Article: Transforming onboarding: Boosting productivity and engagement

Employee Engagement

Transforming onboarding: Boosting productivity and engagement

Effective employee onboarding goes beyond basic introductions, focusing on personalised introductions, mentoring, clear expectations, and comprehensive feedback to enhance productivity and engagement.
Transforming onboarding: Boosting productivity and engagement

Employee onboarding can significantly enhance productivity. Unfortunately, many organisations treat onboarding mechanically, merely as a process to introduce the organisation, provide a basic overview, explain job requirements, and introduce different stakeholders with minimal customisation. Sometimes, employees are placed on the job on day one with only a cursory introduction, which does not set them up for success. In today’s performance-oriented and highly dynamic world, organisations will survive and flourish only if employees meet the organisation’s expectations. Therefore, it is important due importance and thoughtful consideration to employee onboarding at every level. A one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work. 

Here are key elements that must be considered for an effective onboarding process:

Making employees feel welcome

The primary objective of effective employee onboarding is to make new hires feel welcome and comfortable. Introducing them warmly to the team is essential, ensuring a personal and friendly approach. Mechanical onboarding processes often fail to achieve this, missing the mark on creating a positive first impression, which is crucial and long-lasting. Winning an employee's mind starts with winning their heart. Therefore, a warm welcome that makes new employees feel valued and at ease within the company's ecosystem is immensely beneficial.

Assigning a mentor

Assigning a well-chosen mentor for 3 to 6 months is highly beneficial, as it provides employees with a reliable point of contact for guidance and support. Employees may hesitate to approach their managers with minor concerns or dilemmas to avoid creating a negative impression. Therefore, selecting a mentor with credibility, authenticity, and a genuine desire to help is crucial. A poorly chosen mentor can be counterproductive and send the wrong message to the employee, undermining the purpose of mentorship. 

Providing a proper introduction to the organisation

Providing new employees with a comprehensive overview of the organisation, including its culture and key dos and don’ts, is essential. These guidelines should encompass performance expectations, cultural norms, attitudes, and behaviours. Given that each organisation has a unique culture and mindset, it is crucial to introduce new hires to important stakeholders and successful employees who can share their perspectives and experiences.

Addressing psychological factors beyond work is also vital, as successful employees are often well-liked and respected. Their passion and focus can be highly motivating, creating a positive and inspiring environment for the new employee.

 Setting expectations

For optimal productivity, the boss must do a timely expectation setting. Though all organisations expect the employee to perform well, sometimes expectations are not properly laid out or are left vague. I have often come across candidates perceiving their performance to be very good, while the boss's perspective is the opposite. This happens when priorities are mismatched, with both perceiving them differently. It is prudent to determine Key Result Areas (KRAs) at the earliest and have them signed off. Expectations on the job, KRAs, as well as behaviour and culture, should be properly articulated to the new employee. Proper articulation and spelling out expectations at the earliest, ideally within 45 days of an employee joining an organisation, will yield good results. This should be communicated both in writing and verbally to the employee. 

Implementing a feedback mechanism

It helps to share proper feedback with the employee before they form an opinion, both on behaviour and work-related matters. Weekly or fortnightly short feedback sessions go a long way in allaying the employee's apprehensions and setting them up for success. Feedback should be given on a one-to-one basis, allowing the employee to share their perspective as well. This feedback must cover all aspects, including performance, behaviour, attitude, and priorities. 


Since every employee is unique, companies often fail to adequately customise the induction process for each individual. Greater satisfaction can be achieved when organisations, instead of relying on a standard template, tailor the induction to benefit the employee by strategising, engaging in dialogue, and considering their input. Recognising that everyone has different perspectives and desires, customisation fosters a sense of importance and belonging in new hires.

It is essential to remember that employees join an organisation to succeed, just as organisations aim for their employees' success. However, the necessary steps to ensure this success are not always taken. A thoughtfully customised induction process, designed to engage both the heart and mind of the employee, significantly enhances their ability to succeed and enables them to integrate more swiftly. First impressions are crucial, and a well-executed onboarding process energises and motivates new employees, setting them up for long-term success.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Assistance Programs, Life @ Work, #PracticalTips, #HRCommunity

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