14 May 2020

Is inboarding the new onboarding?

Last week we held the first session of our HR expert knowledge sharing club Beyond Digital. This select group of ambitious, innovative HR leaders comes together in our intimate digital format to share insights on and experiences with the important issues in HR and digital today.

Interested in joining this free club? Get more information by signing up!

With the current COVID crisis affecting the workplace and essentially all traditional HR processes, there was a lot to discuss in our first meeting. We focused on just one topic: onboarding vs. onboarding.

There were several important takeaways:


Involve the direct manager’s commitment for a successful outcome

There is no doubt about the importance of onboarding: 34% of new hires decide in the very first week at their new employer if they want to stay for the long run or not, and there can be a 1 in 5 chance that a new employee will not stay longer than 45 days. If we say that onboarding is therefore important in retaining talent, then the question remains: Who is responsible for organizing this?

In too many cases people look to HR to provide the whole process from A to Z. The best balance however is the one where the HR department organizes the conditions in which the team leader or direct manager is committed to making the onboarding successful.

Harness the power of peers

Another important but sometimes over looked tip: bring people together on their first day! Let them meet with all different departments. Let them know where they can pose their questions. And yes, give them a buddy! It may seem silly, it is a key element in making sure people feel safe and looked after. Making these connections and relationships on day one hugely affects a new employee's level of comfort. This is especially important in remote-work conditions, where new hires won't organically be meeting new coworkers in the hallways and break room.


Develop a dedicated feedback plan for every step in the employee’s career

Inboarding: this recent entrant into the HR lexicon represents a possible future philosophy in the workplace, and a response to the war for talent. Inboarding represents the actions taken when it comes to internal transfers between departments or a new position or role within the same company. These actions may be in the form of hard skill training, but also soft skill or emotional support. For example, if someone on a team is promoted to being that team’s manager, he or she will find themselves in a new form of relationship with their former peers. It’s important to always give the right support in every stage of your employee’s career.

In the current situation in particular, inboarding is even more important while working remotely to not lose touch with your employees and colleagues. Regular check-ins via phone, video, or app are the perfect accelerators.

Common mistakes in onboarding and inboarding

At Ariad, we provide digital marketing experts to our clients for both internal and external positions. However, we want to share one very important tip: Don't make a distinction between these two! This may sound weird but it is true. Think about how few external employees get the same onboarding as a permanent employee.

We all know that many of these external employees often stay for very long periods at a company--several years sometimes. If you think of your employees as ambassadors of your company (which you should!), have you considered the fact that the external employees are maybe even greater ones? By nature of their work and employment, they circulate more in the job market and thus touch a wider network.

Consider your entire workforce as one

Far too often their email address is not set up when they start, they have to use their own computer for a while, and there is no regular check-in for their development. It’s true that many times these employees join a team quickly in order to take on a new project, but it offers a big-impact welcome to have in place a basic protocol of onboarding and connecting with these employees--and can really make you stand out as an employer.

Measure the onboarding process

Do you have defined KPIs for your onboarding process, just as you do for your turnover or marketing efforts? In terms of onboarding both internal and external employees, this can be crucial. Not setting and tracking onboarding KPIs is a huge missed ROI. When you start, you will be surprised at the amount of budget that could be transferred and invested from hiring to development.

In Beyond Digital HR last week, members shared examples of successes and challenges they’re personally experienced with these topics. The members of the group always chose the topics to discuss each month. For our next sessions, offboarding and employer branding were the two topics where we wanted to dive in deeper. Do you have the right knowledge or experience to share as a subject or field expert? Let us know if you’re interested in joining the conversation! Sign up for more information here.