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Onboarding – more than just orientation

It often happens that the onboarding process is reduced to a simple orientation and introduction to the company, when in reality it could and should be so much more. What onboarding should be taking into account are, in fact, two things: the employee’s heart and the employee’s mind.

Let’s talk about the mind first.

This is where all the information comes pouring in: when a new recruit enters the company, there are so many things that need to be defined and explained to them as clearly as possible: their role and responsibilities, objectives, expectations and performance criteria, the tasks and projects, processes and policies; there’s paperwork to be done, tools, names, and places to be memorized… Onboarding can range from a couple days of getting quickly acquainted with the company history and work industry, to going through months of relevant technical and soft skills training. If not done right, this can all get a bit overwhelming and easy to get lost in.

Then there’s the heart.

There’s a lot of excitement and fear in equal measures when first stepping onto unfamiliar grounds such as the new workplace. The company’s job here is to keep the excitement going, as well as to put the employee’s fears to rest. It’s about quickly fostering a sense of belonging and commitment, making sure the employee connects with the company culture (what truly drives the company: its vision, mission, and values) and is well-integrated in its social tapestry. This is where initiatives such as the buddy or mentorship system, lunches with co-workers, and welcome packages prove to be very helpful. Good onboarding does not start on the first workday – it starts as soon as the new hire signs the contract and starts filling in paperwork. Also, it does not end within the first few workdays, weeks, or months even. SHRM estimates that nearly one third of all new hires quit their jobs within the first seven months, so if done right, onboarding plays a key role in employee retention as well. To paint a metaphor: onboarding should not just be a honeymoon phase followed by an abrupt divorce – we want people to be in it for the long-haul and jump into excelling in their new roles. Some other important benefits of properly done onboarding are as follows:


Bottom-line: this is a lot to think about on the HR’s side, too.

To make sure all the details are taken care of, and things are done in a systematical and timely manner, luckily nowadays we have digital tools that can support the company in keeping track of the whole onboarding process so that no steps are skipped and nothing is amiss. To help us truly focus on what matters, certain technical processes (such as welcoming emails, documentation and administration, distribution of handbooks and other online company material, etc.) can be automated, and the load taken off your hands. Not to mention that the pandemic has taken digital onboarding to a whole new level and made it a necessity.

There are many benefits to digital onboarding: it can reduce time and costs as it requires less in-person meetings and in-paper material; it ensures consistency so that all new hires go through the exact same process and get the most current version of policies and forms; it makes sure that new employees get acquainted with company policies and go through all the legal necessities at their own pace before they even step foot in the office, so they can start working sooner and building relationships with their coworkers, instead of spending their entire first days filling out paperwork and watching PowerPoint presentations.

To sums things up: to achieve successful onboarding and truly reap its benefits, a wholistic approach is needed, in which we aim to get employees fully committed with both their hearts and minds. This is where digital tools can come in handy: to bring down the information overload and leave more space for dealing with matters on the human side of things.

With ItemsPeople, you get a comprehensive digital onboarding solution that allows you to start your pre-boarding the moment the offer is on the table. The software has many attractive and relevant features such as automatized and customizable welcome emails (both informative ones explaining company benefits, rules and policies, and culture-integrative ones on formal and informal aspects of company culture), as well as advanced pay-for features of the system that allow the administrator to schedule onboarding activities for the new hire, whether it’s meetings or training, in an easy-to-read and easy-to-track format.

If you wish to upgrade your onboarding process to a whole new level and want to get support from experienced consultants and trainers in developing your own soft-skill onboarding training for employees, feel free to contact our partners at ITO United Change at