Onboarding with Appreciation

Posted May 15 2014
In an article on O.C. Tanner, Debbie Urbanik talks about the criticality of a structured onboarding process supplemented with appreciation to improve employee engagement and retention.  As she points out, "90% of organizations believe that employees make the decision to stay within the first year."  Simply assigning a mentor for new-hires, orientation meetings, etc. may not reduce turnover.  The onboarding process hits a stopping point where these tactics are exhausted and engagement drivers must take over (e.g., show employees that they are valued, that their contributions make a difference, and how they will help your company meet its goals).  Debbie created a chart that outlines suggestions for tactics to employ throughout the onboarding process to stimulate these engagement drivers.

As Debbie and the VP recognize, the benefits of and need for an enhanced and elongated onboarding process have been established yet according to SHRM, 36% of organizations lack a formal onboarding process.  Many of the remaining 64% likely limit this to orientation meetings, showing employees around, etc. 

The chart Debbie shared has a lot of merit, more frequent touchpoints and appreciation have been shown to lead to more engagement and higher retention.  As Debbie hints at, one area CTK stresses is more transparency in 'how they (new employees) will help your company meet its goals.'  Continued learning & growth in one's career and clear alignment between managers/employees on expectations have also been shown to improve engagement and retention.  That said, many employees (new or tenured) lack a clear understanding on what is expected of them, what results in high performance in their role and how this aligns with organizational objectives. 

Here are some suggested additions to the chart to aid in mitigating this issue.  As part of pre-hire (prior to sourcing), organizations should clearly define what success means for each job family and/or role, and a career lattice (or similar structure) to depict career progression/development.  Also within pre-hire (as part of interviewing), organizations should assess the candidate and identify development areas associated with the role.  These tactics will assist in establishing learning & development for the employee as part of the onboarding process.  Continual checkpoints should then be established throughout the year (don't want until annual performance reviews!) to assess the employee's development, share feedback and identify means for continued growth. 

We've seen the additions suggested above effectively designed and executed through use of a competency-based approach.


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