Best Practices for Strategic Onboarding and Employee Transitions

When an employee joins your organization, a journey begins that includes more than just day one. The employee journey goes well beyond completing new hire forms and orientation. It often lasts throughout the first year. And strategic onboarding includes all of the transitions – or touchpoints – where you want to activate your employees to engage positively with your brand. These include employee transitions such as transfers, promotions, mergers and acquisitions, ex-pat working abroad, company location moves and even offboarding. It kicks off with onboarding but really extends throughout the whole employee lifecycle.

Strategic onboarding results in a great employee experience at all these stages that keeps employees motivated and committed. To get started, check out these basics:

Articulate Your Culture

To explain culture to a new hire, your organization needs to understand and articulate it. Take the lead with your management team to identify values, characteristics and the true north mission. Whenever possible, new employees should be exposed to positive team members who are excited about the company and its purpose. That also means remaining keenly aware of any pervasive negativity and its potential impact on new hires. While you can't control everything, you can start with putting the right HR staff out in front. The attitudes of those involved in the onboarding program are critical to its success.

Profile New Hires

Next, consider how the logistics of your program will work in the real world. Start by profiling your new hire population. For instance, a series of in-person gatherings is not the best choice for a high percent of telecommuters or multiple locations, such as in retail or banking. For Millennials, a technology-based approach offers a strong appeal. The bottom line is that one-size-fits-all programs don't usually work. So while some consistency and standard information is important, each new hire is different and requires a semi-customized approach.

Monitor Exit Feedback

Look at exit interviews from a variety of departments and levels, especially those who lost new hires after less than a year of employment. What challenges did new hires cite as being insurmountable and how can you address them in your onboarding initiative? On the flip side, learn from your successful new hires and ask what worked and didn't work for them. Onboarding requires ongoing attention, beyond the one-time 30-minute presentation.

Assign a Project Manager

Create the job of project manager to keep track of onboarding checklists, milestones and overall progress. New employees will appreciate the attention and care, but there’s another advantage. By partnering with hiring managers on long-term new hire success, you can showcase HR’s value as a strategic player.

Think Beyond New Hires

Onboarding can play a vital role throughout the employee lifecycle. A truly strategic program goes beyond one and done. It creates a consistent, branded experience for any new roles or responsibility changes, including transfers, expats, promotions and moves. Onboarding serves as an essential way to engage employees at every phase and transition in the work world.

To learn more, explore this SlideShare: Socialization Tactics for New Employee

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