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Agrimarketing : January-Febuary 2010
January/February 2010 Agri Marketing 15 If we consider the definition of on-boarding, a series of processes that it takes to transition an accepted applicant into a productive employee, nowhere in that definition is there a set time frame for how long that should take. Many organizations make the mistake of looking at on-boarding as a new employee's first week on the job. As the definition points out, the on-boarding process ends when the employee is productive. That doesn't happen in the first week! An investment in employee on-boarding programs positively impacts employee engagement, morale, productivity and retention. That is why it is so important to pay particular attention to this first step. THE RESEARCH There are a lot of studies that show the value of formal on-boarding programs, such as a recent study done by TMP Worldwide which reported 75% of top performing companies have a formal program to bring on a new employee. The reasons participants cited were that it provided a consistent experience for all employees at all levels; a consistent message was being delivered and it was a bit of an insurance that all employees were getting the necessities covered. This same study also showed that companies with established or formal programs had less than five percent of new hires leave the company during their first year. The time and money involved in recruiting and hiring a new employee can be expensive. Consider the intangible factors that cost companies money and can be eased by an on-boarding program. Things like poor employee morale due to added workload when a position goes unfilled or is vacated, or time it takes current staff to train a new employee (this time drain occurs with each new employee, which makes the retention statistic above all the more important). WHY ON-BOARDING DOESN'T HAPPEN Several things contribute to why on-boarding doesn't happen within organizations. Factors like, who is responsible, how do we keep it consistent, and it takes too much time are just a few. The bottom line is that hiring managers are all very different and likely have strong views on how to on-board new staff. The program needs a lead facilitator and the backing from upper management. The human resources department is the natural lead as the acting facilitator; however they cannot own the on-boarding process. They can provide the framework and tools and help educate those managers that have staff whom they are responsible for. It is the manager 's responsibility to guide the process and ensure it is implemented. THE BASICS OF A GOOD PROGRAM Think of your new employee. What is it they want? A new employee wants to know how their role fits within the organization. The new employee should know the company's overall goals and mission. They should understand what they are to contribute and how their work will be measured. They need to know how to interact with other employees and they should have the tools to do their job. Pretty simple, yet we tend to over- look them. Even if your organization doesn't have a formal plan, here are some basics that any manager can do to help ensure that their new employee gets off to a good start! Before a new employee starts, get all of the paperwork ready to go. In some cases, employers provide essential paperwork like tax forms, I-9, emergency contact, etc. in advance of their start date and that way the new employee can come in with it completed or at least with the information necessary to hurry the process along on their first day. Employers can make sure their office space is ready with a computer, phone and any other necessary equipment. Also, be sure other staff members know that a new hire is starting. Orientation, not to be confused with on-boarding, is really that first week on the job for a new employee. Develop a plan in advance and share that with the new hire. The plan should include a schedule of the week, names of people they will be interacting with, as well as cover some of the critical, necessary company procedures/policies. If you can, try to cover some of the procedures over a week or longer, if possible. This plan should also contain instructions for their first day arrival. Be exact about when, what time and where they should go on their first day. Tell them who they should ask for when they arrive. Explain what attire is appropriate and what they should bring with them. During the first week, orientation of one of the most critical compo- nents of an on-boarding plan should take place. That is to set clear objectives for the new hire, including what is expected of them, what they'll be working on and how their performance will be evaluated. In the next issue, we'll take a look at a model that helps take on-boarding beyond a first week orientation plan and to that productive employee outlined in the definition. For further information or if you have questions, please contact AgCareers.com at email@example.com. AM Part One in a Series RETENTION THROUGH ON-BOARDING The Scoop on Recruiting
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