The tide goes out and the tide comes in

Last month we discussed the great resignation wave. If you missed it, here it is: The great resignation wave. We all know that when waves come in, they also have to go out. As organisations and as leaders, while we prepare for an exodus of employees, we also need to prepare for the employment of new team members. And while in the past recruitment was a relatively steady and constant organisational activity, most organisations are now planning for significant lifts in recruitment activity in the coming months and into 2022. Additionally, the tight talent market is making it even more critical to attract, engage and retain the right employees to ensure both short- and long-term business success.

Whenever a new employee joins an organisation there is excitement, relief and sometimes a little fear. Generally, the employer, but more specifically the manager, is excited to have finally found that amazing person to fill their vacancy. There are high expectations but some apprehension as personal reputation is at risk and there may be some anxiety that the candidate will turn out not to be as good as they seemed in the interview.

The new starter is usually thrilled to have found their dream job in an incredible organisation but they, too, are likely to have some fear. They don’t know anyone, they have to learn new systems and processes, and they can only hope that the job, manager and team meet the expectations set during the interview process. Sadly, this is not always the case.

Research shows that investing in onboarding fast-tracks performance, productivity and long-term engagement in the following ways.

  • There is an 87% lift in new hire proficiency. (1)
  • The likelihood that employees will stay longer than three years increases by 69%. (1)
  • 77% of employees meet their first performance milestones. (4)

When the cost of replacing an employee is estimated to be anywhere between 30% to 213% of their annual remuneration, and given that 90% of employees decide when they will start looking for a new role within the first six months at a job, (3) it pays to invest in effective onboarding. (2)

But not all onboarding is the same. There are three main types

  1. Organisational onboarding or induction. This refers to the basics of starting in a new organisation, including filling in all the employment forms, being allocated a desk, computer and phone, completing all HR compliance training and getting the tour. For some more sophisticated induction programs, this might also include meeting with different stakeholders, completing product or service training or even meeting with senior leaders to get a better understanding of the culture and values of the business.
  2. Technical onboarding. This is the on-the-job, do-the-job onboarding. This would generally be completed by the manager, direct reports and peers, who share all the information and knowledge required to do the job. The goal is to get the employee up to speed and productive as soon as possible.

  3. Social onboarding. We believe that this is the most crucial – and yet most often forgotten –type of onboarding. This is where the employee learns how to operate within this new organisation and culture, including how to get things done, the culture beyond the words on the wall and how to thrive.

Organisational onboarding is the ticket to play and getting started, technical onboarding is what needs to be done in the job, and social onboarding focuses on how to get things done, fit in and thrive.

The key elements of a robust social onboarding program include:

  1. Getting the basics right. On the first day, or even before this, get the basics right. Someone should be appointed to meet and introduce the new starter on day one, and their desk or office should be set up with a computer and any other equipment they will need. Their email address, passwords and logins should be sorted, and someone should also be available to take them to the best lunch venue.
  2. Development and implementation of detailed 90-day plan. This plan needs to be developed to meet the specific needs of the individual new starter and the organisation. It requires commitment and sponsorship from the direct line manger to be effective and successful.
  3. Training. All the tools, systems and processes for effective work practices should be made available. This should include product and service training, training on the organisation’s systems, and a review of processes, procedures and documentation. Not knowing where or how to find the right documents or, even worse, being told that this is not how we do it here can be very frustrating and de-motivating.
  4. Cultural and team assimilation. This involves getting to know the key stakeholders and team members – not just what they do but who they are and how everyone will work together effectively. Building an understanding of the operational culture of an organisation and how it really works is vital to the new starter’s success.
  5. Role and code of conduct clarity. What are the specific requirements of the role, and the employee’s KPIs, responsibilities and areas of accountability? What will be the meeting and communication rhythm between the new starter, their manager and their team? How does everyone work together as a team? What are the team expectations and codes of conduct?
  6. Getting personal. Great onboarding programs include time for employees to build rapport and to get to know each other. Peer-to-peer mentoring or buddy systems can be effective but only if the peers or buddies genuinely want to help the new starter. Make time to find out about the new person – not just what they have done and can do, but who they are.
  7. Regular check-ins. Regular check-ins, ideally daily, from the manager as well as at least one meeting with the manager’s manager over the first few weeks is highly recommended.
  8. Finally, be welcoming. This person is coming to the party alone and with no friends. Go out of your way to make them feel welcome and to reinforce that they have made the right decision.

Working in conjunction with a number of organisations, Peeplcoach has just launched its Social Onboarding Program. Book a time with the team if you would like to find out more 



Further Reading