When is the right time to introduce a digital onboarding program?
We get contacted by startups, scaleups and SME’s all the time, because they have reached a size where they realize they need a digital onboarding program. Some experience the need as a result of change: They suddenly face a rapid increase in their number of employees, some have a high turnover and some just never got around to setting up one.
Back in 2018 we scaled from 3 to 11 employees at the office in Hvidovre, Copenhagen and our internal onboarding programs were key in welcoming new employees, sharing our values and also integrating them within the company culture. They also proved useful in helping us and new hires identify value clashes, allowing one or both parties the opportunity to end the relationship early in the onboarding process.
When is the right time to introduce an onboarding
program in my company or department?
Building a great digital onboarding program is an investment, and you may be wondering, when is the right time to introduce an onboarding program in my company or department? Based on our own experiences and that of our clients, we have listed some scenarios in which it may be time for you to build and introduce your digital onboarding program:
You’re experiencing a significant increase in the number of employees
Congratulations on your explosive growth. The truth is, that although growth is exciting, it is hard to welcome new employees, and train them and hand over assignments when you are busy meeting your own deadlines. The bottom line is, that if you don’t create a great onboarding program combined with identifying rules, procedures, roles and responsibilities in writing, your organization is extremely vulnerable and dependent on specific people. And you don’t want to be too dependent on specific people, because even the people you least expect to quit will eventually move on to another position.
A digital onboarding program helps you disseminate the necessary information to a lot of people at different times and in geographically dispersed locations. It takes the pressure off of you and your colleagues to remember every little important detail, leaving a digital trail of who knows what.
You have a high employee turnover
There are many different reasons why you might have a high turnover in general or during a specific period of your company or departments’ life cycle. Some industries just have higher employee turnover rates, like Technology, Media, Communications, Retail, Professional Services and Government¹. During periods with low unemployment rates, employees also tend to be less loyal, because it is easier to get a better (paid) job elsewhere. We also see higher employee turnover when a company is acquired; there are major transitions in management or the company pivots and changes its focus.
If you are welcoming a lot of new people, not having a digital onboarding program will put a lot of pressure on your colleagues or employees who constantly have to welcome and train new people rather than focusing on other aspects of their jobs.
You use freelancers, seasonal workers, interns and student assistants
According to business.com² it is becoming increasingly popular to hire freelancers over full-time employees. Working with freelancers comes with a series of benefits, such as having the ability to scale your team size with very short notice, you can bring in experts for small concrete tasks for a defined time period ensuring maximum flexibility, and you have the freedom to choose another freelancer with a few days notice. Companies also increasingly work with seasonal workers, interns and student assistants. Naturally, you don’t want to invest too much time in training someone who won’t stay very long and who isn’t actually a part of your core team. But it is still essential that this part of your workforce respects your rules and procedures, work well with the rest of the team and understand your company’s team culture and values. Here, a digital onboarding program designed especially for freelancers, seasonal workers, interns and student assistants is extremely useful. It can be designed fairly easily, as you will rely on core components from the regular onboarding program when building it.
During the month of March, we focus on supporting you in building a great digital onboarding experience for your employees. Please feel free to reach out if you need any assistance.