By now, we all know that employee onboarding processes, aka organizational socialization processes, are important.
SHRM’s Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success tells us that:
“Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission.”
It also tells us that:
“Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs in the first four months, and half of senior outside hires fail within 18 months.”
Given the costs of recruiting, hiring and onboarding a new employee, it’s important to get onboarding right.
So what makes a best practice employee onboarding process and checklist?
The classic advice is to make sure your onboarding checklist includes activities that address the following:
- HR information/processes, company policies, mandatory training, etc.
- Getting to know the organization, its culture, history, structure, products/services, etc.
- Getting setup with tools and equipment
- Building an internal network of contacts
- Getting introduced to the job, (job description, goals, etc.)
The list should look familiar.
Our goal with employee onboarding is to assimilate the new employee into the organization, teach them “who we are” and help them to “fit in” by informing them about how things are done around here.
So what’s missing in employee onboarding?
An interesting article in the MIT Sloan Management Review called Reinventing Employee Onboarding suggests that what’s missing is the new employee.
We hire new employees for their knowledge, skills, and experience, but also for their passion, perspectives and personalities. Then we often ask them to put much of this aside and learn to do things “our way”.
Think about it... Have you ever started a new job full of enthusiasm, eager to prove your value, only to be told again and again “that’s not how we do things here” every time you make a suggestion for what you think would be an improvement? Remember how that felt?
Worse yet, have you ever said that to a new employee?
What’s often missing from employee onboarding processes, programs, checklists, training, etc. are ways to invite the new employee to share who they are with the organization and influence it.
In his post Be Strong for Employee Engagement, David Zinger makes the case that we need to encourage employees to know and leverage their strengths in the workplace, and suggests exercises for doing just that.
In keeping with Zinger’s message, the missing element from most of our employee onboarding efforts is this key step: letting the new employee introduce us to their strengths, and make use of them in their new role.
So why not add the following to your employee onboarding checklist:
- Identify 2-3 key strengths that you bring to your new role
- Collaborate with your manager to communicate these strengths to your work team/network
- Collaborate with your manager to establish goals for next 90 days that leverage your strengths and experience
Your turn: What else is missing from employee onboarding checklists? Do you have any onboarding success or challenges to share?