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October 9, 2013

Essay on On-boarding

The process of onboarding cannot be termed as an exercise in futility because it serves to further the aims and objectives of the organization. Research reveals that attitudes and beliefs that newly-inducted candidates form toward their organization usually very early and may remain somewhat steady emphasizing the significance of inculcating positive attitudes early in an employee’s relation with a company (Bauer & Green, 1994; Wanous, 1976).
One study at Texas Instruments found that employees whose orientation process was cautiously concentrated to reach “full productivity” two months earlier than those whose orientation process was not showed better performance.(Ganzel, 1998).
The onboarding helps in increasing the employee engagement. The 65% of all employees who took part in a structured onboarding program could be predicted to stay with their company even after three years in contrast to those who did not attend the program.(Ganzel, 1998)
He also referred to another study conducted at Ernst & Young according to which the new employees who involved themselves in the carefully designed orientation were two times more likely to stay with the company for more than two years. 
It has often been observed that the companies who utilize their time and resources in conducting onboarding programs enjoy the greatest levels of employee engagement. (Hewitt, 2003)
The onboarding process also reduces turnover. Hunter Douglas discovered that by ensuring advancement in their onboarding process, they were able to trim down their turnover from an astounding 70% at six months, to 16% (Hammonds, 2005). At Designer Blinds, an Omaha based manufacture of window blinds, upgrading the onboarding process played a pivotal role in bringing down the turnover from 200% annually to fewer than 8% (Lee, 2006).
The effectiveness of the onboarding programs is unquestionable. A recent survey carried out by Korn/Ferry discovered that only 30% of global executives contacted expressed satisfaction over their employer’s onboarding process for the newly inducted personnel. 38% of them ranked their employer’s process as only average. Of more than 100 executives –from senior managers to CEOs – interviewed over a two-year period, only 39% were satisfied with their organization’s efforts to integrate them (Wells, 2005).
In another survey, when the one-third of the companies were interviewed it was discovered that they all had in place no formal process to oversee, monitor, or coordinate onboarding activities. The majority of the respondents were unaware of the consistency in terms of onboarding.
Variable onboarding practices apply as well as the starting point for the onboarding process. Only less than half of the interviewed expressed satisfaction over the onboarding process their respective companies had put in place.(Taleo, 2006)
There are also some glaring mistakes associated with the companies who take on the project of onboarding. One mistake is that a vast majority of newcomers fallaciously try to “cram 20 hours of information into four mind-numbering hours (Lee, 2006).
Onboarding is treated as being a check list when on the contrary; it should be analyzed as an integrated process.  At times, there is an undefined ownership of onboarding tasks between human resource staff and hiring managers. The best companies ideally employ a manger who is responsible to oversee and supervise the onboarding process.
Many organizations mistakenly believe that the newly-hired managers have all what it takes in terms of their understanding and social skills to fully tap the organizational network themselves. This is the reason why they do not feel the need to spend time on introducing the new managers around. On the contrary, many managers find it way difficult to approach the new colleagues on their own without the support and encouragement from the management and the framework for learning.
The big picture should be overlooked for a while. As a matter of fact, employees want to feel valued, respected and significant. One of the key factors involved in the process of onboarding is the creation of a clear and well-defined line of strategy. The purpose of this is to reveal how the employee’s work can contribute to the nourishment of the larger interests and profits of the company.
Insecurity should be inspired and defensive stance created. “You come in and sit down in monumentally uncomfortable chairs and are bombarded with papers, rules, policies…you know those ‘this is how you get fired’ sort of comments……You sign and sign and sign more papers than if you were buying a house…and then you walk out thinking ‘man, I hope I don’t get fired, but at least I know how to get fired’” (Lee, 2006).
Confusion occurs when the companies attempt to protect themselves against their own employees. It only leads to other tensions instead of inculcating enthusiasm among the new employees. Many new leaders are chosen for their technical proficiency instead of their motivation or will to succeed. They often are unable to comprehend the prime distinction between an individual contributor and a leader (i.e., getting things done through others rather than doing it themselves).
This places a requirement on leaders to keep up efficient working relationships with an ample range of people in the organization (Concelman & Burns, 2006).
Sometimes there is an abundance of overconfidence in skills and experience on the part of employees. Organizations commonly induct overly self-assured leaders. New leaders perpetually conclude their new positions as accomplished managers. They frequently have a “been there, done that” mentality in regards to leadership transition (Wells, 2005). One common lock-in for new managers is to come up with a single answer – to presume that a universal fix can attend to complex and varied organizational problems.
Sometimes employees attempt to do too much. In the first six months, the new leaders should motivate people and center them on solving the most significant problems of the business.
It is important that employees reach momentum building amid transition. Witnessing tangible enhancements in how the work is being carried out serves to increase motivation and paves the way for further experimentations.(Ciampa & Watkins, 1999).
Early wins call for identifying substantial problems that can be dealt with quickly. Nevertheless, many new leaders try to do too many things at once. They try to disseminate the impression that winners are vigorous, quick having an innate ability to deal with various challenges at the same time.  However, this trap implies that the organization is confused and overwhelmed.
With priorities being unclear and vague, the leader may tend to reel from Attention Deficit Disorder.
Negative credibility is another impediment in the way. “Once you start off in a negative vein with stakeholders, it’s very hard to turn that around” (Wells, 2005). The new leader cannot hope to see his or her efforts bear fruit without first building personal credibility and productive working relationships. Key constituencies must come to believe that the new leader can lead the company to a desirable future before giving their loyalty.
Onboarding is just one part of the recurring gamut in the management of talent. It cannot be said to be a standalone or liner activity. Done well, and integrated into an organization’s talent management system, onboarding poses an easy business process improvement that can reap great returns (Taleo, 2006).
First impressions produce enduring impressions. Recruitment hard work brings about possible hires to your door. Clearly, how well your organization manages the interview process will determine whether the candidate takes the position. It also provides the candidate with an initial (and long-term) impression of your organization.
The onboarding program should be extended to at least the first six month. It gives an amount of time that an employee takes to make his or her decision to remain at (or leave) a company.
The automated process for employee onboarding is a sane choice. Organizations must make the most of technology. In this regard, intranet portals should be created and web-based tools be in place to allow for new managers to have access to a centralized site to search for key information. The activities of a new manager should be kept in mind and proper arrangements should be made for that matter. Overwhelming managers should be avoided at all cost.
Mapping out the new manager’s network is another option in this regard. Networking with other leaders in the organization, both new and seasoned, is one of the finest options to assist new leaders in building relationships with their peer group. People should be identified with whom the new manager would share responsibilities. Efficient onboarding programs accentuate the significance of building relationships and supply prepared and well-grounded networking opportunities and support. Some organizations make the most of “buddy programs” that pair new leaders with a peer of the same demographic characteristics or interests. Others organize meetings with veteran leaders to assist the new leaders in achieving leadership and organizational savvy, as well as to build their network at the same time.
Early experiences are significant. If new hires grow the feeling they are just a number, they will act that way. On the other hand, if new hires feel welcomed and valued from the onset, they are more likely to act in ways that provide value. Research recommends that one of the keys to early orientation is creating a clear line of sight that shows how the new employee’s work contributes to the overall success of the company (Friedman, 2006). The company’s vision and mission should be projected in a positive vein.
The feeling that the newcomers are a valuable asset should be inculcated and they should be informed that they help make that greatness happen.  In order to make onboarding a successful project, Human Resource department should be considered a vital part of it. Therefore HR is in an exclusive position to provide tools, training, and feedback, it must be involved in all stages – from before the selection process begins through the onboarding process and beyond (Wells, 2005).
A transition coach should used as well. A solid plan and roadmap should offered to the new leader with an ability to steer through the challenges of the transition. A coach serves as a sounding board to help the executive in indentifying the new situation and assessing his or her own skills. The coach also helps the new leader in assessing and building the team as well as achieving configuration with not only the boss, but with the strategy, structure, and systems of the larger organization. At Johnson & Johnson, three types of transition are available for both executives making internal moves and those coming from outside the company. The New Business Leader Program is for senior executives who are moving from a functional responsibility to a more-complex job. The Transitions Leadership Forum is for vice presidents and executive vice presidents who are taking on new functional roles. The Transitions Coaching Program works closely with executives in new roles on a one-on-one basis and involves HR directly. A study evaluated the impact of the transition program at a Fortune 50 company and reported the overall impact to be $88 million over a three-year period. This translated into a total return on investment of 1,400% (Bossert, 2004).
There should be always a design in place for the onboarding activities from the perspective of the new manager. While making decisions about how to structure the onboarding process, they ways to welcome the new hires, to introduce them to their team members and the company as a whole each choice should be considered through the lens of “what kind of experience does this choice create?”   When “thinking experience,” ask two questions. One, what emotional take-away does the onboarding process create? And two, what perceptual take-away does the onboarding process create? Careless onboarding evokes confusion, frustration, boredom, annoyance, anxiety, insecurity, disappointment, and regret. Effective onboarding makes the newcomers feel welcome, comfortable, secure, valued, important, proud, excited, and confident.
The majority of online onboarding solutions offer a new-employee portal, a forms management component and a task management function to facilitate communication with other internal departments. Most are offered through a hosted, software-as-a-service model; some are available as a stand-alone solution, while others are provided as an add-on to applicant tracking or performance management systems.
Content can be customized to reflect the company's brand, structure and unique needs. During the implementation phase--which can take two to six months, depending on complexity--the employer can set up parameters to tailor the onboarding experience based on the job type and location: New hires and their managers see only the fields, forms and tasks relevant to their positions. Forms management modules include electronic signature and archiving capabilities and, in some cases, an automatic interface with E-Verify, the federal government's online system for I-9 verification.
Task management functions automatically create custom task fists for the new hire, recruiter, hiring manager and other players, complete with due dates and e-mail reminders. The recruiter or hiring manager can then track progress to ensure that key tasks, such as establishing security and systems access and procuring a phone and computer, are complete before the new hire's first day. Most employers establish a 30- to 45-day window for completion of tasks; however, some onboarding systems can accommodate up to a year's worth of tasks, including steps such as mentoring sessions, employee training and periodic performance reviews.
Onboarding provides a reliable and quick to the delicate issue of integration. And employees have the tools and knowledge they need to effectively fulfill their mission...the benefits are twofold, for himself and for the future of the company. With Onboarding, companies can make new employees more quickly by integrating operational quickly and fully to their new environment. In terms of costs, an effective integration represents a drop from a high turnover and recruitment costs recurring.
Onboarding with the program you can automate the flow of information and reduce paperwork pre-fill forms with the appropriate information on new employees. It automates the assignment of training and development for new hires. This process involves employees in the ambitious development plans. 
It effectively communicates expectations and objectives and keeps
track of employees during the integration process.  Management tools for the formation of onboarding provide an answer to the complex surrounding the management, monitoring, development and orientation of new employees.
The solution ensures that new hires are automatically incorporated into appropriate programs and policy development based on their date of hire of their position, their division, etc. They are enrolled automatically when they are hired, newcomers orientation courses through the integration of Web services and management systems, human resources (HRIS).
Onboarding enables you to replace manual paper processes and tedious a fully automated forms management to enable new employees to be quickly operational.
Onboarding provides each employee with access to a personalized portal on which they can learn the required documents and access to development programs and guidance for newcomers in the business. The new employees have immediate access to centralized key policy documents.
They can learn the necessary forms and online access at any time to development resources and training. It positions the new arrivals on the right path of development and increase communication about expectations and roles. With onboarding, companies are able to correlate the initial integration process and management process and strategic planning for long-term development.


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