What is Strategic Onboarding?

If you’re an HR professional or a higher-up in an organization that’s focused on long-term growth and success, you may have heard of the phrase “Strategic Onboarding.” But what is strategic onboarding, and how does it differ from a traditional employee onboarding process?

In the most simple terms, strategic onboarding is an onboarding strategy that focuses on the long-term development of a new hire throughout the entirety of their tenure with the organization, from the day they’re first hired through the moment they leave (or hopefully, retire). But what’s the benefit of strategic onboarding, and how can you best implement it within your organization?

Strategic onboarding vs traditional onboarding

Traditionally, onboarding processes have been very finite. That is, they cover the time from when an employee is first hired to some set point in the future (whether it be a week, a month, or a year) when they’re determined to be “fully trained.” To most people, onboarding just means having a new hire sign the right paperwork and get trained on the right tools, and that’s about it.

But for an organization that wants to foster long-term business growth, encourage professional development, and build a bench full of superstars ready to take their careers to the next level within the organization, traditional onboarding has one obvious drawback: it’s just too shortsighted!

We know that no employee ever stops learning, and that in order to excel at a role and advance within an organization, we need to nurture that education and provide ongoing professional development opportunities that prepare and position an employee to move on to that next level. Strategic onboarding creates a formal process through which employees are set up to receive continued development, make the connections they need to make, and have key career moments acknowledged to not only help them succeed in their current role, but set them up for success in the future.

The 4 pillars of strategic onboarding

If your organization is looking to develop strategic onboarding rather than just a traditional short-term onboarding process, the first thing you need to do is identify what that onboarding strategy looks like–that is, what an employee needs in order to develop effectively over the long term.

We’ve defined 4 “pillars” of strategic onboarding that can serve as a jumping-off point for your management team to create an onboarding strategy that benefits your employees over the course of their careers within the organization and builds them into the types of high-level workers that you want to see advance into higher-level positions.

The 4 pillars of strategic onboarding are:

  • Cultural Mastery: A great cultural fit is key for any long-term tenure with a company, and that starts with an onboarding process that gives new hires a sense of what your company culture is, an understanding of how it works, and guidance on how to thrive within it.
  • Networking: Networking can get a bad rap, but designing activities that allow employees to meet new people, build their networks, and connect with those that can give them coaching and advice is key for ensuring that they live up to their fullest potential.
  • Strategic Connection and Direction: When we get bogged down in the weeds of our jobs, that’s when we start to stagnate. Making space for employees to get the big picture and learn exactly how their contributions support their team, keep the company moving, and drive business results will encourage loyalty and going above and beyond.
  • Career Support: Short-term success opens our eyes to the possibilities within our careers down the road.. Career support means designing assignments that give new hires “wins” in the early stages of their time with an organization and gives them the confidence to work through the hard stuff in the long term.

Utilize onboarding technology to create an onboarding strategy

The problem with implementing strategic onboarding in your organization is that these pillars can often feel much more nebulous than the concrete goals of the first 90 days. After all, it’s far easier to check “signed up for employer health care plan” off the onboarding to-do list in the first week of a new hire’s employment than it is to check off “build confidence to make difficult higher-level decisions” 10 years into a tenure.

Fortunately, onboarding technology goes far beyond just that initial new hire period. Take advantage of new onboarding technology to not only teach your new hires what they need to know to succeed in their current position, but also to set long-term goals, commemorate career milestones, and build those “softer” skills for an employee to be set up for success down the road.

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.