Smart Solutions for Onboarding Success

January 7, 2016 | Karima Mariama-Arthur | HCI
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Organizational socialization, the process of assimilating new team members within an organization, is one of the most difficult processes to navigate within the human resources spectrum. If you want game-changing solutions that will improve the way new employees experience your organization, you’re going to have to rethink the way you bring them on. You’re also going to have to do things a little differently. Maybe a lot differently.

Of course there are well-established guidelines in every industry on new hire protocol, including best practices for overall success. But ultimately these generic practices have not helped organizations to effectively serve this unique population. How’s that? They often overlook subtler items that contribute to employee success, such as “making an informal organizational chart of [the] department that spells out who’s responsible for what,” says Dick Grote in a recent Harvard Business Review article discussing effective onboarding procedures.

Do you want to make a good impression and lay the foundation for long-term success within your organization?

Consider the following strategies that can help new hires successfully make this critical transition:

Immediately clarify roles, responsibilities and performance expectations

Don’t expect new employees to do the heavy lifting and sort out roles, responsibilities and the expectations around performance through osmosis. For them, it’s a lot like walking in the dark. However, you can strive to shorten any learning curve by doing the following:

  • Providing a detailed job description accompanied by successor notes, if applicable.
  • Providing mission statements at both the organizational and departmental levels. Encourage employees to identify key synergies that relate to shared purpose, inclusive of goals and strategies.
  • Assuring employees understand how to navigate the performance review process, including how to reach key metrics and avoid pitfalls.

By setting clear expectations from the very beginning, there will be less confusion and dissatisfaction in the long run.

Provide a candid introduction to workplace culture

Workplace culture is comprised of key factors that include a shared set of beliefs, customs, values, behavior, and goals that are characteristic of every organization. New employees are often aware of new culture minutiae or may hold fast to distorted views that have the potential to sabotage their success. Your goal is to educate and provide an accurate picture of what your workplace culture is and isn’t. Many “rules of the road” are policy-based, so it makes sense to have a frank conversation about the aspects that won’t be found in any handbook.

Schedule the process in stages

No need to force-feed all of the painstaking details at once. Pace the process. Don’t overwhelm employees with so much “stuff” that they have a difficult time processing each component effectively. Avoid this result by ensuring that employees have adequate time and space to review, digest and employ the information. This may mean setting aside a few hours per day over a longer period of time to execute the entire process, rather than compressing everything into a finite timeframe just to “get it done.”

Consider these strategies as part of your overall on boarding plan. It can make an appreciable difference in the way your employees experience your organization.

To your success!