When Onboarding Feels Like Being Thrown Overboard
You‘ve probably gone through a formal onboarding program that consists solely of sitting at a desk and being asked to read a handbook. Then you were left to sink or swim based on your own initiative or the skill and enthusiasm of your hiring manager.
After this “process,” you likely had a few opinions for HR on how to change the new hire integration program, such as:
- Information you needed
- Information you didn’t get
- What you needed to know at certain points in your development
- What would’ve made you productive more quickly
- What would’ve made you want to stay
- What drove you to leave
However, the reality is nobody asked. The company was trapped in its own bureaucracy. Why change what they think is and didn’t need your help to change what, after all, is working?
The Current Experience
Traditionally the new hire process consists of three distinct events. The size of the company and the complexity of the role will determine how long these events last or in many cases if they are combined. These events are:
Onboarding – The task driven process of getting the logistics of an employee set up. Benefits, email addresses, computer, etc.
Orientation – A day, a week, a morning which details for the new employee subjects such as company history, culture, key players within the company, do’s and don’ts, brief overviews of how to find information within the company.
Training – Either a formal training program or on the job training provided by the hiring manager and/or a training professional.
When each stage is complete HR can check a box. Check all three boxes and the new hire can be considered “onboard”.
For the new hire, however, these events are not distinct. Each event triggers numerous questions. If they don’t feel like the questions are answered, they either won’t get on board with the company mission, become an active contributor or stay with the organization.
The fundamental disconnect is that we have forgotten the why behind the onboarding process. It’s not to check a box and get employees enrolled in benefits. It’s to make them productive as quickly as possible and able to contribute to the company mission and goals. Along the way, it would also be nice to decrease their frustration and engage them in that mission.
The Shift to Integration
The challenge is to think of this critical time as an ongoing New Hire Integration program rather than a short moment in the tenure of the employee. For example, set up a program that lasts 6–9 months. Pair the new hire with a mentor through this timeframe and have monthly check-ins with each of them. Prepare easy to digest information on a timely basis that is pertinent to where they are in there employee life cycle. It should touch on all aspects of the new hire experience.
The question we’re left with is how do we do this? How do we enact change within our corporate environment? How do we set up a program that allows for changes and refinements? How do we set up a metrics platform to track success? How do we make this a 24/7 program that impacts every new hire?
Making the Shift to Integration
Our next blog will help you think about how to audit your current new hire experience and onboarding process. When we work with our clients to improve their new hire experience, we start by reviewing their current process from the employee perspective. We then identify actionable steps they can take and provide ideas and recommendations on how to better integrate new hires based on their findings.
Can’t wait for the next blog? You can always contact our experts here and get the help you need to make your new hire experience a fully integrated and empowering experience.