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Is Your Onboarding Program Real? Or Just Real Bad?

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Allied Van Lines, proud sponsor of the “2012 Workforce Mobility Survey”, designed to capture the voice of HR on topics related to workforce mobility. Allied has more than 75 years of experience in corporate, household and international relocation.)

First up, let's be clear.  I'm no onboarding expert.  I'm a HR leader who's a generalist by nature, trades in common sense and has some pretty strong opinions about what matters, what doesn't and what is complete BS. Durden likes

Example - Onboarding.

We all know that it makes sense.  Find a better way to bring people into the organization, connect them with the mission and give them a start at your company that maximizes their chances for success.

But just because you say you do onboarding - doesn't mean you really do onboarding.

Brad Pitt (aka Tyler Durden) once remarked in Fight Club:

"You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your #@$#@#$ khakis.”

HR?  You're not your ability to say you do onboarding.  It really comes down to the quality of the program you call onboarding.  You start all the new hires together on a Monday and run through the handbook, maybe throw up a couple of slides about the culture?  That's not onboarding.  Onboarding really isn't a one or two day event.  That's part of getting someone started, but the real value of an onboarding program is what happens once your two-day bootcamp is over.

Why's this on my mind?  Thanks to the Workforce Mobility Survey (click here) sponsored by Allied, we've got some actual data about the state of onboarding rather than comments from my cynical, jaded soul.

Check out this great chart from the #AlliledHRIQ survey:

AlliedHRIQ - onboarding

Translation of the chart - everyone does a little song and dance via a "orientation".  But orientiation isn't true onboarding, is it?  Take a look at the items I've highlighted - I'd present those as the keys to really strong onboarding:

1.  Management participation in the program - only 1/3 of companies have this.  Wow.  Seems entry level - but apparently not.  #disconnect

2.  Under half of the companies responding to the survey match the new talent up with a vet in a coaching or mentoring relationship.  I'm shocked it's that high.

3.  Only 13% of companies responding to the survey do proactive stay interviews.  How are we doing?  What are you thinking?  How likely are you to leave?  Everyone likes to be asked.

Let's face it - onboarding beyond orientation is hard to do.  But, if you really care, you'll give it a shot beyond running through the handbook and bringing in some sandwiches.

You're not your HRMS.  You're not your ability to say you do onboarding.  Your ability to truly onboard is directly related to the number of touch points you have after someone finishes your orientation.  

It shows you give a S#@*.  

If you would like to learn more about Allied Van Lines, please check out their website or blog. And if you would like to get more information from the Workforce Mobility Survey, you can click here. It’s definitely worth checking out.



Chris, very timely. I was talking to an employee that started with us about 10 months ago. His exact quote was, "it's too bad orientation is wasted on the new employees."

That is why I stay very connected, especially to remote staff, on a weekly basis through their first year and encourage them to just jot down questions they have and we'll cover those during our update. I don't care to do project or work updates, just cover those questions.

They don't really know what they need to know until they are in the middle of needing to know it. The context is key. Sr. Managers usually have the context, and doing work the way the organization executes work gives the employee the context they need for information (who to talk to about this? what system to use to find that? etc.).

Sr. Manager involvement and assigning them a "buddy" works really well, I've found. The key, though, is regular, non-project updates.

Tony Goddard

It's sad but it's true that most companies do make sure that a new employee signs all the right policy documents and understands the handbook. It has been shown at more senior levels where the cost of recruitment is higher that up to 80% of new hires can leave after 24 months where there has been no proper onboarding.
Personally this is no problem to me now as I make a reasonable living by providing onboarding coaching. When it's done well it enables the employee to add greater value very quickly.

So much the good reasion for the plan it is to complete the game.

helix jump

I am thankful for the article post.Looking forward to visit more.

Robert Jones

Even though it has changed with the time, onboarding process is one of the big pending tasks for many companies. It is so essential to do a good onboarding in order to maximise their recruitment success.... A check list always helps, at least from my perspective, and it is something you can always keep implementing as the needs vary.

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