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01.07 – Onboarding

01.07 - Onboarding
Well here we are again on the talent pipeline and we’re moving to day one, the first day on the job. You have selected the best for your position now. And we want to assure they get their right start. The right start even before day one.
Why is onboarding so important? It’s the process of indoctrination and assimilation. It’s where you’re able to transfer the culture of the organization to the person who is joining. The skills and knowledge that they’ll need.
What they need to know to get the work done that is at hand. We know that having a very, very well-designed program. Specifically for the job. Will increase engagement. It will increase the retention. It will increase their level of positivity. We don’t wanna return to that old school mentality of they’re onboard and they’ll learn it, it’s osmosis. We want to keep them there. We spent a lot of time and money getting them there. We want to engage them. And we want them to be productive on day one. The data is quite startling. It’s almost shocking. The first day is critical. I still remember my job interview 40 years ago with my company.
I’d interviewed with each of the big three automobile companies at that time. I had three job offers. I only remember that two of them never showed me where I would be working, or what I actually would be doing. I didn’t know what the day in my life at work was gonna look like. The one I went with, right after the face-to-face interview, handed me a hard hat and a pair of safety glasses, and took me into their foundry. It was hot. It was dirty. It was dusty. It had molten iron pouring all around me.
I think they were looking, they were looking to see how I was going to react, just as much as I was looking to see what was work really going to be like. And the man who would be my boss asked, how would you like to clean this place up? I was hooked. I was hooked by the superb interviewing. By the selection process, but mostly I was hooked at the ability that they had to show me what life would be like if I went with them.
And the first day of the job, including the first week, the first three months, they were scheduled. They were a tremendous learning, a learning activity every day. And connecting with all the people that I would need to help me design and build ventilation systems that would clean the place up.
Let me refresh. The first day on the job, I was given a book. Today it would be online and it showed me what I needed to learn, how I would learn, where I would go, what I would do, who I would meet. To help me to be the most productive that I could be. The first 180 days are critical to the engagement that someone feels. I felt connected day one. In fact I felt connected even before day one. Even though I was the only woman in a sea of 200 men who I worked with that were all around me. And I know this will sound funny to most of you.
I didn’t even know I was a girl, because I was connected to the vision, the mission, the work that I had to do to clean the place up.
There are many reasons that people leave positions. If we look at the data, we’ll see that lack of clear job guidelines leads the way in reasons why people leave. They’re confused, they’re frustrated. They don’t know what to do. And next comes a lack of training, or effective training, to get their job done.
What next follows is a lack of recognition. I don’t mean money. I don’t mean rewards that way. I mean recognizing people for doing a good job, having a great idea.
And next comes attention. Attention from bosses, attention from co-workers. Remember what I said about my recent student who had been hired and wasn’t getting the attention that she needed from a new boss. A boss who wasn’t even answering emails, to answer her questions so she could get to the onboarding process to the first day.
We have to make sure that we set the environment in the right way that is welcoming, it is engaging. It gives people the right information they need to make decisions. And the decision we want them to make is to stay in our organization. We want them to have all the positive reasons to continue to produce at a high level. That’s why onboarding is really important. The best onboarding that I have seen in my career has been in a company in Europe. They made sure that all of the legal forms and things people had to sign were done ahead of time. Were done before day one. They were done online for the most part.
And the person was given, the new hire person, was given a buddy. A buddy, an onboarding buddy. An onboarding buddy who had a family that was matched to the employee. Matched because they came out of the same job area or the new employee was gonna work in the same area as the buddy. They were matched for similar age. They were matched for their family structure. Even having children of the same close ages. The computer and everything the employee needed was there on day one when they arrived.
This is a big problem in many companies. People arrive on the job and the tools that they need to do their job are not in fact there, ready for them to operate. Everything needs to be on their desk. Or in the area where they’re going to work.
In addition, in this particular company, everything was planned, very similar to what I had experienced. Although, it was planned on the computer, there were schedules, and there were selected training. There were meals and breaks and selected meetings that they had to attend. The vision, and the values and the expectations that the company, the department, the team had for this particular person were all laid out ahead of time. There were even planned discussions with the boss, with peers, with direct reports, that were happened at strategic points. In the process of onboarding. There were welcoming celebrations. There were little gifts.
Every few days, they got some new logo material, t-shirts, things that welcomed them in to be part of the team, and there was also reflection, tremendous reflection built into the planned onboarding. This is what I call, full body onboarding. And it was very, very powerful.
I would like you to tell us about how you were onboarded to your last position. Your last job. What engaged you day 1, day 30, day 180? What frustrated you? What disappointed you? What training did you get?
Create a story of that onboarding experience. Maybe a paragraph or two. Put everything into it. What delighted you? What made you know you’d made the right choice? You were in the right place at the right time for you Or not. Create that story. Write it down. Then go back and re-read it.
How could you make that onboarding experience better? In your team or your company. What actions could you take to improve what you lived through when you were last onboarded?
Now before I leave you, I want to recap a little bit about what we’ve learned. In the recruiting, selection and onboarding portions of the talent pipeline. Remember? Strategy is always first. What result do you want to create.
What will add value? What will move your company forward? Strategy, it’s always first. And what are the positions that you’ll need to have in your team or your company to move your strategy forward? What skills and abilities do the people who will fill those positions need to have? How are you gonna get them there, how are you gonna attract them to you? You have to determine your recruitment brand. And you have to plan the whole recruitment process. To be able to create a robust pool of candidates. You have to know where to look to find the right candidates. You have to rely on the data.
Your HR planning data, as well as all of the different places that you can find or have found great employees in the past.
And you have to create that structured behavioral interviewing plan.
That will really inform how you select the most capable people likely to perform best for you in your culture. But don’t forget, you have to start onboarding even before day one. And onboard people using the best practices that we have talked about.
Good luck. Keep onboard the talent pipeline.
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Managing Talent

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