Welcome Aboard. Sink or Swim With On-boarding.
Imagine you are marooned on an island inhabited by a tribe of friendly people but culturally vastly different to what you are used to. All of the norms of this tribe are not threatening but far outside your patterns of behaviours. You can imagine how difficult and intimidating this would be. Why do you think it is any different when people join organisations as new hires?
The experience a new recruit has joining a new organisation has an enormous impact on how soon a person ramps up to effectiveness and how quickly they become engaged with the organisation and its culture. You can refer to the previous blog for a great definition of employee engagement.
If you have ever experienced a bad hire and either had to take action to remove a new hire or they leave quickly on their own accord, the impact goes way beyond the cost, pain and frustration of having to start a recruitment process again or settle for your second or third choice. The ripple impacts of a bad hire hit your culture widely and deeply. You can reduce or eliminate these risks by developing a solid on-boarding strategy.
Here are some ideas that I have seen work well in some of my clients’ organisations. Some of these ideas work better for some organisations and less so for others depending upon a number of factors such as industry, location, resources and culture. You should also consider the type of position you are inducting.
You may have a different style of on-boarding processes in your sales team as opposed to your finance team. These differences take into account the type of individual[s] you are inducting and the culture of the team they are joining.
Here are some ideas:
- Start the induction early using your LMS or other web based platform. Start the process before they arrive for day one by offering some online videos, courses and information they can review in their own time. Make this fun, interesting and collaborative.
- Include a social gathering either prior to day one or shortly after. You can make it a dinner with their new manager or a small gathering of their manager and team members.
- Make the induction a ‘high touch’ experience. I am always surprised how often a new hire is sitting alone in their office or workstation going through induction. This is sending all the wrong messages to the new hire. Include different people to interact, support and coach the new person. Do this even if you are inducting a number of people at once and use workshops to deliver induction training.
- Include some online learning and collaboration to deliver a ‘blended’ approach. You do not need to use costly learning content. You can use some home-grown videos, presentations and links to other resources.
- Add sense of achievement when a person completes their induction. You can have a small team social gathering over coffee, deliver a certificate of completion or another gift or token signifying the completion of the induction. Using a certificate or token item makes a great cultural ‘tradition’ and you can award them retro-actively if you want to.
- Include some interface between the inductee[s] and senior management. Choose the highest senior level leader you can but choose wisely. Do not make the mistake of choosing a senior leader who does not have the commitment to successful inductions and culture required or is not reliable to stick to appointments. This tactic can backfire if you choose a leader who considers this a nuisance and cancels appointments or lacks the EQ to conduct a meeting with new hires effectively.
- After the induction process is completed include a meeting schedule for a month or two after. I suggest a coffee or informal meeting of about 10 to 15 minutes duration and conducted by human resources or another manager; not their direct manager. The purpose of these meetings are to get some feedback, check for any barriers to work objectives and be alert for some innovation. It is surprising how a newly hired person will identify areas for business improvement and innovation. They are not yet fully immersed in the role and the ‘third party’ perspective is priceless.
A great induction process takes work and attention. The induction process needs to designed and documented. The process needs to be aligned with the organisation’s strategy and supported at all levels including specifically the CEO and other ‘c’ level executives.
If you are considering developing a new induction strategy or re-developing an existing one, we can have a discussion and share some ideas. You can keep your focus on your objectives and we can help you develop, implement and execute an effective on-boarding/induction strategy.