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This is a guest post by Thomas Van Rees Vellinga from Appical.

 Many organizations increasingly recognize that onboarding should not simply be the responsibility of an intern or trainee, but a top c-suite priority given its ability to significantly impact strategic initiatives and the bottom line.


So what is successful onboarding?

In their book, Successful Onboarding (2010, McGraw Hill), Kaiser Associates defines successful onboarding as a systemic and design-driven approach to integrate new hires into an organization with great positive impact.

Successful Onboarding is also strategic onboarding as it is an improved compact between the new hire and the enterprise that has far greater value – a commitment to give each other the best they have to offer. It is a process by which a workforce is reconstituted, excited and enrolled to align with the firm’s particular business strategy. The outcome creates competitive advantage and results in a far more rewarding picture for all stakeholders.


What steps can you take today to create a successful Onboarding program? We believe Onboarding transformations are best executed following these 5 steps:

1. Take a scan of your organization’s As-is Onboarding approach

We have seen that high performing organizations with best-in-class onboarding programs improve their onboarding initiatives continuously.

Mobile and video technology can help optimize your existing onboarding program. You can also provide your colleagues with a mobile innovation kitchen, a great and fun way to capture feedback and ideas. Send out a mobile app to tease your employees that something new is coming and they are part of it!

Tip! Kaiser Associates now offers an Onboarding Maturity Assessment that helps organizations understand where they fall on the Onboarding Maturity curve and steps they can take today to improve the maturity of their programs. To learn more about this assessment, visit Kaiserswebsite 

2. Gather a winning team from various organization areas and share the initiative internally.

Usually these teams include 5-6 colleagues from various disciplines such as recruitment, (internal) communication and HR. Also, it is important to appoint a responsible project manager who can drive the success behind it and make sure the onboarding program can be improved in less than a month.

3. Design the Employee journey and define KPI’s

From your internal analysis you have already been identifying the gaps in your existing efforts and most importantly, defined an ambition for the future. Organize a workshop to design the employee journey from recruiting until the end of the first year. Did you know that it usually takes 8 – 14 months for a new hire to become fully productive?

Also, talk about the impact you want to create, the KPI’s you want to track and your business case.

Make it as concrete as possible by drawing examples, including photos, and creating mind maps to capture anything. Watch videos together about companies who are dealing with talent in a distinctive way. Visit other companies to see what they are doing in this field.

Tip! Break it down in small steps and keep the end goal in mind: What is the story you want your new hires to tell in the bar on Friday night?

4. Lastly, experiment by starting small

Select a group of employees to test drive your onboarding initiative and experiment with new employees that recently joined the company. They can provider great insights on what can be improved and their feedback will definitely accelerate the design process of the program.

5. Review on a regular basis

Organizations are ecosystems that regularly evolve and change. Review the program together with colleagues from other departments and countries by an agile improvement team. The team is able to think about new ideas and foster new energy for innovation.


Join the movement – Onboarding Strategy webinar

Strategic onboarding is much more than just aligning HR and recruitment. If carried out the right way, your colleagues will experience it as a great team effort fueled with energy that will impact your company for years to come. Before you know it, everyone will want to join the movement!

appicalOn October 22nd Kaiser Associates and Appical will organize a webinar on HR.com.Register here for free to learn more on how AON has implemented a global onboarding program.