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Onboarding, or about an action of integrating a new employee

A continuous and rapid development of business service centres in Poland has triggered visible changes on the labour market. The number of persons employed within the BSS sector grows yearly, and is now close to 200 thousand people. Employers and HR departments face increasing challenges as to how and where to get the most qualified employees with decent foreign language skills. Much emphasis is placed on the recruitment process, while the second stage, i.e. the onboarding strategy is still quite neglected within organizations. As a result, this leads to a continuous employee turnover, which, instead of reducing the recruitment needs of the company, expands these demands and costs at the same time. It seems to be a vicious circle.

What then is the process of onboarding and why is it so crucial in the process of gaining and maintaining professional, qualified and engaged staff?

Onboarding is an adaptation process of integrating new employees into organization so that they quickly achieve a high efficiency level. The onboarding process should be implemented at a strategic, procedural and individual levels.  The new employee is introduced into the company, and familiarized with the company’s culture, mission, vision, manner of communication, opportunities for development and tasks to be performed. It is equally important they get to know the team they will be working with together with possible cultural differences, if the team includes members of different nationalities. In fact, however, this part of the process is often reduced to the employee obtaining a few or several documents about the company, rules and safety regulations.  As a result, the new employee, who has for the first time experienced an encounter with the working environment and the company, is rather lost, stressed and disappointed instead of being excited and interested.

The studies claim that you need from 3 to 6 months to adapt to a new environment, and this period is also crucial for the employee to gain an impression about the company, employer, culture and organization. It is the time when they make a decision whether to identify with a given brand and pursue their career there or look for another employer. The employee needs to feel they are an important part of the whole, and not just a minor and easily replaceable clockwork cog. There is another aspect of losing a newly employed person. It is not only a financial loss related to the need of re-recruitment and re-adaptation of another candidate, but also a damage done to company’s image, as such an employee will most probably not recommend this work and company to their friends.

Therefore, when the onboarding process is well prepared and implemented, it will result in greater loyalty as well as engagement of the employee, which will in turn have an effect on the efficiency and the quality of work.

The onboarding proceedings can be planned internally or trusted to a specialized outsourced company, which will study the needs, challenges and problems of our organization to design a detailed training plan. The program will include areas such as internal communication, standards and procedures, mission and vision of the company, cultural differences, teambuilding, early talent detection and team leader training. The ability to manage this last group is one of the key skills impacting decisions about changing jobs. It is quite truthful to say: “Man comes to company, but leaves the boss”.

The onboarding process is a particular challenge in the BSS centres. The newly hired employees need to cope with typical adaptation problems as well as their little identification with the mother company.  It is the main reason the centres with a high rate of employee turnover should especially be concerned about their well-being from the start, providing support and a sense of security. Considering data and forecasts regarding the growing number of BSS’s in Poland, and the repeatability of processes, the key to maintain a qualified, loyal and engaged specialist could be a well implemented onboarding process. It is equally grave how the employees feel in our company during these first honeymoon months.


Małgorzata Polzenius

Managing Director

Hutchinson Institute / BSS Partners