The Importance of Onboarding

Written by Jeremy Martin, General Manager of Customer Success

You have just signed the contract and are excited to bring a new software solution into your business! The hard work is done right? Not necessarily. Depending on the size of your company, the fun part and in my opinion the most critical part is just beginning – onboarding.

The key to a successful onboarding is communication. Ensuring the process is communicated clearly and with the right stakeholders will make a huge difference to your success. The most common reason a project fails is resistance to change and ineffective management of human behaviour.

I have spent the past 7 years working closely with colleagues and clients refining the JESI onboarding process and experience. It is not just a case of (especially for enterprise clients) “just do some training, the end users will pick it up” there needs to be a structured, well thought out plan in place to ensure buy-in, uptake and stickiness.

The JESI Onboarding Program has been developed to assist organisations to effectively embed JESI (or any software), in a way that ensures buy-in and engagement at all levels of the organisation. Consisting of 5 simple phases, Pre-planning, Scope and Development, Confirmation, Training and Evaluation.

1. Pre-planning

Who is the strategic sponsor of the onboarding? Strategic sponsors are instrumental in creating desire to support and engage in a change among employees. To see the best results and the most adoption of the new solution, senior leaders need to be present and active in the process.

What is the scope? Understanding and setting parameters around what is in and what is out of scope provides clarity of resources and time required to implement.

Identify your onboarding team. Who are they and what roles will they play in the onboarding?

Set agendas for each meeting to ensure all stay on task and set an outcome for each meeting.

2. Scope and Development

Review and confirm the scope of the implementation with the team to ensure the goal posts have not moved. I understand this is mentioned above however I strongly recommend this is re-iterated and locked down.

Develop or review existing processes for when the new software will be used and by who within the organisation.

Compile any risks or barriers that may impact a successful onboarding.

Develop communications plans – COMMUNICATION is key.

Develop action plans when is all the above taking place and who is responsible for each section.

3. Confirmation

Ensure action items above have the appropriate endorsement and the endorsement is communicated.

Confirm details as often as possible.

4. Training

How is this facilitated and by whom?

All training materials are relevant to the audience and easily accessible.

Make use of the organisations L&D department (if applicable)

5. Evaluation

Discuss and set Success Metrics i.e. adoption rate, usage rate

Keep an open dialogue and schedule regular catch ups the following weeks / months after going live.

In my experience, there are 4 key attributes that contribute to successful onboarding.

5.1 Culture of Trust

Trust your workforce when developing a continuous improvement culture.

5.2 Appreciate the change management process

Recognise that change can create anxiety for your people, especially when they don’t understand the ‘why’.  When communicating change don’t just focus on the ‘what’, always emphasise the ‘why’.

5.3 Determined leadership

As a leader, be engaged with your employees so that you can clearly articulate the benefits of the change. Don’t fold under the short-term ‘noise’ of change, stay the course and at appropriate times evaluate against the Success Metrics.

5.4 Knowing who is the company product owner

Assign the product to a division within the company that has the greatest emotional connection to the problem. Their desire to succeed in implementing the solution is heightened by this.

If all the above steps and considerations are applied throughout the onboarding process, you are sure to succeed. Here at JESI, we understand and respect the change management process and this is what guides our onboarding experience.

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