5 steps to a smooth and effective onboarding process. In preparing a client to roll out our software on a new project recently, I was struck by the self-imposed pressure faced by the client from their perception they needed to create a new bespoke process to onboard contractors for the project.
The irony of the situation is contractors work on every one of the client's projects. This process is business as usual, not a one-off, yet there was little guidance beyond a set of generic forms to be completed. There was no clear documentation, no resource plans or dedicated resourcing in the early stages, and only vague concepts about a process. Industry requirements for onboarding workers on a project are not new, so onboarding is one aspect that should easily be replicated across the business.
Here are my Top 5 steps to implementing a smooth onboarding process:
1. Prioritise resourcing to build your onboarding team
Start identifying your onboarding team early. This will enable you to set structures and build ownership of the process early. When Commercial, Safety, HR, Environment and Project Management are left to their own devices, processes run in parallel and end up with duplication of effort and policy differences. Playing catch up with workers already onsite and trying to tighten processes after the fact is very hard.
2. Set clear objectives aligned to project requirements
Set the tone early. Inconsistent messaging creates confusion and makes it hard for anyone to understand what you want to happen. A clear framework is a foundation for success.
3. Use effective systems
Spreadsheets, email and paperwork can be difficult for different stakeholders to manage, but more importantly, they are prone to being unavailable when you need them most. Being able to rely on a robust onboarding process gives you peace of mind you will be able to demonstrate your systematic compliance and evidence when it matters.
4. Communicate with contractors
Create a clear process covering each stage of the contractor engagement process. Contractors will meet a compliance gate when it is the difference between signing a contract or missing out, but setting out your requirement for ongoing governance over the life of the project and how you will enforce it shows them you mean business and leaves little doubt you are serious about governance.
5. Make the process engaging
Using innovative means to engage through SMS, mobile apps, email, broadcast messaging and visible systems makes your requirements easier to follow. Engaging workers through the use of technology not only removes paperwork, but also creates the evidence trail you need. Making your process easy to follow means avoidance is harder.
You will see the benefits across the life of your project and into the next project.