The 7 C's of Onboarding: How to integrate Clarification?

Appical Team
Manouk te Rietmolen
December 2, 2022
min read
Table of Contents
Talya Bauer developed the well-known onboarding 4 C framework more than a decade ago. Since then, 2 C's have been added. Leading to the following 6 C’s: Compliance, Clarification, Culture, Connection, Confidence and Checkback. In this blog, we focus on ‘Clarification’.

“It is wiser to find out than to suppose”. This quote by Mark Twain hits the essence of what you will discover while reading this blog. Because how much time or confusion could you have saved when things were better clarified in advance? It’s time to learn from it and to show your employees how to do it better.

What is the meaning of Clarification?

When we dive into the dictionary, we find that clarification can be described as: 

‘An explanation or more details that makes something clear or easier to understand’. If we translate that into the building blocks of onboarding, it’s important that new hires clearly understand their job and their role within the organization.

But it is not only important to focus on the role and responsibilities of the new hire. The new hire should have a clear understanding of other roles as well. If you want your new hire to feel involved from day 1, it’s inevitable to clarify team roles just as much as their own role.

So explain, define, spell out and clarify to your new hires what they can expect when it comes to their job description, the team roles and expectations, the processes and the work culture.

Why is clarification important? 

When there is a deep understanding of roles and expectations, this creates more trust between colleagues. But it also leads to more connection with the organization. 75% of employees with a clear division of roles are more passionate about the work and get more satisfaction from it (Effectory).

Overall, clarification helps boost communication, team effectiveness, and organizational culture. But if we dig deeper, we find that it has many benefits. According to Corporate Communication Experts, clarification:

1. Avoids conflict and miscommunication in the workplace

Agreeing on something you’re unsure about, often leads to misunderstandings. A crucial part of the agreement should always involve clarification. Make sure that each party understands what is expected of them and which parties are involved. Your actions affect other people’s tasks and this also works the other way around.

Who is responsible for what? Are the responsibilities aligned with the roles? And what do you need from your co-workers during this project? These are important questions to get clarification on, in order to work effectively, efficiently and without any conflict or miscommunication.

2. Prevents being overworked 

Besides roles and responsibilities, agenda’s and deadlines should always be clarified as well. Onboarding helps you become familiar with your role, and as time goes on, you are entrusted with more and more tasks. Setting your priorities straight and communicating them with your colleagues is a major part of clarification.

3. Ensures everyone in the team is on the same page

Even though team roles may vary a lot, you are most likely to work towards the same goal together. This goal should be clarified by the CEO or management teams, which leads to team projects, and so on. It’s like the game you played when you were a kid: sitting in a circle, where the first person whispers something to the second person, and the last person has to say the right sentence out loud.

It never works, does it? This works the same in organizations. Always clarify the expectations to assist the team, to get everyone on the same page.


How do you apply ‘clarification’ in your onboarding program?

Clarity starts in the prehire phase, with the vacancies. Make sure the role descriptions are clear and honest. And create the right expectations during the introductory meetings. 

Preboarding - team roles and practical information

The preboarding phase is a good time to go into more depth. Start with how the company defines clarification and why it is important. Communicate about team roles and describe in detail what colleagues' days usually look like. It’s also helpful to make a list of the topics and questions that you can discuss with the team members.

Besides roles and tasks, the preboarding phase can also be used to clarify practical information. Think of the dress code and working hours at the office, parking spots, and whether the new hire should bring lunch or not. Personalize the process to the location, department or specific role of your new employee. This way you ensure that employees only receive information that is relevant to them.

Onboarding - schedules and purpose

In the onboarding phase you can start with providing new hires with a clear written schedule of the first weeks so they’ll know what to expect. Include dates of any scheduled training, meetings, check-ins, or important events (Science for Work). 

Later on it’s time to show employees how they fit into the corporate culture and how their skills contribute to company goals. This gives an instant feeling of collaboration and clarifies the purpose of their everyday jobs. It can help you to describe upcoming projects in which they will participate, and what their role is in it. For example, create a 100-day plan, where you map out the first 100 days of an employee.

How to measure clarification in your onboarding process?

The best way to measure the level of clarification is to keep asking for feedback. How did the new hire experience the preboarding and onboarding process? Was everything communicated clearly? Did the new hire ask questions which were not included in the given information?

Another way to measure this is to see if any conflicts, miscommunications or confusions appear in the workplace. Reflect on them and see if the problem has anything to do with unclarity. Make sure to create a safe environment for employees to express this. When your employees speak up and it seems that certain things were unclear to them, you (or they) can clarify this. Keep on doing this to build a future with less misunderstandings in the company.

Best practice Clarification

This is ‘a day in the life of…’ coming from our own Onboarding app! It specifies the role of Merel, one of our designers in team Marketing. This slide is shown to the new hire in the preboarding phase of the app.

day in the life_3-05

By now we hope you have a better understanding of how clarification can improve your organization and onboarding process. Are you curious for more information about the other C’s? Check our whitepaper or read our blogs:

Get all the information you need on the other 7 C's:

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