Effective employee onboarding has a positive domino effect: it ensures that new hires feel welcome and prepared in their new positions, in turn giving them the confidence and resources to make an impact within the organization, and ultimately allowing the company to continue carrying out its mission.
Much like the dreaded first day of school, the first day at a new job is rife with potential for embarrassing oneself – from getting lost on the way to the bathroom, to forgetting important paperwork, to not knowing the rules (both explicit and unspoken). But as nerve-wracking as starting a new job is for new employees, this time is no trip to wine country for managers either.
Charged with the task of making new employees feel welcome, establishing their responsibilities, orienting them in their new position and familiarizing them with the company culture, there's a lot to cover and the process is often overwhelming.
"Transitions are periods of opportunity, a chance to start afresh and to make needed changes in an organization. But they are also periods of acute vulnerability, because you lack established working relationships and a detailed understanding of your new role."
The preceding is an excerpt from The First 90 Days, written by Michael Watkins, a professor at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland and renowned leadership transition expert. As Watkins points out – and as talent management experts have long asserted – employee onboarding, the orientation or mainstreaming process of a new position, is a crucial element in both individual and organizational development and establishes a foundation for future success.
True, employee orientation centers around and exists to help the individual employee, but it is the company that ultimately reaps the benefits of this practice. Consider the following benefits of proper orientation:
Not convinced? U.S. and U.K. employees cost businesses an estimated $37 billion every year because they do not fully understand their jobs, according to IDC. Their recently released white paper, "$37 billion: Counting the Cost of Employee Misunderstanding," commissioned by international intelligent assessment company Cognisco, quantifies the losses that occur as a result of "actions taken by employees who have misunderstood or misinterpreted — or were misinformed about or lack confidence in their understanding — of company policies, business processes, job function or a combination of the three." Effective onboarding helps workers understand their roles and the company they work for, thereby significantly cutting these losses.
Rules to live – and work – by for a divine onboarding experience.
Written for business managers, The First 90 Days applies to any professional making a career transition, and provides a framework to create a strategy for future success within that new role.
Watkins provides practical advice for learning about new organizations, building teams, and creating goals, as well as avoiding common pitfalls and protecting oneself on an emotional and professional level during this intense and vulnerable period.
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