On-boarding is also known as organizational socialization. It refers to the mechanisms through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational insiders. Research has demonstrated that these socialization techniques lead to positive outcomes. This includes:
- Higher job satisfaction
- Better job performance
- Greater organization commitment
- Reduction in occupational stress
Effective on-boarding produces a competitive advantage and is a major contributor in Inspiring Employee Engagement.
Food for Thought: The Numbers
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation, as a part of their “Effective Practice Guidelines Series” published an article Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success, authored by Talya N. Bauer, PhD. Cited statistics include:
- Every year more than 25% of the working population experiences career transitions.
- Half of all senior hires failed within 18 months in a new position.
- Half of all hourly employees leave new jobs within the first 120 days.
- Research suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job.
- Industry standards indicate that turnover will cost between 6 and 9 months wages to secure and train a a replacement.
Element of Effective On-boarding
A list of many items can be included to compile an effective on-boarding system. I identify seven elements that should be included:
- Make it a priority – Let’s revisit the numbers, half of new employees leave within 18 months and it costs 50%-75% of their wages to replace them. This doesn’t account for the dispiriting effect on the company’s culture. Visible support from the top including participation as part of the process.
- Pay attention to the soft skills – Rich Karlgaard wrote The Soft Edge (2014) wherein he identifies 5 pillars of the Soft Edge which provides the company with human values and resilience. They are:
- Trust- the foundation of the soft edge. Companies that develop trust have a recruiting advantage, a retention advantage, and a productivity advantage.
- Smarts- supporting learning and developing a group of habits.
- Team- teamwork is vital
- Taste- the sweet spot between data truth and human truth.
- Story- companies that achieve lasting success have an appealing story.
- Enlist support and buy-in from the organization – It’s essential the expectation of cooperation in on-boarding new employees resonates in words and practice.
- Develop a system –There should be a formal system with a time line and events so the new hire understands the expectations and benefits of the process.
- Mentoring programs – A system component should include mentoring. Assessment tolls can be utilized to match the right parties to realize effectiveness.
- Goal alignment – the link between personal and professional goals is irrefutable, especially with Millennials. A goal setting program is an essential element of on-boarding.
- Ongoing training – which demonstrates a company’s commitment to the growth of its employees.
The cost of failure is far too high when it comes to employee turnover. I view it from both financial and cultural aspects. This is especially true with respect to new hires. The surest way to address this challenge is a process that goes beyond integration solely through the employee’s skill set. The process must also ingrain them into the culture of the company. This requires a top to bottom commitment, supported by quality programs, dedicated to on-board with purpose.