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This article is a guest post from Softstart, the all-in-one onboarding platform to start your new hires off on the right foot.
Onboarding new hires is a concept most employers are familiar with by now. But what about onboarding current employees for new roles? With more companies investing into their internal mobility programs, cross-boarding is something every leader should be thinking about. Whether someone gets promoted or makes a lateral move, setting them up to properly integrate into their new role is essential to their success.
There are many benefits to having existing employees transition into new positions, like high engagement and retention rates. Plus, there’s the advantage of hiring employees with deeper cross-functional knowledge. So it’s important for companies to adapt this type of onboarding process accordingly.
In this article, we cover the basics of cross-boarding:
We’ve previously covered the basics of onboarding, and how to engage new hires from their first day. In a way, the objectives for cross-boarding are similar, save for the fact that you’re dealing with current employees. And just like good onboarding leads to long-term employee retention, proper cross-boarding can help reduce your turnover rate, too.
In a nutshell, cross-boarding is the process of transitioning an existing employee into a new role. It’s how you ensure they’re supported, ready to take on new responsibilities, engaged and productive.
Unlike onboarding, cross-boarding happens when you source candidates from existing staff to fill a job position, rather than hire externally. Cross-boarding can be relevant in the case of preparing someone who got promoted to a new role, or supporting an employee joining another department or switching expertise.
After a year of working as a coordinator, John has been promoted to become a manager. Even if his projects and team are the same, he’ll have new responsibilities, tasks and tools to master as management is a very different reality.
Lana works as a planner for her firm, but her passion is graphic design. When she heard that a graphic designer role opened up internally, she applied and got the job. Lana is already familiar with many company tools and processes, but she will still have to learn the ropes of her new role.
Blake is a team lead for the Telecom account. When there was an opportunity to become team lead for the Airline account, he took it. While his title doesn’t change, the nature of the account, team and tools are different.
Cross-boarding can be a situation where all parties win. Employees get to experience new, positive challenges, and employers benefit from its time and cost saving nature—and then some.
It’s very easy to overlook cross-boarding. Many employers assume that because existing employees have already benefited from an onboarding experience when they were first hired, they don’t need structured support to transition into a new role. Trust when we say that investing in creating cross-boarding plans is a must.
Good news: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you’ve created an onboarding template, you can borrow from this and adapt it to fit the needs of an existing employee. You might skip certain aspects like company culture integration activities. But activities related to new tasks, responsibilities and team(s) should remain.
Just like with new hires, it’s crucial to ensure that existing employees transitioning into new roles feel guided and supported with a structured plan to feel confident and engaged.
With managers already fans of Softstart’s onboarding templates for new hires, we also offer cross-boarding templates with a set of suggested pre-designed, customizable activities!
Think about it: cross-boardng is like onboarding, but with employees you’re already invested tremendous time and resources on. It would be a shame not to leverage engagement opportunities and already profitable staff members. Plus, a cross-boarded employee reaches peak productivity faster in their new role—so you’ll see a return on investment quicker than you would, had you invested in an external hire for a role.
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