All Aboard

October 26, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Last week I had lunch with a friend of mine who runs a marketing services company. He had been asked by one of his clients to prepare a series of videos of interviews with the CEO and other senior people for inclusion on the company’s intranet to introduce new hires to the people and culture of the organisation. The target market was primarily the new intake of graduates. I asked him what they did with the more senior hires to help them assimilate more effectively. “Nothing” was his reply. But surely, with the huge time and expense involved in the hiring of senior talent, this is surely a huge oversight and companies really should be investing in onboarding programmes for these people.

Onboarding is one of the best way to ensure that those people you have spent so much time attracting and wooing decide to stay with you. Employees who have gone through some sort of onboarding process (above and beyond the usual process of filling out paperwork and choosing benefit plans) report feeling better connected to their colleagues and to the company culture. This translates into a loyalty that keeps employees from turning down offers that tempt by simply offering higher salaries.

There are at least three reasons that Transition or Assimilation programmes are becoming popular.

1.      1.  They help new hires feel that they are part of a larger organisation and that they are important. By introducing new employees to senior management and by spending time to build in them an appreciation of the organisation’s past and future direction, these programmes create a sense of security and comfort.

2.      2.  They help convey the culture of the organisation so that decisions get made that are more in line with accepted practices and that help the company function more smoothly. When senior-level employees explain why decisions were made or how a result came about, they are also conveying the cultural values of the organisation. By building roots from the beginning, people flourish and understand better why things are the way they are.

3.     3.  They help new hires get up to speed and to be more productive. Some new hires take up to a year to reach full productivity, especially if their jobs depend on interacting with many other employees or in linking work from different parts of the firm. Inexperienced employees, such as graduates, can have long learning curves that can be significantly shortened and is where an internal social network or some other Internet-based tools can expedite their connections and bring different people with similar needs together. 

Most employee turnover is ultimately caused by the relationship (or lack of it) between managers and their teams, which makes the ability to assimilate new employees a core competence of managers. An employee’s immediate manager controls all career progression, educational opportunities, and the assignment of projects. So a manager who takes time to discuss issues with a new employee, who shows concern over that person’s assimilation, and who knows what the employee can do and wants to do, will make wiser decisions and build loyalty over time. Surveys show that the relationship with the manager is one of the most significant in an employee’s work life and the most effective onboarding programmes are good at is getting the manager to be part of the process in addition to the more informal one that happens every day.

We also involve the new person’s team in the process; they are also going through a period of rapid transition and it is vital that their opinions are also taken into account.

So, while the videos of the CEO/CFO and other key people is undoubtedly a step in the right direction and will accelerate the learning of all people in the organisation, for more senior hires, where there is a significant cost in not getting it right, a well-structured onboarding programme can radically reduce the amount of time it takes a senior hire to make a real contribution to the company.


Tags: Executive Coaching Transition Coaching Onboarding

Please add a comment

Posted by Loradae on
Knowledge wants to be free, just like these airtcles!
Posted by Vinny on
I'm impressed! You've managed the amolst impossible.
Posted by Lorena on
Woah nelly, how about them aplpes!
Posted by Lorena on
Woah nelly, how about them aplpes!
Posted by Lorena on
Woah nelly, how about them aplpes!
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