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4 Steps to On-Boarding Excellence


BlogCLA.ManTaxi By Mark Griffin

Many leaders think that the reason turnover has decreased is because of the bad economy. That’s not entirely accurate. As the 2012 Allied Workforce Survey shows, on average, organizations typically lose fully 25 percent of all new hires within the first year.

Concerned? You should be. The average cost to recruit a single new employee is well over $12,000, and that figure does not reflect the time spent or the decrease in morale as the search drags on. Since the rate of turnover is potentially the highest during the first year, let’s take a closer look at one way we can stop the hemorrhage.

There is a misperception shared by many of today’s leaders that orientation and on-boarding are essentially one and the same. They are not. Simply stated, orientation comprises the tactical tasks to complete in order to get an employee ready to get to work, for example, computer login registration, physical building access, facility tours, and a basic HR overview of policies such as benefits and the employee handbook.

So, how is on-boarding different? On-boarding is assimilating your new employee to the culture of your organization. It is about introducing your new employee to your organization’s values, its norms, providing a recipe that lists the ingredients of what makes up your company’s culture, and how they can blend effectively with them to create a desirable end product, leading to the greater success of your organization as a whole.

Want to create an effective on-boarding program? Consider these 4 steps.

Step #1: Use a Focus Group

Create a focus group that consists of the most recent six people you hired. These are the individuals who best know what does and doesn’t work— they’ve just lived through it! Task the focus group facilitator with developing a list of items that should be included in the on-boarding program. And, once your HR leader develops the final program, schedule the focus group to meet again to ensure the legitimacy of the program.

Step #2:  Build Employee Development into the Process

Ensure job description review, refinement, and updating are all a part of your process. Have every new employee consult with co-workers and corresponding leaders to update their job description so that they have full ownership. Have them present to their leader the key areas of development for promote-ability based on future career assignments. Get them thinking about their own development now, not after they tire of their position.

Step #3: Build in Key Meetings with Various Stakeholders

Arrange for new employees to meet with a different manager in separate departments several times over the course of some months. Earlier in my career, I helped build in a process at the Quaker Oats Company where all new employees or transferees would go to lunch with different department managers and several members of their department. It is a fantastic way for new employees to feel part of the Mission of the organization.

Step #4: Ensure New Employees Own the Process

Create a checklist for employees to follow and update going forward. Have them meet with their manager twice a month to discuss how the process is working. Ensure participation is built into their 90-day review. Holding them accountable will ensure they take an active role in the process.

One thing is for sure—most organizations have veered away from progressive HR programs in the last several years, losing time and money, as well as valuable employees.

Isn’t it time you started focusing on the fundamentals and take the time to bring your people on board correctly? After all, people are your most valuable resource. It’s one of the best investments you can make in the long-term success of your organization.

What on-boarding programs have you had success with?

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 ?Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. You can also read much more about why Mark took his approach to HR HERE. In addition you can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

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Comments

5 responses to “4 Steps to On-Boarding Excellence”

  1. Dave Copeland says:

    Great points, very helpful, especially employee ownership. Too many false expectations are created when companies onboard new employees. Employees tend to take away the wrong messages if the onboarding is only owned by the HR team or leadership. It really sets the stage right away that we all have a part to play in any organization, whether you are new or have tenure.

    • tamiheim says:

      i totally agree Dave. I have seen the difference it makes in both the for profit and nonprofit worlds. It is a best practice that works! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Excellent post, Mark! Turnover is a huge momentum killer. Not only is there the cost of recruiting a replacement, but there’s the strain from being short staff, time involved in training, and lower productivity as the new person climbs the learning curve.

    Assimilating a new team member into the culture of the organization is huge! I have new staff read through a couple of books that are an important part of the way we do things and discuss them with me over the course of their first couple of months. We also try to do staff social activities – sometimes just staff, sometimes staff & families – so personal relationships are fostered.

  3. Thanks Paul, Dave and Tami- – Appreciate your thoughts.

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