Are You Prepared For Employee Inboarding?

Posted by Cathy Reilly

3.13.18 Blog re Inboarding iStock-864461636.jpg


A few weeks ago I wrote about the impact that artificial intelligence (What You Need to Know About AI and Women’s Jobs) will have on jobs, especially women’s job as work automation increases. While women may be more affected, all employees will be touched by AI directly or indirectly. As jobs change and get redefined through technology, employees must change. It will become commonplace to see employee roles change, which will bring in-house moves within the company. HR will find itself having to focus on building a new workforce internally through retraining, upskilling, and reassigning employees into modern, relevant roles.

Just because an employee transfers into a new job internally, doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy or immediate win for everyone. There will be a transition that needs to take place. Job converting employees are going to be faced with challenges that include letting go of their old position, learning new skills and technologies, reporting to a new manager, working with a different team, and developing new relationships. To this employee, it may feel like they are starting over again. It will be wise to consider how this change will be managed and the employee will be supported along the way into their new role.

Consider inboarding, a term you will be hearing more of as we continue to move into jobs of the future. Importantly, inboarding should not to be mistaken with onboarding. Onboarding is for employees who are brand new to the company, just getting started, and need to learn everything from the ground up. Inboarding is for existing employees. These are company veterans who are already familiar and connected internally, but who will be experiencing a change in their job and/or role. These include events like a job redesign, promotion, or reassignment. Notably, culture changes may also be associated with these shifts if the employee finds themselves working in a new location, or as part of a new team or department.

Simply put, inboarding is a vital practice for transitioning employees who are put in a position of being new again inside your company. Inboarding will help them adjust, learn and continue being successful.

A key thing to realize when inboarding: The job change for an employee is going to bring some level of disruption. How they are treated throughout the process will make all the difference and is what will be long remembered. Have a considerate plan.

Here are a few guidelines when inboarding an employee through a job transition:

  1. Clear communication. Make sure the employee knows what they can expect with their job change. Be transparent and sensitive in delivering this information. Where possible, deliver this message in person. Provide a transitioning employee with a new job description to serve as a guideline of the job changes. Set up a one on one meeting to help discuss this transition. 

    See #7 below, because this question may be asked by the transitioning employee early on in the communications.
  1. Provide support. Be it a job redesign or moving to a new department, location or reassignment, you will want to help ease the stress this brings and the uncertainty the transitioning employee may be experiencing.

    When a change such as a job reassignment or redesign is announced to an employee they will immediately be concerned about what this change means to them and their job security. This will be their number one concern over what this change means for the company. Being sensitive to this fact will help HR create a process to provide reassurance to the employee that the job change does not mean they are losing their job. It will be critical for managers to be involved in the announcement process right from the start and to be meeting with this employee as they transition.

    If the job transition means working with a new team, HR and managers should facilitate introductions to help the employee feel part of the new team as quickly as possible. 
  1. Orientation. Employees will need to re-identify with their new role at the company. Create organized content to help the employee learn or re-learn what they need to know about the job change or their new environment. Include any forms they’ll need to complete and sign, policies and acknowledgements, internal manuals, videos or reading materials and tools.

  2. Training. Beyond an effective orientation program, provide any training your inboarder needs to lead them to productivity once again. This includes building new skills and abilities, upskilling to work at a higher level, leadership or technical training. It may mean they also need to learn how to work with new AI, which is causing work shifts.  

  3. Goal setting. Help the transitioning employee stay focused on their new work and working with a purpose. Set up goals to be met and early wins that engage them in productive activities. Each milestone will be confidence building and provides a measurable marker of progress for them. As they tackle new goals, their trust in the new position will also build.

  4. Follow up. Follow up with employees who have had a job change in the organization to ensure they are on track and staying there. Make it easy for them to ask questions or get help if they need it. Continue checking in well beyond just the first couple of weeks. This employee is a proven asset of the company, and you want to ensure you are protecting your investment by retaining them.

  5. Optional: Plan B. The big, ugly inboarding question: “What happens if the employee does not work out in the new position?” Have an advance plan of options in place that addresses this event. Be ready if a transiting employee poses this question early on because they will have natural concerns about their job change and sense of security. 

            Consider such alternative plans as whether the employee will be given the opportunity to
            apply for another position inside the company, receive coaching or additional training to get                  them up to speed, be reassigned to another job, return to their former department in another                capacity or be terminated. The later, being something you really want to avoid. It’s extremely                costly in time, effort and morale when you lose an employee under any circumstance. 

As the partnership of technology and business deepens and causes shifts for employees, we must plan. When a company grows and changes, so must employees. One way is through inboarding. Don’t leave things to chance when you move an employee from one position to another inside your company. Have a well-designed inboarding process in place to help the employee be successful in their new role in the company. It’s not only a smart way to retain company talent, it builds your reputation as an employer of choice.

Let us help you build an inboarding strategy, or create an effective online inboarding and training program with Onboardia. Call us today at 800-771-8610, visit us at or Schedule a Demo today.

Cathy A. Reilly is the author of “The Temp Factor: The Complete Guide to Temporary Employment” and Founder/CEO of Onboardia, Inc., HR software.



Topics: Employee Retention, Management, Human Resources, Training, Employee Experience

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