I onboard others and I have been on-boarded myself!  As a consultant to the human capital, talent management, people operations, employee experience, people resources, employee engagement, happiness management sectors, I have seen departments referred to as:

  • Employee Management Care Unit
  • People Resource Center
  • Talent Management
  • People and Change
  • Human Relations
  • Employee Support
  • Talent Resources
  • People Operations
  • Team Member Services
  • Labor Department

Call the department what you want. Changing the name without changing the focus is not enough, and it all comes back to onboarding.

Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, is the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. It also refers to adding a new professional expert to a web-based organization or creating a new profile for a speaker or trainer.

Let’s examine the process in the workplace. We have a new employee start-date. Perhaps we have them ‘onboard’ to our online system prior to that date so that we have electronic copies of their profiles.  Then, we schedule an orientation process with multiple departments, multiple employees, and in multiple locations. In some scenarios, we have the new employee ‘buddy’ with a more seasoned employee to understand the intricacies of the position, the values, and the culture of the organization.

During the fairly traditional 90-day probationary period common in many countries, we encourage the new member of the team to build rapport with the company, management, and co-workers.  Think about it – do we provide support and direction/training, or simply training. In order to engage the new staff member, we need to onboard, support, and train. Onboarding reveals that an employee feels, sees, and hears after the start date.

Training is fuel for the onboarding engine and without fuel, the engine will fail. Approach your new-hire program with care, taking the time to consider everything that an employee will need to succeed at their job. Training should cover programs, best practices, technology and equipment and have goals clearly stated; onboarding doesn’t stop at company policies, facility tours and department introductions.

Each year, technology advances and a new generation of applicants are joining the workforce. With it, the methods of attracting, guiding and retaining workers are transforming. Don’t get tied up in the details of a training program only to leave the new hires’ progress and comfort out of mind. A new-hire program that gives as much value to how employees are feeling throughout the process as it does the process itself is one that will succeed.

Onboarding crosses all lines, in all types of settings and across all borders. Call it what you wish:

  • Employee Management Care Unit
  • People Resource Center
  • Talent Management
  • People and Change
  • Human Relations
  • Employee Support
  • Talent Resources
  • People Operations
  • Team Member Services
  • Labor Department

Whatever ‘it’ is called, it is the sector responsible for engaging employees. Be sure that the process fits the purpose and culture, and reap the rewards.