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A Look at Cross-Cultural Onboarding and the Reason It Fails

by Jody Ordioni

Onboarding is not just the trending word that the new generation of workers tweets out, it is a process that is essential to integrate new recruits into their roles efficiently. While many companies take care to meticulously detail onboarding plans in their domestic space, this process often causes a problem while applying international approach. Kronos Inc. in their recent study found out that 76% of companies do not find a suitable onboarding model.

As the number of tech-reliant workforce increases, companies are often unable to catch up in the race of utilizing technology to make onboarding personalized for their foreign employees. This off-handed dealing in the cross-cultural onboarding experience has spoiled the involvement of employees and hinders the overall business of the company.

Deepak R. Bharadwaj, Vice President and General Manager, HR Business Unit at ServiceNow, cracks open the complex packaging of the onboarding process. According to Bharadwaj, the area that cross-cultural onboarding experience lacks in is the experience it fails to deliver to the end-users. It does not truly make them feel as if they belong. Bharadwaj also adds that onboarding allows the organization to start off on the right foot with employees, otherwise it can be quite difficult to undo the damage an improper integration can cause.

Service Now, itself, is a cloud platform working in the domain of onboarding, offboarding, and transfer processes. As Bharadwaj believes, onboarding should focus primarily on closing the distance and uniting the various departmental blocks so that they can provide the services seamlessly and in a more personalized manner.

Here are three reasons why companies cannot connect with their employees and the ways in which the current onboarding processes show glaring holes in their structures.

Shaky Foundation Topples Buildings

A global onboarding process cannot make the mistake of taking a blanket approach to each different division. It should ideally start with a core set of ideas which are built upon as per the needs of the individual position. These adaptations should take into consideration the profile of the new employees as well as those relocating to a new country.

The solid foundation is built around the knowledge of the end goal for the employee and the methods to achieve these goals. Organization’s attempt should include tailoring the onboarding process to incorporate cross-cultural expectations. A streamlined procedure can create a hassle-free experience for aspiring employees.

One Size Fits All

What guarantees success in one country, may become a recipe for disaster in another. The working ethics and office culture vary across locations, which implies that companies that have a blanket approach, ignoring the nuanced differences of cultures, are setting themselves up for failure. Employers who dedicate time and effort to understanding the cultural nuances are better set to avoid miscommunication while strengthening their ties to foreign employees.

Any foreign employee would feel far more comfortable entering a native environment than acclimatizing in a foreign one. Small gestures such as translating official documents into the native language in a manner that conveys the context properly, can help to create an inclusive workspace.

Small Steps That Yield Results

The new crop of workers is far more concerned with their professional growth than any other previous generation. Unlike Baby Boomers, who stayed in one job, trading personal development for stability, the young generation does not hesitate to leave a company whose vision does not align with their goals of growth.

Employers who do not articulate the employee journey well stand the risk of losing the top talent. Showing the employees how their journey would unfold within the company is no longer an additional task but a necessity. A journey plan is a personalized approach to the management of onboarding process across cultures.

A plan that is well thought-out, detailed, and personalized to each individual location serves to bridge the gap between the employees and employers. New approaches to the traditional process can foster long-term professional relations with the employees and also help to engage the workforce with the mission of the company. The last nugget of advice that Bharadwaj hands out highlights the importance of seeking out feedback, on a routine basis, from the employees to gain an insight to the improvements that can be made to the onboarding process.

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