Helping new employees find their place in the organization is more than a simple introduction to the workplace. Onboarding is mainly about the culture, the vision and mission of the organization, structure and collaboration with colleagues. It is essential for a new colleague to understand the organization and what it stands for.
By properly guiding new employees into the organization, they are faster productive, they feel more involved and they quit less likely.
Knowing who you are, helps to make the right choices along the way.
New hires are quite an investment. It takes a while for them to work at full steam. Your goal is therefore to ensure that the employee feels at home in the organization as soon as possible and can therefore contribute more quickly. And feeling at home means that the person needs to know, understand and share your vision, mission and values.
When onboarding is well organized, new employees fall in love with their job. And of course your organization needs employees who are fully involved; then they are passionate about their work and feel strongly connected to the culture and values of their company. Thus, make sure that you have thought about the start of a new colleague in advance.
Advice for a successful onboarding process
It is important that the new employee familiarizes himself with all kinds of different things. What is the role of the new employee? What are the basic rules that everyone must adhere to? What is the organizational culture? We use these four pillars for an effective onboarding process: Purpose – Autonomy – Mastery – Belonging. Properly applied, it ensures the complete integration of new employees into the organization.
The new employee…
- is familiar with the strategy, can explain it and understands own role in it (purpose).
- understands own role, duties and responsibilities. Plus the relationship with colleagues, and what can still be developed to fully assume the role (autonomy).
- can apply the basis of our working method independently and is familiar with all systems and tools (mastery).
- sees self as part of the team, gives and receives feedback, takes initiative (belonging).
Make mission, vision and core values visible together
Just naming a few core values is of course not enough. Do your values actually still correspond with the daily practice and your strategy? In that way, an onboarding process is also a valuable check for yourself: is it actually true what we promise? And can we explain this clearly? If you discuss the strategy and core values with each other, and also check them regularly, this ensures greater clarity for everyone and results in trust and action.
Our idea? Make your story concrete and visual, hang it on the wall – preferably in a place that everyone can see. This ensures that it belongs to everyone and is better lived by. But creating the (onboarding) strategy together is worth the most. We don’t think it works to just send a list of five core values. We absolutely believe in co-creation.
That is why we organize sessions with all employees and together ensure that the sometimes abstract terms really come to life. A teacher from a school with whom we developed an education plan together said: “When I see this hanging in the hallway every day, it reminds me that we as a school really stand for this. It also makes me proud, because we have came up with this as a team and this is really ours!”
Conversation tools and games
Thanks to tools and games, the core values become part of your day-to-day. Games have great activation power. We always include a lot of interaction in our sessions, by using many different methods. We develop, for example, a card set that is suitable for an organization which contains issues that are relevant in their environment. Or an interactive roadmap, in which employees can plot their own development. And let’s face it, everyone wants to play a bingo card, isn’t it?
And... how does Flatland do this?
We ourselves have grown considerably in recent years and discovered how valuable a good onboarding process is. Colleague Guy de Hoop recently started working at Flatland, below you can see an illustration of his first week. On the left you see an onboarding plan of the first week, on the right how Guy experienced it all. His drawing was used to reflect about his week, and share with the team. And Flatland wouldn’t be Flatland if we didn’t make all of that visual.
An introductory period is intensive, both for the new employee and for the colleagues involved. So we also build in a lot of time for reflection and coffee with colleagues from the same team or with the same role. We work with a mentor (someone with a lot of experience in the same position) and a buddy (someone from another team, for light-hearted and social conversations). And the bingo card comes along regularly, with which we playfully inspire new people to take the initiative.
We are working hard on it, but our onboarding is certainly not perfect yet. We are always looking for improvements and are of course also happy to do that for you. Would you like to brainstorm about your onboarding process? Do not hesitate to get in touch.
Managing partner Willem Minderhoud is an experienced visual consultant and responsible for HR at Flatland. Send Willem a message if you’d like to share ideas.Email Willem
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