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How to improve the onboarding process

It was as though I was the first person to ever walk in that door and require help getting started.

Onboarding Process

Hi, my name is Martin Shub and I've worked at over a 100 different companies as a consultant technical writer. In the past two years I've commenced work at 5, that is 5 different organisations. And the reason I am writing this article is not once did I have a satisfactory onboarding experience. What I do know is that the apps that live on your phone give you a better onboarding experience than you get walking in to an office on the first day of work.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding helps you get settled in to a new workplace. It addresses all the obvious questions any new starter would ask without them having to go and get the information ad hoc off the floor. It helps you get your computer setup properly, in getting you connected to the printer, in organising your access pass to the building, and orientates you with the people you will be working with while you are on the project. It will also give you the information you need about policy that might affect you such as OH&S, internet/email usage policy and introduces you to important policy that you should be aware of before you begin work.
What makes onboarding more important than ever before is the large scale move to working from home. Work from Home is likely to be with us for a long time as workplaces align to government requirements in this age of the covid virus. But equally influential is the attitude of employees who have been able to avoid the commmute to work and the distractions of the workplace.
A number of people are starting a new job and don't even get to physically meet their colleagues for weeks or months, their only interaction is via Teams or Zoom online meetings. Once again, the Induction should introduce the new employee to their team.

Just as importantly, your Onboarding should also describe which network drives and folders have information that you'll be looking for in the course of your project and how to print fronm your workplace laptop to either your home printer or your workplace computer.

Why is onboarding important?

Onboarding helps you get productive with your work faster than muddling through the first days or weeks in a new role. It is also better for those around you who would otherwise be the target of questions like "how do i connect to the printer?".

When working as an IT contractor there are a million things you want to know - maybe 10 that you have to know. Left to your own devices you may or may not get the correct information. And most importantly, part of the onboarding session will let your team know why you are here and what you are delivering. A really good onboarding session will also ask them to help you by accepting or at least finding a suitable time for the first meeting invitation. Because, unless you come in as a senior manager, teams will typically ignore meeting invitations. That is why it is most important that your manager emphasises your tasks and asks for the support of the team.

Write an effective Onboarding script

So, it goes without saying, that the Onboarding experience is vital for new employees to get up to speed with their new workplace. This includes, how to setup your work laptop to work with both your home and work wifi and printers. If you are asked to write or contribute to the Onboarding script give it real thought, and test it thoroughly. If you are commissioning a writer or team to producde the Onboarding script make sure that the HR people are in the loop so that it can be made a mandatory step when welcoming new employees.

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