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WHIN Monthly Bulletin

Onboarding - Key Messages Dr. Angus I. McLeod

Pre-hire orientation should make sure that applicants are aligning with the work-culture, so the prospective employees need to be introduced to that culture by examples; short videos of existing workers talking about their on-boarding and why they like their job. Look to set expectations so they do not come on-board and are then shocked enough to leave: include unsupervised socialization with other workers.

Job Previews are said to be critical: without them, 14% of new-hires are engaged and 88% looking to go elsewhere; with Job Previews 93% are engaged and just 22% are looking to go elsewhere to work, by comparison!

Design the onboarding as a flexible-length approach (see below) with involvement and advice of different cohorts, not just HR., and review it against actual data (contentment surveys and staff retention figures).

Determine (and check this determination with each worker) to be certain where they are in skills-sets for the proposed job and, shorten or extend the onboarding journey appropriately.

In the first week, one or more opportunities to get together with other new-hires and co-workers is advised; later on, these could involve game-based learning and increase the human investments of personal sharing that increases trust..

Within two weeks it is advisable to know what the aspirations are. Make this easy by establishing a wheel of experience including applied (existing) skills of the worker, desired development in technical and soft skills, needs for flexibility/autonomy, work-life balance, earnings and compensation, co-worker relationship, supervisor relationship.

Consider having a special color for tunic/t-shirt/overall for new-hires and a policy to have regular staff engage and be friendly with the new-hires. One of our local companies does this and has a ‘make them happy’ policy for the two-week onboarding period when they wear the ‘new-hire color’.

The onboarding plan can include longer-term opportunities for connections with other cohorts and ‘common interest’ groups. Companies that provide community-based support can provide compelling reasons to stay (Pedigree Foods as an example). 75% of millennial new-hires are encouraged by such societal involvement and support; their job acceptance is influenced by these corporate initiatives (65% female and 45% males influenced to accept a job).

My own message here is about supervisors; people largely leave due to the relationship with their immediate boss (Kossivi et al 2016); so, promote supervisors FIRSTLY on social skills, not technical performance. Similarly, if you can get enough people through the door; go for culture fit as FIRST priority and expect to support and train in the skills area (these are much faster to learn than self-developmental/soft skills)!

Think to have a ‘reach-out’ contact who is companionable; a buddy if you will, to provide a safety-net for discontent and issues and a time-table for formal as well as informal moments together.