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3 Similarities Between Organizational and Employee Onboarding

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From the outside looking in, the language of onboarding sounds a lot like buzzword bingo. A sprinkling of synergy here, a dash of digital convergence there, et voila! A fundamental aspect of operational development becomes just another arena for management jargon.

It doesn't have to be this way!

Despite the potential for elaborate language, there are some common elements of integrating people and providers that can be used to root the process in reality. Whether it's bringing a new supplier - or group of suppliers - online or integrating a new employee into the fold, understanding these basic truths of onboarding will help you leverage resources and increase organizational bandwidth (BINGO!)

change-ahead-sign employee onboarding and organization

Okay, let's just say these ideas will make life a little easier for everyone when change is on the horizon...

There Should Be No Surprises

As we covered with effective supplier integration earlier this month, giving everyone a heads up before anything changes is always a good idea. Not every topic can be covered, but just knowing that a transition is ahead is enough to mentally prepare most stakeholders.

Some common recommendations for effective communication about change are as follows:

  1. Make your messages consistent and frequent. Use all available channels, online and in-person, to reach as many people as possible.
  2. Allow time for people to ask questions and offer feedback. Misunderstandings can be almost as dangerous as no communication at all, so be sure to clarify, confirm, and help everyone get to the same page.
  3. Encourage individuals who are already on board with upcoming changes to share their outlook and positivity with colleagues. If they can spare the time, ask them to lead small employee feedback groups in their area of the business to meet bridge some of the communication gaps described above.
  4.  Allow room for discussion and challenges to proposed changes. Communication here means honest conversation, not just another presentation.
communication - business conversation

Define CLEAR Roles and Responsibilities

"That's not in my job description" is possibly one of the most frustrating things that any manager can hear. When systems are revised, suppliers are added, or new people are employed, the strain and speed of change increase the likelihood that the phrase will be uttered.

Onboarding is as much a challenge to organizational planners as it is the individual or company that is coming into the fold. It's like putting a puzzle together without any image of the completed version to guide us. For that reason, it's easy to see how roles become uncertain and responsibility gaps begin to appear.

Defining roles and responsibilities must be about more than just telling people what's expected of them. It should be used as an opportunity to engage others in the process of change, to communicate the positives, and to help them shape the transition based on their own skills and experience.

Review Performance and Respond to Feedback

It's all too easy to check a box and move on to another project once the final elements of an onboarding plan are complete. However, the initial integration of new systems and people is just the first step. These things take time to settle and it should not be taken for granted that everything will work exactly as planned from day one.

Every transition has bumps in the road and side-effects that no-one could predict. To keep overall momentum when you hit these hurdles, it's important to implement both scheduled review sessions and allow for ad-hoc feedback at all levels of the organization.

An effective onboarding plan continues long after the day someone is hired or a project goes live. Regular reviews, feedback groups, and open conversation channels allow you to make course corrections and provide additional resources as they are required.

integration of diverse strands

All of these points are equally applicable to hiring new employees as they are bringing on new suppliers and implementing new ways of working. The common thread is communication. Allow for clear dialogue and honest feedback and all forms of onboarding become

The common thread is communication. Allow for clear dialogue alongside honest feedback and all forms of onboarding can become a positive transition, rather than a mandatory change.

If your main area of interest is integrating a new supplier, take a look at our recent article on supplier integration here.

If new hires are your focus, we wrote about some key elements of employee satisfaction earlier this year.