Have you ever started at a new organization and been plunked down at your new desk, handed a bunch of policies and told to “have at it?” Well maybe that is a little extreme, but what we do know for fact is that many organizations do not much more than show and tell, hoping that their new hire is a good swimmer! In this weeks Power Idea, Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham helps us to understand what real onboarding is…and is not. Read on!

Titles change with the times. Is it New Employee Orientation or is it Onboarding? Does it really matter what it’s called? No, not really. What matters is what happens and more importantly what doesn’t happen. No one, whether it’s an entry level position or the CEO of an organization comes to work on their first day and wants to fail. No one shows up with the goal that they’re not going to do the best job possible or that they want to mess up the unit, division or the company.

The cost of hiring a new employee averages several times their salary and it takes approximately 5-6 months of full-time employment for an employee to gradually become 100% productive. So failing to correctly onboard a new employee will cost the company significantly, both in time and money. Onboarding an employee by following a process can reduce not only time, but costs and many times the employee can become productive in about 90 days, depending on the complexity of their role.

What is new employee onboarding? Onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as giving a new hire the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team. Onboarding helps new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their jobs.

Finding the best candidate for positions in your organization by using HPISolutions’ patented Job Benchmark process is only part of building an effective team. The process of onboarding new employees can be one of the most critical factors in ensuring recently hired talent will be productive and maybe even more important… they will feel fulfilled. Orientation and onboarding are not the same. While orientation such as paperwork and other routine tasks may be necessary, onboarding is a comprehensive process that involves management and other employees and can take up to 12 months to complete. Of course the time it takes depends on the size and complexity of the organization and how and where the employee’s job fits, along with the technical aspects.

So let’s set the stage. Before implementing any type of onboarding process, it is critical to answer the following questions.
1. When will onboarding start?
2. How long will it last?
3. What impressions do you want new hires to walk away with at the end of the first day?
4. What do new employees need to know about the culture and work environment?
5. What role with HR play in the process? What role will direct managers play in the process? What role will co-workers play in the process?
6. What goals do you want to set for the new employee?
7. How will you gather feedback on the program? How will you measure success?

Some companies use the Darwinism approach, sink or swim or even worse, only the strong survive. However, if you want to ensure:
* Better job performance
* Greater commitment to the organization
* Reduced stress
* Higher job satisfaction
* Better retention and cost savings

Then, the minute you’ve made the decision to hire an employee the onboarding process begins.

Once you as the manager and HR have answered these questions, you can set up a plan of action to help your new employee quickly assimilate company policies and workflow while getting fully acquainted with the organization’s culture. In other words, you can assist them with a successful start to their career with your organization.

In the next Power Idea we will look at what should take place during the first day to ensure a successful onboarding process for a new hire.