On-Boarding Process for New Employees

How can you measure “success” for an onboarding process?

In the

I recently co-authored with BonitaSoft, I talked about one of the responsibilities I had in my first HR job. This was to conduct New Hire Orientation (NHO) on a weekly basis for the newest group of new employees at a large company in Silicon Valley. During my tenure in that role, NHO evolved from a 4-hour company introduction, benefits review and enrollment to a 2-day extravaganza that included presentations from key executives across the company.  We prided ourselves on our how “employee oriented” we were as exemplified by how much time we devoted to NHO.

Can you imagine such an expensive time and resources approach existing in today’s cost-conscious, fast-paced environments?  And, other than likely boring our employees in the extreme over this 2-day period, I sometimes think back and wonder what these employees – and the company – really gained from these meetings.

The term “New Hire Orientation” has evolved more euphemistically to “On-Boarding”, but I believe this is more than just a fashionable evolution. On-Boarding once again offers HR a tremendous opportunity to provide considerable business value and impact to your organizations.  I’ll use the Customer Satisfaction model I discussed in the previous blogs (Customer Satisfaction vs. Metrics:  Measuring HR Excellence and Talent Acquisition:  How Can We Do a Better Job?)

Let’s start with defining HR’s customers during On-Boarding as the newly hired employees and your company.  The goal would then be to complete benefits and legal paperwork, and also to get the new employees as informed and productive as quickly as possible.

Some years ago I was hired at a local company where On-Boarding was conducted in real time on each new employee’s desktop, using homegrown software.  At my own pace, I elected my health insurance coverage, filled out legal paperwork, and took mandated coursework on the company’s ethics policies, prevention of sexual harassment, and other management training programs.  My initial impression was that the experience wasn’t especially “touchy feely,” but realistically, who cared? I didn’t have to change my schedule to a company’s fixed training time. And more importantly, at that company, a centralized NHO would have been extremely impractical given the company’s multiple worldwide locations with different languages, time zones and customs.

The experience also got me to thinking — wouldn’t it make perfect sense to broaden the scope of On-Boarding to include password-protected, customized online access to materials specific to each person’s job?  Certainly all of us have personally experienced the enormous downtime during the “learning the ropes” period when we were newly hired.  Depending on the job, new employees might read manuals, engineering documentation, learn (and sometimes forget!) company-specific acronyms, product specifications, marketing collateral, blueprints, and more.

And, to back up even further, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for successful On-Boarding to include whatever cross-functional notifications are necessary to ensure “company-readiness” for each new employee’s first day?  This would include the workspace defined and operable, access to company intranet, security passkeys, phone and computer installation, as well as all pertinent documentation loaded onto the new employee’s computer, ready for online access.

In Talent Acquisition:  How Can We Do a Better Job?, I discussed sending a customer-satisfaction survey twice to each new hire and hiring manager. The first one should be sent immediately upon hire to get feedback on the hiring process, followed by another after 90 days on the job to see how successful the On-Boarding experience was to making the employee productive.  That 90-day satisfaction survey is an excellent opportunity to assess the success of your on-boarding efforts from the users’ points of view.


Join me for an upcoming Webinar on Creating Strategic Value with BPM in Human Resources, featuring a discussion and demonstration with a Process Template specific to Human Resources, or participate in the discussion on this topic on BPM Guru.

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By Denise Pringle @ HRWorks! | April 4, 2013

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