In my close to two decades of professional experience, I have been part of multiple organizations and have seen enough onboarding processes. But in all the cases, the experience has been more or less the same.
Let me share a typical onboarding experience I have faced in my career.
Once I had cleared all the interviews and my selection for the role was confirmed, HR would ask for several documents from my end for background verification and offer generation. Post the offer acceptance from my end a joining date would be mutually agreed upon. There usually used to be a gap from offer acceptance to actual joining date.
On the day of joining, when I would go to the office, the security would not have any information about my joining. I would be required to fill several details in a register to get a temporary ID for access. Many a times, I have also experienced that the HR executive who was interacting with me and was to be my Point of Contact for onboarding was on leave or was stuck in traffic or was in a meeting and I would be made to wait till they were free. Once free, the HR executive would come over to meet and greet me and would hand over another set of forms to be filled. Most of the times, the information expected to be filled in would never have been communicated in advance and it would be a guessing game. You would go prepared with all types of certificates and past employment documents at your disposal, hoping that would suffice. Many a times, I have experienced situations where I was asked to submit documents on my first day that were essentially the same ones I had already shared with them before the offer generation or background verification.
After all these formalities were completed, the HR executive would take me to my reporting manager, who would again be busy and I would end up waiting. Once my manager was free and we would finish the introductions and pleasantries, he/she would introduce me to the team. Post this, many a times, I would find that no seating or system was yet allocated for me, and the whole day would be spend just waiting for the same.
This has more or less been my experience across most of the organizations I worked for in the past. I would always wish and hope that organizations would invest a bit more time and effort in ensuring they give a pleasant onboarding experience to new employees. This not only helps improve the Organization’s branding, it would also ensure the employees would be productive from day one.
If I were to detail out a sequence of steps to ensure a better onboarding process and employee experience, I would first and foremost have the HR draft an onboarding policy and create a checklist of onboarding activities. It should be a comprehensive one to include all stakeholders like facilities, IT infrastructure, security, reporting manager & teams, and most importantly the HR executive who was involved during the recruitment. Second, I for each newly joining employee, I would have all the respective stake holders prepare and complete their respective allocated tasks before the joining date. The joining formalities thus would be smooth and effortless. Some fun element can also be added, maybe a small welcome party with the team.
Digitizing and automating the whole onboarding process helps in streamlining workflows internally and also creates a significant impact on the new employee. The digital onboarding system can be used to manage profiles of the candidates prior joining, allow submission of documents digitally, create & allocate tasks and track completion. If the organization can streamline and automate most of these tasks, then it can give an exciting and productive 1st day experience for new joinees.