“On Boarding” is the structured way a company brings newly hired employees into their “fold.”
Many organizations have orientations meant to orient newly hired employees. On Boarding is taking it the next level.
Sure, you want to orient newly hired employees by providing them with insights into the company’s mission, vision and values. Sure, you want to give new hires an introduction to the organization’s history and give them more detail about the “ins and outs” of their department. Of course, they need to be enrolled in the benefits plans and get set up for payroll. All of that is orientation. What is On Boarding, then?
You might have noticed in the paragraph above that most of the activities involve giving insights and information. On Boarding is more about getting insights and information from the new hire. The new hire has very valuable information to share that management needs to get. On Boarding takes at least six meetings in the first 90 days of hire to accomplish. There should be regular meetings, one-on-one meetings, with the new hire. The new hire’s immediate supervisor and also the new hire’s boss’ boss need to be a part of On Boarding.
What questions need to be asked? When any semi-finalist or finalist candidate is being interviewed, the final stages of the interview involve the candidates being “sold” on coming to work with the particular organization. They are told what is will be like working at the organization. Both the immediate supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor need to find out if there is a variance between what they told the finalist candidate what it would be like to work “here” and what the new hire actually is finding it’s like working “here.” That variance is critically important to know and understand.
Why ask, and why ask in the first 90 days? The new hire’s answer gives tremendous insight. Bosses need to know if and what the variances are between what they think it’s like to work at the company and what the actual employees think it’s like working there. Both levels need to know that so they can make adjustments in their “sales pitch” to new employees and/or make adjustments in the internal operation (as needed or appropriate). Why ask early in the new hire’s tenure? The new hire is objective, has “fresh eyes” on the organization and probably will give an honest answer because he/she is not invested in the “old ways” of the organization and has not been indoctrinated into withholding information.
Additionally, the boss’ boss will be asking the immediate supervisor for an evaluation of the new hire’s performance. If improvements are needed, having it come from both levels of management will reinforce the urgency for the new hire to see the wisdom and make the changes. If the higher level of management hears from the immediate supervisor that the new hire is doing well, that can be passed on to the new hire. Praise is always good.
On Boarding is about communicating up and down. It is about finding out what is good, as well as what needs improvement and then dialoging about it all. New people should not be “thrown in to sink or swim.” Recruiting and hiring are too expensive for this. On Boarding is the effort made to make sure the new hire is connected to management, assimilating to the organization and the new work, as well as providing upper management with insights into the effectiveness of mid-management.