Here’s Your Desk… The Art of Onboarding
Onboarding | Shoes on Welcome Mat
September 5, 2016

Research and conventional wisdom suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in their new jobs. The faster new employees feel welcome and prepared for these jobs, the faster they will be able to contribute to the organization’s mission. So, why is it that, in most organizations, the welcome mat leads directly to the employee’s desk with the hope that he/she will catch on quickly and produce great results?

But, who has time for more than a Quick Welcome?

In today’s work environment, the challenge of identifying and acquiring new talent is all-consuming. And, once we have hired new talent, we are quick to move on to the next open req. We rarely consider the time and money resources we have dedicated to our new hires and how quickly this investment is lost if we don’t do much more to assimilate them.

Showing them their desk and introducing them to a few coworkers falls very short of assimilation! Do something to let them know that you are excited to have them join your organization. The typical New Hire Orientation will not accomplish this!

What’s the difference between Orientation and Onboarding?

New Hire Orientation typically focuses on benefits elections and the organization’s policies and procedures. While these are critical for new employees, they do very little to assist the new hire in understanding the organization’s big picture: client profile, products and services, key business initiatives.

These big picture components begin to focus the new employee on his/her critical role in support of the organization’s success.

Why bother to Onboard?

With millennial employees changing jobs more frequently than other generations and wanting to have a voice in business decisions, it is critical to ensure that they not only understand their position and accountabilities, but also that they are fully aware of the organization’s strategy and its culture in order to encourage their full commitment.

So, bothering to Onboard is a critical retention strategy.

So, what is an effective Onboarding process?*

The key elements of successful Onboarding include 4 C’s:

  1. Clarification-a study of employees in both the US and UK found that businesses lose an estimated $37 billion annually as a results of employees not understanding their jobs.
  2. Compliance-basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
  3. Culture-provides employees with a sense of cultural norms-both formal and informal.
  4. Connection-according to one estimate, 60% of managers who fail to onboard successfully cite failure to establish key connection for their new hires with other employees as a primary reason for this failure.

So, what’s in it for your organization?

Among the benefits of a formal, structured Onboarding process are:*

  1. Increased job satisfaction (53%)-by jumpstarting work relationships
  2. Increased job performance (60%)-by clarifying performance objectives and results expectations. Estimates are that employees who have been successfully onboarded become fully productive 2 months sooner that those who have not.
  3. Increased retention (52%)-by providing support through feedback, coaching and follow-up

To learn more about successful Onboarding, join us for the next 30-minute webinar in our free Small Bites series on Thursday, September 22 at 12:00 PM. Click here to register.

*Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success, Talya N. Bauer, Ph. D, SHRM Foundation, 2016

Cheryl Chester

Cheryl Chester


With 25+ years HR experience, Cheryl's focus includes leadership development, OD, performance management, employee engagement, and succession planning.


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KardasLarson is a human resources and business consulting firm that maximizes employee performance so people and organizations prosper.



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