Onboarding applications for business have had a big impact on organizations that use them well. Companies that have comprehensive onboarding programs perform better, have more productive workforces, and enjoy lower turnover than their competitors.
We are now on the cusp of a new, collaborative approach to organizations and work. Those companies who adapt their onboarding process to the modern, connected employee will have the advantage over those who don’t.
In the 1990s, employment began with tedious paperwork and boring videos. The HR team delivered required lectures about life in the organization, making their best attempts at stand-up comedy to make it enjoyable.
Companies often put new hires through a short training course and dumped them into the workforce, where they learned from their colleagues how to do the job—most of the time. Maybe they fit in, maybe not.
The Onboarding Revolution
Riding on a wave of automation, orientation and training of the 1990s has grown into a comprehensive set of practices that assimilate people into the organizational culture and help them become productive employees.
Onboarding automation improved the administrative experience for all the people involved in the process. It revolutionized the way we deliver information about the job and the organization to new employees. It enabled better communication and follow-up. Automation gave employers a way to track and report in detail on all the compliance details, and for new hires to track their own progress.
The automation didn’t create the practices. The marketing and consulting buzz surrounding it helped to elevate the professional conversation about assimilation into the organization, the employee experience, and the impact of onboarding on new hire turnover.
For many organizations, it has had a tremendous impact on productivity. For many, it has only been automation of the old ways of doing business.
The Onboarding Maturity Model
In a 2010 SHRM report, Talya Bauer presented the four C’s framework for evaluating employee onboarding programs. She uses her model to assess an organization’s onboarding maturity, taking new hire development beyond culture to the connections that make people and teams effective.
Figure 1: The Four C's of Onboarding
Bauer’s work is relevant today. The nature of work is changing. The top-down hierarchical business models do not move quickly enough to be competitive in today's’ business environment.
Figure 2 illustrates the difference between organizational structure and how work gets done.
How Social Platforms Improve Onboarding
The idea of the connected employee has become central to organizational design, and your onboarding program will need to adapt to the new reality. If your onboarding is still a short process focused on compliance, it may be time to up your game and expand your technology.
- Mobile Delivery. The ability to interact with people anytime and from anywhere has become a modern necessity. Tools like SAP JAM Mobile enable information and interaction on the go with their mobile-friendly capabilities.
- Collaboration Platforms. The most valuable addition to your onboarding technology is a networking and collaboration tool. Platforms like SAP JAM, Slack, and Microsoft Teams have taken online collaboration to a new level. Features such as SAP SuccessFactors Pre-Day 1 Access can accelerate a new employee’s assimilation, even before the first day of work.
- Continuous Performance Feedback. SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management is supporting the trend away from annual performance reviews to continuous feedback and development. Building from online collaboration tools, and often integrated with them, it facilitates continuous conversations between managers and employees.
- Continuous Learning. Integrating work with learning has become a must for new employees. Modern learning models like SAP SuccessFactors Learning Management System embed continuous learning in the systems where people work. It may be time to evaluation your learning delivery to make sure it delivers the right knowledge at the point and time of need.
Onboarding software by itself will not change your company culture, but if you are ready for a change, it will help you make it happen. It may be time to look at how you are doing.
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