i.e. duties, development opportunities).

What is more, it should support a new employee in terms of learning and developing skills that are eventually going to be used at work. It is strongly related to a motivation and a satisfaction in the future.

For me, onboarding is like a first impression. It is always remembered. The first impression may change with time but onboarding to a new employee happens just once. That is why it is crucial to execute it well so that both the new employee and the company, manager, colleagues, and peers will be satisfied.

Companies of different sizes and organizational cultures vastly vary. Some firms simply do not express a need to run a complex onboarding process for new employees. I agree with that. Some of them do not think they need it. However, during the workshops, I took part in I learned that this “first impression” is common for all the industries.

I experienced a few welcomings and introductions as a new employer. They all were different as I had a chance to work for different types of organizations among which I may list a student organization, a university, and even a restaurant. I can tell what I liked about it and what could have been improved in terms of receiving me in a new environment.

I am glad that in a company I currently work for the onboarding process (in my case induction week plan) is developed. What’s more, I am actively involved in it through delivering presentations, providing new employees with on-the-job training and from time to time being a buddy. With each edition we as an organization and me individually as a part of the team – we try to be more prepared and welcome our new employees better.