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Organizational Development

How to Create a Successful Onboarding Process for Your New Hires

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A successful onboarding process starts from the moment a job candidate accepts an offer from your company and can continue for several months in some cases. So, what is an effective onboarding process?

It's a planned process that helps a newly hired professional become acclimated with his position and your company. It allows him to ease into his role gradually, making it more comfortable to handle the transition while learning new things, understanding the business, melding into the company culture, and building relationships with other employees throughout the organization.

According to Dave Dart, Managing Partner of the Morisey-Dart Group, "The onboarding process for new hires should begin before their official start date. Communicating with them until the day they start shows you are thinking of them. Prove that you're expecting them by making sure even the simplest things are done--having a desk set up with files, an email account, relevant software programs with usernames and passwords, etc. Don't wait until they show up and then scramble around trying to get them situated. If you do, this will give a bad impression and they'll wonder what they got themselves into."

Unlike an employee orientation, a successful onboarding process should be a customized plan that meets the needs of the new hire and not only helps him outline early goals for his position, but helps him attain them. It requires the company to support him by giving him personal attention, being available for questions, and helping him throughout his initial phase of employment with your company.

It's important to involve management and other high-level company leaders in an effective onboarding process because it gives the employee the feeling of being valued if he has more of a connection with the company leadership. This creates a first-class onboarding process in the employee's mind and is essential to your organization if you want to secure him for the long-haul and get a return on your investment.

According to an article titled, Bringing Them Onboard by Lin Grensing-Pophal, and published on, Lilith Christiansen, vice president of Kaiser Associates Inc. in Washington, and co-author of Successful Onboarding, says, "From our client work as well as research on the topic, we definitely feel like onboarding is a great opportunity for an organization to create more value for the enterprise by investing up-front in the first year of a new hire's entry into the organization."

Successful Onboarding: It's All About Them--Not You

The traditional job orientation and onboarding processes have typically been about bringing a new hire in and focusing on the company's identity and immersing the new hire in its culture and procedures, while putting less emphasis on the new hire and what he brings to the table.

According to a recent research findings report titled, Breaking Them In or Revealing Their Best? Reframing Socialization Around Newcomer Self Expression (published by Harvard Business School, March 2012), authors Dan Cable, Francesca Gino, and Brad Staats said, "In a field experiment carried out in a large business process outsourcing company, we found that socialization  focused on personal identity (emphasizing newcomers unique perspectives and strengths) led to significantly greater customer satisfaction and greater employee retention after six months compared to socialization that focused on organizational identity (emphasizing pride from organizational affiliation) and the organizations traditional approach, which focused primarily on skills training."

While it's important for an organization to educate a new hire on company culture and should encourage him to be proud about his association with them, this research shows that when a larger part of onboarding focuses on the new hire's identity and makes him feel as though he has unique talents and skills that are valued by the company--it results in retaining a more content employee for a longer time.

All of these factors play a role in a successful onboarding process. They help a new employee form a healthy attitude toward your company that reinforces his commitment to you, and ultimately contributes to the longevity of his career with your business..



Dave Dart is the Managing Partner of the Morisey-Dart Group, an executive recruitment firm that specializes in recruiting for Managed Print Services (MPS), Managed IT Services, Document Management Solutions, Health Information Management (HIM), Health Information Systems (HIS), Banking and Financial Services, and Legal industries. He began his career in the executive recruiting business in 1999; his goal is to meet the needs of each company and job candidate by helping them make decisions that are mutually beneficial. Dave understands that finding and hiring the top-performing professionals in any industry is the most critical element to business success. 

Contact Dave by visiting his website



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