Denver Staffing Agency - Onboarding - Does Your Company Get It Right?

  • Posted by: J. Kent Gervasini |
  • 2/16/15 |
  • 4:00 AM
Denver Staffing Agency - Onboarding - Does Your Company Get It Right?
Onboarding, or organizational socialization, is not only a critical part of an effective overall talent management strategy, but also critical specifically to talent retention. According to the SHRM Foundation, each year nearly 25% of the working population undergoes some type of career transition, and of the newly-hired employees that fail within 18 months, the percentage is even much greater.  A well thought out onboarding program will hep mitigate turnover and ensure new employee success.

What is Onboarding?
Onboarding is the process by which new employees get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skill and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.

A Good Onboarding Process Takes About One Year
Onboarding programs are not a one-time event but a long-term process. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. How long does it take for a new employee to experience an organization’s entire business cycle and become assimilated?
  2. Can I possibly expect a new employee to absorb everything he or she needs to know in a year about my company or the job they were hired for in only the first few weeks on the job?

A highly seasoned professional or “C” level executive may be able to understand your company’s business cycle and assimilate more quickly; however, high level professionals will have their own challenges since getting executives and managers up to speed quickly is important.

A recent college graduate, on the other hand, with a sum total of experiences including internships, study abroad or working for a family member, may have a much harder time. Regardless, training, coaching, and mentoring throughout the employee’s tenure will be required. Onboarding hourly employees also requires special consideration and attention. 

Onboarding – Four Distinct Levels – The Four C's
The SHRM Foundation recently published a comprehensive article, Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success by Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D. In this article, Ms. Bauer identified the four distinct levels of onboarding, called The Four C’s.

  1. Compliance is the lowest level and includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
  2. Clarification refers to ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations.
  3. Culture is a broad category that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational norms— both formal and informal.
  4. Connection refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish.
                                               Day 1
          The Most Important Day in the Onboarding Process

Both the big things—like using a formal orientation program and written plan—
and the little things—like greeting a new employee warmly, taking her or him to lunch, providing a functioning workstation on Day 1—matter in your onboarding program. 

In Denver, Colorado, many of J. Kent’s clients recognize this and their CEO's or "C Level" executives take their new employees to lunch within their first month. Boy does this boost morale! This is part of the J. Kent client’s culture, and tenured employees proudly share this observation. Keep in mind that research has shown a new hire’s success is set as early as the first two weeks, therefore, it is important to make the first day a special one and providing a functioning workstation on Day 1 and an email set-up makes the right impression and is a bare bones effort. J. Kent Staffing Managers have also observed that many hourly workers do not come back if the first day is disappointing. So….MAKE IT A GREAT DAY FOR YOUR NEW HIRE!

Best Practices for Onboarding
Once you get beyond the 1st day, then onboarding is on-going. Here is a list of organizational onboarding best practices to implement in your company:

  1. Implement the basics prior to the first day on the job.
  2. Make the first day on the job special.
  3. Use formal orientation programs.
  4. Develop a written onboarding plan.
  5. Make onboarding participatory.
  6. Be sure your program is consistently implemented.
  7. Ensure that the program is monitored over time.
  8. Use technology to facilitate the process.
  9. Use milestones, such as 30, 60, 90 and 120 days on the job—and up to one year post-organizational entry—to check in on employee progress.
  10. Engage stakeholders in planning - do not allow supervisors and managers to be MIA.
  11. Include key stakeholder meetings as part of the program.
  12. Be crystal clear with new employees in terms of objectives, timelines, roles, and responsibilities.

Human Resources Management Best Practices – Includes Onboarding
With the high cost of recruiting, interviewing and credentialing, successful onboarding is a critical part of any organization’s talent management strategy. The key is to engage important stakeholders and new employees in interactions that help them understand one another and how they interact over time. Remember, onboarding programs are not a one-time event but a long-term process. Whether your company is large or small, ask yourself: In my organization who owns the onboarding process as a whole and who controls various steps in the process?

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