Personnel has now become Human Resources and orientation has morphed into what is now called On-Boarding. Anyone in HR in this century knows what On-Boarding is supposed to be, but it really is unique to every organization. There is no one size fits all approach. Many approaches will contain most of the same elements, but a good program will be built to order for the organization. You just can’t go to a vendor and buy a program off of the shelf or off this task to some perky contractor. If it is going to work you have to own it.
Each employer must develop and continually improve their on-boarding process. It is like any other process though, you might have all of the right elements but if you don’t assemble the thing properly it doesn’t work.
So how does it start? Well, even prior to the first day, as the employee’s new employer we are sending messages and expectations about our organization. How did you treat this employee in the interview process? Did you make them wait in a lobby for 30-40 minutes past the time they were scheduled for an interview? Was everyone who spoke to the prospective employee courteous? Did you follow-up with them in the time frames in which you said you would? Did you provide answers to all of their questions? See these are all things are things that you can’t undo – and you have already laid this foundation whether or not this prospect is a hire or no hire.
Ok so I hope you did all of that stuff right – either way you are moving ahead with on-boarding. Now it is time for all of the obligatory stuff; forms, policies, training, exits, fire extinguishers, rest rooms and so on ad nauseam. I am not going to delve into the proper aspects of this, because this is your stuff to get right – or wrong.
Now you have a new employee at your Company. Do they now know everything they need to know? Oh yeah you gave them all of the stuff you can no longer be sued for, but did you give them any of the really useful information as to how to assimilate into the culture. Sometime some of the cultural fits are a little more subtle. Things like if you want to advance in this Company you will go with the Friday Night Gang down to the Pub and Grub for more the first than the later. Or maybe the successful people in this Company are the ones who rarely have a taste – just thought you would want to know. The people who succeed here almost always started out heading up a committee. Hopefully these lessons will come through in the buddy system, provided your buddies really want new folks to succeed. In summary, help them fit into your Company culture. This is an ongoing process.
Not everything a new employee needs to know is contained in the Company propaganda, because there is some stuff none of us would want published. So we need to help the new people find their way through the organization. HR must guide them showing them where to go and not to go. We must also make sure they know how to succeed – because if they don’t – you will be doing this all over again!