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Human Resources
Aug 1, 2014

On Boarding Isn’t Just About Traveling By Train

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Hoff - Chief Operating Officer and Executive VP of Leadership Development, EASI Consult

In my work, I’ve been asked before to explain what “on boarding” is and how it can help a company be seen as a desirable place to work. First, let me tell you about a study I read several years ago, which said that a new employee decides in the first week of employment whether to make a long-term commitment to an organization. 

Now Mr./Ms. Employer, let’s consider your newest employee, the person you determined was the one to hire from the 100 resumes that you reviewed, the 12 people you phone screened, and the six finalists that you brought in for day-long interviews. Your new employee was the candidate who best fit your requirements and the one your staff said was the person they wanted to work with. How are you going to ensure that her “entry” into your organization is going to be as exciting and positive as it can be? 

You can use on boarding to start her experience off right. On boarding is a formal process that some organizations use to “enculturate” new employees and accelerate their introduction into the organization.

Do you remember your first day in a new organization? You find your cubicle or office. Someone helps you get supplies. You find your way to the bathroom. Some of your colleagues take you out to lunch. Some people stop by your office and introduce themselves. I felt awkward, uncomfortable and dependent on everyone for everything. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know how to get anything done, at least not in this organization. I couldn’t wait for the first day to be over so I would have it behind me and could start “learning the ropes” of how to do things in this new place.

What if your “induction” into your new organization began as soon as you signed and returned your offer letter? Typically there is a period of two weeks from the time a person resigns from one job until they begin work at a new job. What if all your paperwork, payroll and benefits information was completed before you showed up for work at the new job? What if your new boss assigned you a mentor before you started and you either talked by telephone or met with him before your start date? What if someone sent you background reading on the company, its values, and a welcome video from the CEO to watch before you showed up on your first day?

Then on the morning of your first day, your boss comes into your office and gives you a schedule of what he wants you to do for the next 90 days.  It starts with today and what you are supposed to do and what the objectives are for the day. He wants to meet with you at the end of Day 1 and find out what you learned. Every hour of every day for the first week are laid out with objectives. Your boss wants to meet with you at the end of Week 1 and discuss what you’ve learned. That meeting also is an opportunity to affirm what you thought you learned or modify your thoughts if you missed something. 

You will have weekly meetings with your mentor to ask questions and discuss what you’ve learned. Once a week you will meet with your other team members to debrief on what you have learned. It is a chance to get their perspectives on things and for them to get a fresh perspective of the organization that they can’t see objectively. The whole idea of an on boarding schedule and process is to accelerate how quickly you can contribute to the organization.

It takes a lot of thought and time to put together an on boarding program. Parts of the program can be reused, but a good part of the program should be unique to each person. How would you feel as a new employee if your employer put that kind of time and attention on you from the time you returned your offer letter? I would be impressed and feel an obligation to do my very best.

I have written before in Insights about employee engagement. I have said it is defined as being psychologically present and giving discretionary effort. An employee who gets this kind of attention from before Day 1 is going to be motivated, engaged and fully productive faster. What is not to like about on boarding?

EASI·Consult® works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. EASI Consult’s specialties include individual assessment, online employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about EASI Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email [email protected] or call 800.922.EASI.

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