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Employee Induction and Onboarding

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When recruiting new employees, whether permanent, temporary, casual, fixed term contracts, full-time or part-time, employers often do not consider how this new employee is inducted and "onboarded" in the business. One hopes that the onboarding is not limited to a "here's your desk and PC" on the first day and "you will work out the rest" but is a more considered and strategic approach.

A new employee is like an investment being made of his or her annual salary PLUS direct on-costs PLUS overheads TIMES the expected number of years of employment. How does an employer accelerate and maximise the "Return on this Investment" whilst also ensuring that a new employee is engaged and satisfied in their new role thus potentially improving productivity, retention, customer service and morale?

My September 2014 audio recording on this topic from Chartered Accountants Business in Focus is here(9 mins 11 secs - Copyright 2014: Business Essentials Pty Ltd ABN 73 658 681 585)

A global guru in onboarding, Michael Watkins of Harvard University, has indicated that a new employee can take up to six months after being hired to add value to a business. In the initial months, they will ordinarily consume value as they find their way through the company and role before commencing to deliver value in later months. However, this assumes that the new employee is the right hire in the first place with the right combination of behaviours, competencies and experience to do the job - and is then provided with an appropriate induction and onboarding in the initial months of employment.
It is therefore important for an employer to invest sufficient time in job specification, recruitment, induction, onboarding and feedback processes to accelerate the realization of this value. Many employers, particularly in the SME sector, do not invest enough time in any of these stages with the result that new employees sometimes do not deliver their potential value quickly or maybe ever.

To maximize the value to both the employer and employee, best practice is that there are some distinct processes applied:

  1. A clearly defined job specification that sets out the scope, responsibilities, reporting lines,objectives and key performance indicators of the role. This job specification should ideally be developed after appropriate competency modelling (eg Lominger Leadership Architect) for the demands of the role 
  2. A behavioral interview process, rather than just a chat, to ensure the candidate has the appropriate attitudes, behaviours, competencies and experience to both perform the role and "fit in" 
  3. The use of appropriate personality, values and behavioural assessments to ensure "fit" and an identification of any potential gaps or misalignments for the requirements of the role
  4. A detailed induction process in the initial week and month that covers off company policies, workplace health and safety and introductions to colleagues, customers and suppliers
  5. An ongoing onboarding process over the probation period and as long thereafter as required. This requires construction of a plan which could include:
    • appropriate online and face to face to training, whether one to one or in groups;
    • internal or external regular meetings, formal and informal, with the employee to discuss progress and dealing with any issues;
    • reference back to attributes and behaviours identified in the personality, values and behavioral assessments undertaken as part of the recruitment process
    • and documentation and clarification of any updated objectives, understanding of company policies, new people to meet etc
  6. Ongoing feedback including at least by the halfway point and by the end of the probation process 
  7. Continuation of this process after probation has concluded to ensure timely and constructive performance management feedback.
Deliberately and strategically undertaking these steps should assist the employer to gain the most from the time and dollar investment in the the new employee whilst enhancing value and job satisfaction from the new employee. Not investing the time, effort and dollars may otherwise mean a disengaged, under performing or costly hire - or the person leaves and the employer has to start the process all again!

20140901 New employees - Importance Of Induction And Onboarding - Business in Focus - Peter Black .mp3
Peter Black,
25 Sept 2014, 23:43