Many firms have developed and implemented New Employee Orientation programs but remain unsatisfied with the results. Some have lost people simply because they do not know how to effectively integrate new hires. The resolution to these frustrations may be On-Boarding—a strategic employee assimilation process that is catching on fast in the industry.
Some hallmarks of this process include:
- Fun activities that represent the firm's culture
- A comprehensive induction process for newly hired employees
- Emphasis on personal accountability through specific responsibilities that support the firm's strategic plan
Challenges to On-Boarding
While attracting new talent is a challenge in this industry, the challenge of helping newly-hired talent become fully-integrated team members should not go unresolved. Newly-hired staff members have often confided to me that they feel like outsiders. They have trouble getting information and spend months proving themselves to others before being trusted with meaningful work assignments.
Much of the time, new employees are younger than current staff members. In addition, firms are hiring more women and people of diversity than ever before. Thus, in addition to facing barriers just because they are new, many new hires have different outlooks and working styles than seasoned staff. This reality adds to the challenge of fostering an environment that supports and includes the diverse array of people now working in our industry.
On-Boarding conveys excitement to each new employee by formalizing his or her role as a team member within the firm. In addition, it helps new employees master new job responsibilities as they utilize readily available resources, including mentors and electronic tools.
The goal of new employee On-Boarding is for new staff members to integrate fully into the new work environment and become fully productive as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Most programs are broken into four major components.
- Vision and Values—Activities and programs familiarize new staff members with the firm's culture, helping them understand their specific responsibilities in fulfilling the firm's Strategic Plan.
- Team Building—Activities and programs assimilate new staff members into work teams as quickly and productively as possible, alleviating ambiguity and setting the tone for strong working relationships.
- Mentor Program—New staff members build relationships and navigate unwritten rules by pairing with experienced peers. This system enhances team building, vision and goals.
- Human Resources Orientation—New employees acquire the logistical information necessary to perform their jobs. This includes benefits enrollment, tours of facilities, information on software, etc.
Retaining Staff Members
The responsibility for productivity as well as morale falls largely on the shoulders of management. In order retain newly hired-staff for the long-run, firms must support managers in acquiring the skills that foster a healthy working environment.
While most people in management understand administration and logistics, few have had any formal training in actually managing other people. As such, firms have no choice other than to provide learning opportunities to fill this gap.
Some specific behaviors that should be addressed when training managers are:
- Building an inclusive and effective team
- Coaching and counseling
- Setting performance objectives
- Identifying and addressing interpersonal dynamics
- Effective communication skills
With the necessary support and training in place before On-Boarding, managers will be confident and effective in helping new employees become successful members of the team. In addition, the On-Boarding process as a whole will more effectively integrate new staff members into the firm.
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