Last Updated on November 25, 2021 – 12:40 pm

The onboarding process begins as soon as a candidate is hired. It is a way of saying welcome to your employees and making them feel they are valued in your company. From giving access to the company’s online onboarding portal as soon as they receive the job offer to receiving a friendly note and a copy of your employee handbook, onboarding is a process that can take many forms. Onboarding researchers Norma Davilla and Wanda Pina-Ramirez define employee onboarding as “the process through which companies engage new employees or new-to-role employees in the company’s culture and with their role. This process is designed to ease the movement of employees through the organizational threshold to become productive contributors and team members in the least possible time”. 

Onboarding is the key to retention. Gallup finds that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees., 

A successful onboarding means the candidate adapts to her role, knows what is expected of her; a poor onboarding, on the other hand, results in a decrease in the employee’s motivation and even may lead to losing the new hire. 

Five Cs of Onboarding

Five Cs of onboarding is a memory tool that is used to include five critical areas in a successful onboarding process. These are compliance, clarification, culture, connection, and check back. Traditionally, it was the first four Cs (as described by famous onboarding researcher Dr. Talya Bauer from the SHRM Foundation) but recently, “check back” joined the Cs as another significant onboarding level. Let’s have a look at each C one by one.

#1 – Compliance 

Compliance refers to the backbone or the lowest level of the onboarding process. It is about informing employees about benefits, rules, and regulations within your working environment. SHRM identifies compliance as “at this level, HR teaches new employees about legal and policy-related issues.” It also covers filling out all the necessary paperwork and getting access to company-related accounts.

#2 – Clarification

According to SHRM, HR makes sure that new employees understand their unique role, along with expectations. These expectations can also be the upcoming project in which they will be involved and how they will perform their roles.

#3 – Culture

Culture corresponds to the norms within an organization. It can be giving them a tour of the company and its facilities, describing how things work, explaining their role and how they fit in within the organization.

#4 – Connection

Arguably the most important of the Cs, it refers to how a new employee develops a relationships with other co-workers and begins to feel like a part of the team. From formal meetings in which each co-worker explains what he does to less formal activities such as going to a lunch or a company event together, connection (or sometimes called socialization) can be attained through various events. Assigning a mentor or a buddy who can answer the new hire’s questions and provide peer-to-peer support is also an essential part of the connection. 

#5 – Check-back

Follow-ups or check-backs are other components of the onboarding process. It is essential that regular and scheduled follow-ups should be added to the onboarding process. The most effective onboarding activities take place over some time with regularly scheduled follow-ups and check backs that provide various opportunities to support the employee when needed.

The Cs are distributed among the general and role-specific components of the onboarding. General onboarding introduces the employee to the company’s culture (how things are done) regarding the less of position. “For instance, the company’s history, vision, mission, and values, as well as overall policies, procedures, and dos and don’ts, are relevant to everyone. Specialized training sessions required for all employees, such as completing human resources transactions or filling out a timesheet, are also part of general onboarding. This component of the process establishes the ground rules to engage newcomers with the workplace.” Role-specific onboarding, on the other hand, is a tailored process for each role in the company because it “seeks assimilation of the new or new-to-role employee into the nuances of the department’s or unit’s culture. This component helps the employees acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to master the role effectively and efficiently and feel at ease performing at the expected levels in the shortest possible timeframe.”

Checklists for the Onboarding Process

An onboarding checklist lists the criteria to consider for a successful onboarding process, and it also provides the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Each company’s checklists will differ from each other in one way or another, and specific checklists can be created for some particular roles. An onboarding checklist will vary in length depending on the role and whether it entails the general or the role-specific components of the onboarding process. Still, it covers everything from orientation to the complete adaptation to the new position. It is a great way to organize the process step-by-step and ensure successful completion. To make a checklist, you can start by making notes on the most critical aspects of your “general onboarding,” such as specific details of pre-boarding within your company, the list of equipment they may need, and the paperwork they need to fill in. Also, it should have details of the role-specific parts in order for the new hire to successfully adapt to their role. As a rule of thumb, the onboarding checklist includes the recruitment process, orientation, introduction of the role, necessary training for the role, goals of the employee, introduction to the company culture, assigning a mentorship, or choosing a buddy. 

For a sample checklist, click here.

You can also automate the whole onboarding process, including not just the Cs but the necessary managerial involvement through a next-generation app-Journey and use Journey’s “successful onboarding in 90 days program”.

For scheduling a 30-min demo, please click here.

According to Alex Weisberg, “whether or not onboarding is successful essentially boils down to two main areas. First, it is imperative to select the right employee who can perform the job functions, who fit the company culture, and who is motivated to become integrated within the organization. Second, it depends on The C’s, where the new employee understands their role, has confidence in their ability to do their role, understands the company’s culture, and becomes socially integrated into the organization. Planning the whole process and dividing it into well-defined steps ensure success. Success in onboarding means a healthy future for the company and happier, more productive employees.

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