Onboarding: One Size Does Not Fit All


Having a formal Onboarding Program is a retention tool that makes a significant difference, especially when it comes to the first year of employment.  It really is so much more than just an Orientation, in that it fosters the cultural alignment of the new employee and organization.  However, an Onboarding initiative that does not consider where the employee stands in the lifecycle of work can crucially miss the mark.  This can result in wasted time for both the new employee and the organization and possibly leave big gaps for those that need a more targeted approach.

Here are some considerations when developing an Onboarding Program:

  1. Create different OB programs for new graduates, professionals with some experience, supervisors/managers and executives.  Anyone who supervises or manages people needs a more tailored approach as to how that looks in the new organization. For example, using a situational leadership approach makes the distinction between task and relationship and how that aligns with the needs of the employee.
  2. Identify a “new hire mentor” for each new employee.  For new executive leaders, a cultural “interpreter” is particularly valuable.  It’s perfectly acceptable to have debriefings on the organization’s culture. However, the interpreter clarifies the finer points which promotes a faster and more effective integration into the organization as a whole. 
  3. Use technology to monitor how much time each new employee spends reviewing the information.  If analysis shows the new employee is not spending enough time on that site, do a deeper dive to determine why and perhaps revamp the onboarding program to provide more value for the employees’ learning experience.
  4. Provide important onboarding information in bite-sized pieces and begin before the new hires start officially working.  This prevents information overload and gives the information at the right time and place.  Have the delivery vary to include videos, surveys, checklists, collaborative documents, polls, and other tools that would engage the learner. 
  5. Assessment is a big part of the onboarding process.  Along the way, collect information from the new employee’s experience by using a variety of approaches.  As mentioned earlier, technology is a great way to collect this data and information.  However, don’t forget the human touch and the one-on-one discussions are equally as important. 
  6. Get leadership involved from the beginning.  When an executive takes the time to meet the new employees, it sends the message that the leaders truly care about getting to know their employees and their overall well-being. This is vital in the onboarding process because it is something that the new employee truly never forgets.

These are but a few examples of how to enhance your Onboarding Program and create an environment that focuses on engagement and retention.  If you would like more information regarding our Organization Development and Talent Management Certification Programs, please contact us at info@instituteod.comwww.instituteod.com


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