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One of the latest management buzzwords is “onboarding”, a term which is cropping up in more and more job adverts. If you’re applying for a new position and have heard that the company will be onboarding new workers, what exactly should you expect from that process? Employee onboarding is a term which describes everything a company does to introduce newly hired workers to an organisation. The idea is to introduce workers to their roles, positions within the team and organisation, or to give insights into the company culture. Studies have shown that an effective onboarding process brings long-term benefits for businesses, such as greater productivity, and better employee retention.

The onboarding process usually takes place after you have actually started work but can also be used to describe the pre-employment checks into references or identity verification which companies do before employment starts.

Evolution of Onboarding in Recent Years

Before 2020, onboarding usually involved new employees physically travelling into the office. They would then have face-to-face introductions, social gatherings, and do any compulsory training sessions. During the pandemic, and to some extent even after restrictions had lifted, onboarding moved online. Nowadays, most companies do a mixture of both methods with in-person introductions to other members of their immediate team, and online training or meetings with other people in different locations.

Impact on Staff Training of Onboarding

Digital training became essential during the pandemic, as nobody was allowed into the office to complete group training sessions in person. As flexible and hybrid working becomes the norm, most companies are still doing a mix of face-to-face training in groups, e-learning and online conference calls to train their new employees. Learning online can be difficult for many workers, and this has meant that many employers are breaking down their onboarding training into smaller, manageable chunks.

Best Practice for Onboarding

There has been lots of advice and research into the best ways of introducing an employee to their new employer and if you’re about to undergo this sort of onboarding process with a new employer, here are some of the things you might expect to encounter:

  • Onboarding Buddies – many companies are allocating each new starter a current employee as a “buddy”, who is there to act as a point of contact to answer any questions which the new starter might have about their role, or the company.
  • Informal communication – it has also been shown that the social side of joining a new company is as important as the work training. Many companies offer virtual coffee mornings, chatrooms, or social media sites to help their workers get to know each other, something which is particularly important when people are working remotely.
  • Regular check-ups – people working remotely can feel isolated, especially when joining a large organisation. Most companies will make a point of setting up regular one to one meetings between new starters and their managers, to give them a chance to raise any concerns or just to discuss how things are going.