Is Onboarding a Value Stream?

This article was originally written as a contribution to a collective post for the VSM Consortium blog (find the full article using the link below): (March 21, 2023)

“In this, the fifth of a series of blog posts from the Value Stream Management Consortium, our experts weigh in on, “Is THIS a value stream?” This time, we’re looking at Onboarding.”

Patrice Corbard, Head of the Content Value Stream at the Value Stream Management Consortium:

At first glance, I would have said no. But thinking about it, learning to see the value streams is all the more interesting as I am in the middle of integrating into my new role at the consortium.

First of all, what are we talking about and what value are we talking about? 

The arrival of a new employee after recruitment is obviously more than a simple welcome meeting. Sometimes organizations focus too much on administrative tasks and not enough on the human and cultural aspects of a new Employee Onboarding.

In addition, the success or failure of onboarding activities significantly impacts the Employee Experience. This impact is measured in terms of new employee engagement, job satisfaction, morale, and confidence in their new role. Onboarding activities should facilitate the integration into the company culture, the connection with managers and coworkers, and of course increase the speed with which they can make their first contributions. From the employer’s perspective, studies show that effective onboarding increases retention and greatly reduces turnover rates and associated costs.

Onboarding is the first and most critical part of the Employee Journey:

Does this make Employee Onboarding a value stream?
Gartner’s definition of a value stream:
“A value stream is the sequence of activities necessary to deliver a product, service, or experience to a customer, internal or external. Value streams cut across and connect siloed business capabilities. They provide end-to-end visibility of the activity flow, from customer request to delivery.”

The new employee can be seen as the internal customer whose experience and satisfaction are improved by the onboarding sequence of activities.Onboarding links business capabilities and multiple actors (the new hire, managers, HR, facilities, etc.).  Seeing them as a value stream provides end-to-end visibility of this flow of activities, from the arrival of the new hire to a successful integration after a few weeks or months.

By mapping the current Employee Onboarding Value Stream, we can visualize its steps, duration, the waiting times and identify the main bottlenecks or constraints as well as sources of waste. It then becomes possible to design the desired future state and make data-driven improvement decisions.

After thinking about it, I changed my mind and would now say that yes, Employee Onboarding can be seen as an internal value-enabled supportive value stream.

Photo : Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash

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