[Infographic] The Need for 360-Degree Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding should be structured and well-defined. If not, the risk of losing those new hires in the first weeks increases significantly — and this risk is even higher when employers recruit international talent.

Successful onboarding does not only define a new hire’s first impression of a company, but it also determines the level of identification with and commitment to their new employer. It is a decisive factor for how fast an employee can be productive at work and whether they fully contribute to the company goals in their new position. Any cost of churn and turnover can be reduced significantly by ensuring a smooth internal transition and handover, too.

InterNations Business Solutions Employee Onboarding

5 Ways to Support the Different Onboarding Phases

  1. Engagement before the first workday: Build relationships and send relevant information upfront

    Studies highlight the need for pre-onboarding — covering the time from the contract signing until the first day at work. According to Haufe, 28% of new hires resign even before their first workday. To increase employee engagement and commitment, it is critical to have a good communication strategy from the start. It can help to address uncertainty by informing a new hire upfront about the onboarding schedule or practical things, such as the parking situation or a go-to-person on the first day. A personalized welcome package can also be a nice way to engage with a new employee — showing them that you are a caring employer.

    For international hires the level of uncertainty will be a lot higher. Therefore, a dedicated HR contact is key to help them overcome administrative hurdles, such as health insurance and visa topics (if this is not already part of a relocation service provided). Furthermore, concerns can be mitigated by offering them access to expat-relevant information about the new country and city and business etiquette, or even by providing a direct contact to other expats to respond to personal questions. Expat communities can be an alternative to internal offers and this offer can be extended to the relocating families, too.

  2.  Introduction to company culture and values: Offer purpose and emotional identification

    A detailed introduction and overview to the company, its culture, and its values is an integral component for a first day at work. This creates a personal identification and helps new employees to understand why they are doing what they will be doing in their new role.

    Employers should include dedicated introductory sessions for international employees to inform them about special benefits for them, also to cover local tax or other administrative topics that are important for them to know. As international employer it is important to create an inclusive environment by showing appreciation for cultural differences and diverse backgrounds and to make it part of any onboarding processes. It can be as simple as an intercultural introduction of new hires on the intranet.

  3. Expectations of the role: Give feedback and discuss personal goals and responsibilities

    It is a must for any new employee to gain a detailed understanding of what is expected from the position, which tasks it involves, and which targets are supposed to be met. Every leader should take the time to discuss this in a personal talk as part of the onboarding process. Especially for newly created positions, a clear responsibility split among colleagues can be important — a discussion that should then involve the whole team.

    For international hires such a first orientation and guidance should address concerns about the new cultural environment and understanding potential challenges related to their different cultural backgrounds or even a potential culture clash. During the first months, regular feedback and awareness for their special situation is helpful and shows that their supervisors and the HR team care about and actively support them.

  4. Training on the job: Introduce processes, tools, and day-to-day operations

    The actual “training on the job” is at the heart of any onboarding plan. Supervisors and HR ideally define a detailed schedule for every new hire — at least for the first days or weeks. It needs to cover introductions and trainings to all relevant tools and internal guidelines and processes. Some might be company-wide, others specific to the role and/or team.

    A detailed training on the job to introduce a new colleague to all day-to-day operations depend on the team and role, but usually takes a couple of weeks to make the new team member feel comfortable and familiar with the main tasks. It should enable them to execute on those independently. International colleagues bring in a new dimension and both the HR team and supervisors should pay special attention to the team dynamics to make sure that issues with intercultural communication are mitigated immediately.

  5. Social integration: Make them feel welcome and supported at work — and beyond

    The practical and operative onboarding is ideally accompanied by social integration that helps a new colleague to get to know their team and other colleagues. By strengthening personal relationships, a basis for a positive work collaboration is established and a new hire feels connected to the company and his new employer more easily. Internal networking offers, team lunches, and after-work drinks should therefore always be part of such a 360-degree onboarding.

    For international hires, though, an employer should also think of offers beyond work. Expats need to find friends and to establish a new social network — not just a good work relationship with their colleagues. Employers benefit if international hires have a positive work-life balance and settle in fast in their new home. Making friends and being part of a community plays a crucial role in this.

The goal of an effective onboarding process is to support these different phases in the best way possible, to offer the respective emotional support, and to prevent disappointment.