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Keeping good employees in. How do you do that in a complex and overstressed labour market? Bastiaan Benjamins, HR manager at Infoland, explains how you succeed thanks to a well-thought-out onboarding process. He explains what it entails, how to approach it structurally and how to get new people landing well in your organisation today and tomorrow.

So onboarding is about landing someone within an organisation, department and function. This involves the new employee getting to know the people, the company and the processes. Bastiaan Benjamins says: “Both parties determine during the onboarding process whether they fit together. And you take the time for that. It’s like driving a car – you only learn it properly when you have a driving licence. You only get to know your new colleagues properly once they have started working and are doing kilometres with you.”

Really landing employees

According to Bastiaan, what employees need to land well in an organisation varies from person to person. Every company should ask itself what the basics are. Think about the company culture to department-specific instructions. It is okay if part of the onboarding process is customised, but that is far from always achievable.

Bastiaan: “Organisations, where dozens or even hundreds of people are hired at once every month, can logically provide less customisation. New employees often follow a collective onboarding process, where personal attention can be challenging. In smaller organisations, a personalised approach is possible, but there the chances are that managers take their own course.” Within a trajectory, there should also be guidelines, tools and directions for managers and executives. But always with room for individual needs and insights. “One person steps up to a colleague quickly, while another prefers not to or only later. As a manager, you can sense that very well,” Bastiaan states.

When an employee feels comfortable, and you as the employer or manager are satisfied, the onboarding is successful. Especially when someone is already working on personal goals and performing operationally in the first year.” 

Bastiaan Benjamins
HR manager at Infoland

For both large and smaller organisations, streamline the onboarding process and provide it with fixed anchor points. Make sure you actually take the steps you have planned. An employee mustn’t be let go too soon. In doing so, you need to ask yourself how you reach people during the onboarding, stimulate them and take them along step by step to let them learn and convey the DNA of your organisation.

Three stages of onboarding

You can let go of people and let them find their way. Bastiaan: “That happens in some organisations, and some employees like that. But most people prefer a well-designed onboarding.” This consists of three phases: preboarding, onboarding and postboarding.

  • With preboarding, you make your new employees feel good before they start. In this phase, you provide practical information about the first working day, working hours, parking and breaks.
  • Onboarding starts on the first day. As the employer, you make sure all practical matters are in order. Think workplace, computer and log-in codes. Then the step-by-step onboarding process starts with various measuring points. Each contact moment is an opportunity to get feedback on the process and is valuable for your organisation.
  • After a year, you and your employee have seen it all. Still having doubts? Then opt for even more customisation via post-boarding.

When is onboarding successful?

Whether the onboarding process is successful is not necessarily related to the length of a working relationship. After all, someone can work reluctantly for 10 years. The onboarding is successful when an employee feels comfortable and you as employer or manager are satisfied. Especially when someone is already working on personal goals and performing operationally in the first year, although that is not a requirement: there are trainee or management positions with other (intermediate) goals, for example.

In addition, onboarding is successful if the process is embedded within your organisation and if managers and your colleagues take responsibility for inducting and supporting new colleagues.

What happens if you don’t handle onboarding properly?

  • Lack of attachment to a new employer. In post-covid times, this is a real risk when many people work from home.
  • The performance of a (new) employee falls short of either the person’s or the organisation’s expectations, leading to frustration.
  • Quiet quitting (employees focusing on ‘doing what they need to do’ and carrying out only the primary responsibilities of their job, this TikTok trend became popular among young people in 2022).

Trends and developments

According to Bastiaan, what are the most notable onboarding trends of the moment?

  1. Organisations increasingly claim to have an onboarding programme because they see its added value. You then have to deliver on that promise. If that is disappointing, it affects a new employee’s motivation.
  2. Younger generations of applicants today are asking questions about the onboarding process in place. They expect mutual commitment. Onboarding is an example of that. If your organisation has something to offer in that area, it is an incentive for candidates to choose your organisation.
  3. The number of digital opportunities to organise onboarding is increasing. They are used, for instance, to get acquainted with a new employer or to let relatively new employees take a test after a few months to see how onboarding is progressing. You can share videos and other content through software and apps, for example, to increase engagement and prepare new employees.

Also, think online

Onboarding is a long and intensive process. Organisation, manager, employee: everyone has an important part to play. As an organisation, how do you ensure that everyone gets enough attention and knows exactly what they must do or what is expected in that process? Bastiaan: “New employees need to acquire much knowledge. How do you connect (new) colleagues? How do you get people to share and discuss knowledge? How do you reach large numbers of new employees? Of course, this is done through meetings, working groups and consultations. Face-to-face because meeting each other should not be underestimated. But the process can also get a huge boost online.

Infoland’s software, Zenya, allows you to secure the onboarding process. Bastiaan explains: “We have recently added a new module, Zenya BOOST, to our software suite. You can use this software package to strengthen your onboarding in Zenya. You can set up a campaign to reach a large group of new employees in one go. This is useful for large organisations, for example. With BOOST, you can alternate interactive content within a campaign, keeping the onboarding process interesting for different generations of employees, such as Gen Z’ers. They like interactive, personal and digital onboarding, including videos. You always choose the content that sticks best. In addition, the chat function allows people to get to know each other quickly, and the group feeling grows.”

Not only new colleagues should be included. Don’t forget managers and colleagues! If, as an organisation, you know how you want to approach onboarding, you can translate that into a campaign for new employees and a campaign for managers with software such as Zenya BOOST. This way, you successfully secure and structure the continuous guidance of new employees.

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Want to know more about Zenya BOOST?

Read all about it on the Zenya BOOST page. On this page, you can also request a free demo.