Why is it Important to Onboard Right?

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The onboarding experience is a magical moment. It’s a great opportunity to build pride in the company. It also sets the stage for employee engagement and retention.

However, some companies do not recognise this opportunity, while others are unsure how to execute it just right. When new hires experience a low energy, badly executed onboarding process, they may become disillusioned. After all, the first impression matters. New employees may already jump to the conclusion that the company poorly managed. Some wonder if it was a mistake to accept the offer, while some may even leave the company.

Research by Glassdoor shows that a strong onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by 70%.

A focus on employee retention is particularly important when companies compete to attract the right talent. This is the case for blue-collar workers in India’s burgeoning ecommerce sector. There was a whopping 3,241% spike in the demand for courier delivery personnel in the first quarter of 2021, while the demand for home delivery personnel jumped by 2,410%. There’s also been healthy growth in hiring by the infrastructure sector and a rise in the demand for basic emergency medical technicians.

For companies that rely on the blue-collar workforce for business success, right onboarding can significantly lower costs by reducing attrition levels and boosting productivity.

Welcoming New Hires

A streamlined onboarding process makes workers feel they are welcome and safe. They feel valued and a part of the organization. It is an opportunity for companies to help their blue collar workforce understand the bigger picture and how their role fits into the organization. Since such workers tend to be huge in numbers and distributed, such steps are necessary to make them feel visible. This could be a significant initiative in a nation where such workers are often treated as commodities.

Ensuring Compliance from Day One

Onboarding is the first step towards fulfilling compliance norms and adhering to standards and industry best practices. In broad terms, this sets the stage for what kind of conduct is expected from the workers, how they are supposed to interact with customers and team members, what should their Covid-19 safety protocols be, and so on.

Adhering to compliance is what keeps the business protected. This could be vital for fulfilling relevant Indian standards and legislations passed by state governments and local bodies, related to life safety, fire safety, quality control and other measures.

Reducing Stress for Employees

There is so much for them to consider, starting from whether they will fit into the company to how to carry out responsibilities. By providing them all tools and information required to do the job, companies can expect greater productivity and less errors.

Traditionally, the blue-collar workforce is onboarded with a combination of direct training and lengthy paper-based processes. These written instructions can lack context and be hard to understand. They are also impersonal, outdated, and don’t consider the many languages that workers speak in India.

Rather than relying on lengthy paperwork and other archaic processes, companies can provide mobile-based processes to cater to a distributed workforce.

Moreover, communicating with them in their native language reduces the chances of miscommunication and eases their anxiety. Instructions can be more visual in nature, to aid their understand of the task. Also, such processes are more sustainable, helping companies to minimize wasteful practices.

Galvanizing the Workforce around a Common Culture

If you are a business operating globally, it is important to galvanize your workforce to a common culture and purpose. Emphasizing on the safety for workers and customers is essential in the pandemic. There need to be feedback mechanisms for blue-collar workers who often work in the most hazardous situations and serve as frontline workers in many industries. These build strong relationships between the supervisor and new hires.

Cultural onboarding turns workers automatically into insiders, even before they have started to do their jobs. Employees rate companies 20% higher when they have strong work cultures, and this helps keep them aligned and motivated.

Little Things Can Make a Difference

Communication and day-to-day transparency are appreciated by workers who adhere to shifts and on-site schedules. They can know their work hours, overtime requirements and other needs in advance. Not only does this result in fair wage calculations, but also enables companies to accommodate workers, for example when they need to visit a doctor without getting penalized.

These simple gestures make a difference in retaining skilled workers, which is a challenge in this sector. Investing effort during the onboarding stage is the right way to ensure the long-term commitment of new workers.


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