In deciding what they will do – and do differently – to respond to today’s business challenges, organizations have moved onboarding up on the priority list. The ability to make new or redeployed employees productive and effective in the shortest possible time is more critical than ever. At its best, onboarding is a holistic process that connects employees to the right content at the right time. When it’s done well, onboarding can be one of the most effective, rewarding, and sustainable investments that a company can undertake.

Successful onboarding programs typically help new employees to feel welcome and introduce them to critical elements of their new workplace. Recent research on the impact of effective onboarding programs shows that it can help accelerate the assimilation of new employees into the workplace and reduce turnover.

So what does a successful onboarding process look like? In our work with hundreds of companies, we’ve found that these six principles are necessary.

  1. Begin before Day 1.
  2. Link onboarding to the organization – not just the role.
  3. Make onboarding a process, not an event.
  4. Involve as many people as necessary
  5. Enable networking.
  6. Get them in the game!

So when you’re planning or retooling your onboarding program, take a holistic view and let people see, as soon as possible, where they can add value so they feel they belong, are part of the team, and are definitely adding value to the company. New employees will feel immediately more engaged when they realize their employers are willing to invest time and money in a long term onboarding program.
The end result is a “win-win”:  Employees are be able to contribute more to the team and reach their peak potential sooner, and employers will benefit from increased retention and improved time to productivity.

November 19, 2010


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