Written by Natalia Kawana
How do you react to change? Starting something new can be terrifying. You don’t know what to expect, you may feel that you have no control over what’s going to happen, you get out of your comfort zone. Some people truly dislike, or even hate, going through changes. They are, however, an integral part of our lives.
When it comes to your professional life, you can’t always resist change. Sometimes you need to change jobs. Sometimes the job processes you are required to master change. Sometimes you want a new challenge. Or simply, your organization changes in such a way that you have to follow suit. And given that we spend a great amount of time working, our jobs impact our lives deeply, and any change at work can end up being very significant to how we feel in general.
In this scenario, changes which impact people and how they react are extremely important for employers as well. Companies have to handle the challenges of finding new people, getting them onboard, introducing current employees to new processes and keeping employees, new and experienced, motivated all the way. Here, a big question remains: how to make sure that handling changes becomes a positive experience for both employees and employers?
All the evidence suggests that providing a thoughtful onboarding is key in this.
We all have heard about onboarding, but what do we mean here? The word onboarding means getting started, literally getting on board. It suggests embarking a ship which is already moving and being able to go with the flow. New employees have to onboard their company – they need to integrate with the new environment, but they should also be able to become productive as soon as possible. Onboarding is often also used with new technologies, such as software – employees need to understand and perform when using these digital resources, as quickly as possible.
Just by reflecting upon the meaning of the very word onboarding, it is not hard to imagine how important it can be when changes come about in the workplace. But there is also some data to support this claim. According to Urban Bound, who are specialists in providing relocation management technologies, a thoughtful onboarding can help companies retain employees and guarantee higher productivity rates. Actually in quite dramatic rates: “Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity, along with 50% greater new hire retention.” In their full article, they explain how a thoughtful onboarding also leads to higher employee loyalty, as employees who have been properly onboarded stay in the job for longer. Check the full article here.
Another question remains. What does a thoughtful onboarding entail? Of course there is no official definition for “thoughtful” here. But the point is that the process of onboarding can play a crucial role in change management, and therefore it can’t just be neglected or forgotten by the employer. Thinking of how to integrate employees, new hires and seniors alike, into a new environment (be it at the whole company level or merely at the process level) really makes a difference on how they will handle change. And this will impact the whole company as well.
Think about situations where you were left alone to decipher many new things, to adapt, understand and integrate with your surroundings, apart from handling your own discomfort as well. Had you had any kind of help, even just sympathetic questions such as “how do you feel at your new job?”, would’ve made a huge difference. The same is true for every kind of onboarding. We’re all people, and we want to know that somebody cares about us, about our process of adaptation and about how we manage uncomfortable situations. Knowing that someone, or a company, is thinking about this will give us valuable support to handle change and discomfort, and will help us succeed.
Onboarding, thus, has to be people-centric. In any matter. At all levels: the company’s, the resource, and even just at the process level. It should involve careful planning and be under constant review, having a feedback system in place and aiming to improve everyone’s change management at all levels. Because things always change, but one thing should never change: people are a company’s most important asset.
Who are we? We’re here to help people master digital technologies, and we can be an important ally in the onboarding and training on new software.