Strategic Onboarding- The need of the hour
- A peek into the present Orientation program:
To start with, let us first have a look of few of the typical responses heard from new joiners post their orientation:
Very often you will hear new joiners complaining about their orientation program which results into dissatisfaction and disengagement among the new joiners from the day 1 itself and thereby leading to regrettable attrition.
Further deep diving into thisburning issue leads to certain alarming facts & consequences of poorly managed Onboarding program:
- 1/3rd of external hires leave the Organization after 2 years.
- Every Organization replaces 50% of their employee base in a 3-to-5-year period. Replacement cost can go up to double the attrition.
- Less than 1/3rd of the executives globally are positive about the onboarding experience.
- Most of the new joiner who fall into the category of “High Performer & High Prospect” perform at mediocre level when not inducted well, thereby impacting the Organizational productivity.
So the immediate question which comes to my mind is how to tackle this issue, knowing that one of the biggest challenge faced by organizations globally is- acquiring & retaining right talent? How should we influence the first time experiences of the new joiners in an effective manner?
Hence we in HR have to drive transformational change in the way onboarding is looked at and managed. We need to think beyond Orientation i.e. Strategic Onboarding.
The goal of Strategic Onboarding should be to create a compact/link between employer& employee, orientation being the starting point of onboarding.
- Old school of Orientation to Strategic Onboarding:
I am laying out a suggestive approach which can be adoptedin your organization to bring paradigm shift in the present day orientation program. However customization will be critical to success.
Scope of Onboarding:
Before we go into details let us decide on the scope of the onboarding program.
To decideon the scope, we should first ask our selfies it possible to control & influence all the first time experiences of a new joiner?
The answer is “neither we can control all the first time experiences nor we should attempt”.
So a typical onboarding program should be designed with an objective of helping the new joiner assimilate with the Organization culture, strategy & work place realities as fast as possible and with utmost enthusiasm.
A word of caution- too much hand holding during the onboarding should be avoided as it may have negative consequences on the new joiner post onboarding i.e. when he/she gets to know or face the workplace realities which may not be the same as presented to him during onboarding.
How to transform the present day orientation program to strategic Onboarding:
You may follow the below steps to design and implement Onboarding program in your Organization. Off course it goes without saying that every Organization has its own vision, strategy & demographics and hence customization will be pivotal to the success of the program in your organization.
Critical points to be keep in mind while following the above steps:
- Study of the present Orientation system:
- Start with the process map/SOP of the orientation process. You may go-ahead & create the process map in case the same is not documented in your Organization.
- Have focussed discussion with various stakeholders.
- Talk to the existing employees.
- Do involve the opinions or feedback of the recent new joiners.
- Last but not the least, do take into consideration the Organization’s vision & strategy.
- External Benchmarking:
- Do study practices followed by your competitors as well as companies from other sectors.
- You may also go ahead & involve external stakeholders in this exercise.
- Lastly do remember that there may be umpteen best practices available in the market but they may not qualify to be the right practice for your Organization. You need a Right practice for your organization and not best market
- Building your Business case:
The next logical step towards building an effective strategic onboarding program is to identify the gaps in the present system, practices followed in industry and then presenting the opportunities of improvement.
In most of the cases we may get go-ahead on our plan, but we fail to obtain the buy-in of the various stakeholders and ultimately onboarding ends up becoming a typical HR exercise.
So where is the missing link?
To bring onboarding on the radar of all stakeholders:
- Firstly, we need link the onboarding program objectives with that of the business strategy.
- Secondly we need to bring out the economics of onboarding program &its ROI.
Note: Designing of the program should be aligned strictly to the Organization needs & hence the stages and their respective durations may vary from organization to organization.
- Roll Out & Evaluation of the program:
- Prepare the roll out plan & obtain concurrence of all the stakeholders.
- You may roll out the program in phases.
- Have a governance structure in place.
- Have an ongoing feedback mechanism in place to make the program more “fit for purpose”.
- Carry out periodic evaluation of the program and do necessary course correction.
- Publish periodic dashboards highlighting the key metrics.
- Do stick to the budget &timelines.
Although Onboarding is a very vast topic, I have tried to briefly touch upon the key steps& critical points to be followed while designing & implementing the onboarding program. However a lot more can be written in this area.
Lastly, would like to end by re-iterating that onboarding is an emerging discipline wherein we HR have a huge opportunity to demonstrate our mettle by aligning HR strategies with the Business strategies and hence be a proud partner in the value creation story.
Let’s us today take an oath to engage our new joiners before they gets disengaged.