The 4 Pillars of Strategic Onboarding

Strategic Onboarding isn’t just a corporate buzzword that’s been floating around; it’s a real concept that helps differentiate workplaces that are truly focused on the long-term growth and success of the organization and its employees.

When we think of onboarding, we’re typically thinking about what’s known as “traditional” onboarding: the relatively short period of time between when a job offer is accepted by a new hire and the weeks and months it takes them to get “up to speed” and performing at an expected level.

But Strategic Onboarding is more than that–it’s a process that understands that learning and professional growth is an ongoing process, and works to support a new hire not just through that crucial first year, but throughout their entire tenure at the organization. It focuses on long-term growth and supporting employees that will not only stay with the organization, but succeed in moving up to greater roles with bigger responsibilities.

Strategic Onboarding is about building company cultures, reducing turnover, and making sure your organization has a deep bench full of high-performing individuals. So if Strategic Onboarding is more than just making sure a new hire is signed up for the company health plan, what are the core pillars that make a Strategic Onboarding process a success?

1. Cultural Mastery


When we see turnover in an organization, especially soon after a hire, one of the most common explanations is that the hire was just a “poor culture fit” with the organization, or vice-versa. Often this is said with an air of resignation, as if it’s something that we simply have no control over; “oh, it just wasn’t a good fit” or “oh, the culture was just a mismatch.”

But the truth is, a genuinely insurmountable cultural difference is far more rare than we tend to think. While it’s true that every organization has a unique culture and not every hire may take to it intuitively, this is something that an organization does have control over, and it starts with the onboarding program.

A great Strategic Onboarding program will go out of its way to educate a new hire on what the company culture is, give them opportunities to experience and fit into that culture, and give them a clear sense of what expectations are built into the culture and what types of work and behavior will thrive within it. Designing an onboarding program with specific and intentional focus on helping new hires fit will result in more hires actually fitting in, and reduce your turnover during that crucial first year and beyond.

2. Networking


Networking is not a dirty word, and those who have advanced far in their careers know that it’s a crucial component of moving forward and moving up within an organization. When employees stagnate in a role, they tend to wonder what they’re doing wrong or if they’re “not good enough” to advance, but often it’s a matter of networking (or a lack thereof): they may be fantastic workers, but they just aren’t getting that facetime in with the right people in order to make those positive impressions with higher-ups.

For plenty of otherwise great employees, networking simply doesn’t come naturally, or they’ve never been instilled with the knowledge of how important it is for their career development. If your organization is devoted to nurturing employees to grow and stay with the business long term, your Strategic Onboarding program needs to focus on building networking opportunities for everyone into its ongoing plan.

This could be scheduled professional mixers, it could be yearly “skip meetings” with people above their current managers, or any number of other possibilities. The important part is building a Strategic Onboarding program that gives every employee an equal opportunity to network successfully.

3. Strategic Connection and Direction


What drives people to leave a stable, steady job at a company they otherwise enjoy? Often, it comes down to boredom or a lack of motivation to continue doing their job. We know spreadsheets aren’t exciting for everyone, but great organizations know how to ignite that spark in every worker, from the lowest-level custodial staff all the way up to the C-suite.

One of the most effective ways to motivate workers long-term is by instilling a sense of greater importance to their work and making sure they know that even if they’re “just” a cog in the machine, that their cog is crucial to the success of that machine. By pulling back the curtain and showing employees the big picture of their company, they see exactly how their work (even if they find it less-than-exciting) serves a greater purpose. When they get insight into exactly how they’re helping the company grow, succeed at its mission, or remain profitable, you’re giving them a sense of importance, pride in their job, and loyalty to their organization.

4. Career Support


It seems so saccharine to say, but it’s true that everybody needs a “win” from time to time–employees who are given opportunities to succeed early on in their careers will show up with more confidence to tackle the next big challenge in their way. That’s why your Strategic Onboarding program should be set up so that every new hire has projects early on that encourage their success and set them up for those future challenges, rather than overwhelming them from the get-go.

This doesn’t mean mindless busywork and participation trophies; it just means scaling projects to an employee’s current level so that they feel empowered to continue doing great work, rather than dismayed at hitting a brick wall. If you aren’t already, consider using onboarding technology that allows you to plan and track the types of projects and work employees are given early on (and throughout their tenure) so that they’re getting those “wins” that help keep them proud, motivated, and hungry to support their organization further.

RedCarpet onboarding technology sets your team up for success


SilkRoad Technology enables people to thrive in a changing workplace, and SilkRoad’s RedCarpet onboarding technology is an industry leader in engaging, training, and developing new hires and existing employees to ensure that your organization is running as efficiently and productively as possible every single day.

To learn more about our talent management software and see how RedCarpet onboarding technology can help you hire, train, and retain the top talent in your industry, contact SilkRoad Technology today.