Onboarding New Employees; Maximizing Success - SHRM

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2022 • 54 Pages • 2.13 MB • English
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SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guidelines Series By Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D Sponsored by Right Management Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success SHRM FOuNdatiON’S EFFEctivE PRacticE GuidEliNES SERiES Sponsored by Right Management This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information regarding the subject matter covered. Neither the publisher nor the author is engaged in rendering legal or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent, licensed professional should be sought. Any federal and state laws discussed in this book are subject to frequent revision and inter- pretation by amendments or judicial revisions that may significantly affect employer or employee rights and obligations. Readers are encour- aged to seek legal counsel regarding specific policies and practices in their organizations. This book is published by the SHRM Foundation, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM©). The interpretations, conclusions and recommendations in this book are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the SHRM Foundation. ©2010 SHRM Foundation. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the SHRM Foundation, 1800 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. The SHRM Foundation is the 501(c)3 nonprofit affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The SHRM Foundation maximizes the impact of the HR profession on organizational decision-making and performance by promoting innovation, education, research and the use of research-based knowledge. The Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors, comprising distinguished HR academic and practice leaders. Contributions to the SHRM Foundation are tax deductible. For more information, contact the SHRM Foundation at (703) 535-6020. Online at www.shrm.org/foundation. Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing SuccesS 10-0645 contents table of v Foreword vii Acknowledgments ix About the Author 1 Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success 1 A Range of Approaches 2 The Four C’s 4 Using New Tools to Keep Onboarding on Track 4 Short-Term Outcomes of Onboarding: New Employee Adjustment 6 Long-Term Outcomes of Onboarding: Attitudes and Behaviors 8 Onboarding and HRM 13 Feedback Tools 13 Onboarded Employees: Executives vs. Hourly Workers 15 Implications for Small to Medium Organizations 16 Onboarding Best Practices 17 Conclusion 19 References 25 Sources and Suggested Readings v According to recent data, more than 25 percent of the U.S. population experiences some type of career transition each year. Unfortunately, many transitions are not successful. Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs in the first four months, and half of senior outside hires fail within 18 months. Clearly, there is room for improvement. An important way leaders can combat these challenges is to implement a robust employee onboarding program. Onboarding helps new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their jobs so they can quickly become productive, contributing members of the organization. This report, Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success, will provide the tools you need to create an effective onboarding process in your company. In 2004, the SHRM Foundation created this Effective Practice Guidelines series for busy HR professionals like you. It’s a challenge for practitioners with limited time to keep up with the latest research results. By integrating research findings on what works and expert opinion on how to conduct effective HR practice into a single publication, we make theory and practice accessible to you. Recent reports in this series include The Search for Executive Talent, Employment Downsizing and Its Alternatives, Recruiting and Attracting Talent, and Human Resource Strategy. This report is the 12th in the series. Subject matter experts write the reports, and the drafts are then reviewed by both academics and practitioners to ensure that the material is research- based, comprehensive and presented in an easy-to-use format. We also include a “Suggested Readings” section as a convenient reference tool. All reports are available online for free download at www.shrm.org /foundation. This series supports our vision for the SHRM Foundation to “maximize the impact of the HR profession on organizational decision-making and performance by promoting innovation, education, research and the use of research-based knowledge.” Overall, the Foundation has a strategic focus on initiatives designed to help organizations maximize leadership talent. We are confident that the Effective Practice Guidelines series takes us one step closer to making our vision a reality. Please let us know how we are doing! Mary A. Gowan, Ph.D. Chair, SHRM Foundation Research Evidence Committee Dean and Professor of Management Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Elon University Foreword vii Acknowledgments The SHRM Foundation is grateful for the assistance of the following individuals in producing this report: content editor M. Susan Taylor, Ph.D. Dean’s Professor of Human Resources Co-Director, Center for Human Capital, Innovation and Technology Robert H. Smith School of Business University of Maryland reviewers LaTonia Dean-Brown Associate Director, Human Resources Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Gregory Karanastasis, PHR Director, Talent Acquisition The McGraw-Hill Companies Martina S. McAndrew, SPHR Director, Strategic Recruitment Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP Suzanne Ritchie Onboarding & Early Engagement Consultant TD Ameritrade Corporate Learning & Development Project Manager Beth M. McFarland, CAE Manager, Special Projects SHRM Foundation Major funding for the Effective Practice Guidelines series is provided by the HR Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management. ix About the Author: Talya N. Bauer Talya N. Bauer is the Cameron Professor of Management at Portland State University in Oregon. Dr. Bauer is an award-winning teacher and researcher. She conducts research about relationships at work. More specifically, she studies the areas of new-hire onboarding, recruitment, selection, overqualification, mentoring and leadership, and has written numerous journal articles. Her scholarship has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Learning and Education Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management and Personnel Psychology. Dr. Bauer has been a guest speaker at the SHRM annual conference and has acted as a consultant for dozens of government, Fortune 1000 and start-up organizations. She is involved in professional organizations and conferences, serving in elected positions, including as a member of the Human Resource Management Executive Committee of the Academy of Management and Member at Large for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Dr. Bauer is currently the editor of the Journal of Management and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology and the Journal of Management. She has co-authored two textbooks—Organizational Behavior and Principles of Management—and two management graphic novels with Jeremy Short, Dave Ketchen and illustrator Len Simon—Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed and Atlas Black: Management Guru. Her work has been discussed in media outlets, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal, Oregonian, Portland Business Journal, NPR’s “All Things Considered” and KGW News. Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission. 1 Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success After effective recruitment and selection, one of the most important ways that organizations can improve the effectiveness of their talent management systems is through the strategic use of onboarding. Onboarding is the process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly. This should always be a priority for HR departments, because in the United States, every year more than 25 percent of the working population experiences career transitions.1 In Fortune 500 companies alone, about 500,000 managers take on new roles each year, and overall, managers begin new jobs every two to four years. Unfortunately, in the midst of all these transitions: • Half of all senior outside hires fail within 18 months in a new position.3 • Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days.4 This report will explain why onboarding is so important, where it fits into the larger HR context, how HR managers can proactively manage onboarding and, finally, how new employees can help facilitate their own onboarding process. A Range of Approaches Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. Every organization has its own version of the complex process through which new hires learn attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviors required to function effectively. Academic researchers who study onboarding also use the term organizational socialization.5 No matter what the terminology, the bottom line is that the faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission. 2 Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success The formality and comprehensiveness of onboarding programs varies widely across organizations, and those considered “best in class” for onboarding have more formal onboarding programs.6 For example, starting with a first-day welcome, global beauty company L’Oreal says, “Our aim is to develop successful, committed and mutually beneficial relationships with each of our employees.”7 The company supports onboarding with a two-year, six-part integration program called “L’Oreal Fit.” The program includes: • Training and roundtable discussions. • Meetings with key insiders. • On-the-job learning supported by line management. • Individual mentoring and HR support. • Field and product experiences such as site visits and shadowing programs. Approaches to onboarding range from quite structured and systematic—as in the case of L’Oreal—to the “sink or swim” strategy, in which new employees often struggle to figure out precisely what is expected and to understand the norms of their new workplace. One of the first things HR managers should consider is whether their firm is served best by informal or formal onboarding. • Informal onboarding refers to the process by which an employee learns about his or her new job without an explicit organizational plan. • Formal onboarding refers to a written set of coordinated policies and procedures that assist an employee in adjusting to his or her new job in terms of both tasks and socialization.8 Research shows that organizations that engage in formal onboarding by implementing step-by-step programs for new employees to teach them what their roles are, what the norms of the company are and how they are to behave are more effective than those that do not.9 Again, as in the case of L’Oreal, formal onboarding provides a fixed sequence of activities for new employees—a sequence that is timed carefully—as well as help from organizational role models. Some other variables HR managers will want to look at when analyzing their firm’s onboarding procedures are sequencing, numbers of new hires grouped together and how supportive the company is—an intangible that is always difficult to measure.10 The Four C’s Onboarding has four distinct levels, the Four C’s:11 • Compliance is the lowest level and includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations. • Clarification refers to ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations. • Culture is a broad category that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational norms— both formal and informal. • Connection refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish. The building blocks of successful onboarding are often called the Four C’s. The degree to which each organization leverages these four building blocks determines its overall onboarding strategy, with most firms falling into one of three levels. LeveL 1: Passive onboarding Almost all organizations naturally cover compliance as part of formal onboarding. For firms that engage in Passive Onboarding, or Level 1, some role clarification may be given, but neither Onboarding helps new employees adjust to their jobs by establishing better relationships to increase satisfaction, clarifying expectations and objectives to improve performance, and providing support to help reduce unwanted turnover. Increase Job Satisfaction • Jump start relationships Increase Performance • Clarify delivery expectations • Clarify objectives Innoculate Against Turnover • Provide support through feedback, coaching and follow-up 3 Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success Culture nor Connection is addressed. Some informal ways of guiding new employees in terms of Culture and Connection may have developed over time, but no one—including HR staff— is coordinating the task to maximize onboarding success. If your firm is engaged in Passive Onboarding, you are likely to view onboarding as a checklist of unrelated tasks to be completed. Research shows that approximately 30 percent of organizations—large, medium and small—work at this level.12 Passive Onboarding can be functional, but it is certainly unsystematic. LeveL 2: HigH PotentiaL onboarding When compliance and clarification are well covered by a firm’s formal onboarding practices and some culture and connection mechanisms are in place, Level 2—High Potential Onboarding—has been reached. In these organizations—about 50 percent of all firms—the complete process has not yet been established in a systematic way across the organization. Onboarding Strategy Level Compliance Clarification Culture Connection 1 Passive YES SOME LITTLE/ NONE LITTLE/ NONE 2 High Potential YES YES SOME SOME 3 Proactive YES YES YES YES The building blocks of successful onboarding are often called the Four C’s. Connection Culture Clarification Compliance 4 Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success LeveL 3: Proactive onboarding All four building blocks are formally addressed in Level 3, Proactive Onboarding. If your firm is systematically organizing onboarding with a strategic human resource management approach, you are at Level 3. Only about 20 percent of organizations achieve this level.13 Using New Tools to Keep Onboarding on Track W. K. Kellogg, founder of the 100-year- old Kellogg Company, famously said, “I’ll invest my money in people.” In line with this philosophy, in the 21st century Kellogg still sees attracting, selecting, engaging and retaining the best talent as critical to the company’s business success.14 Feedback from internal surveys indicated a need to improve Kellogg’s onboarding process, so the company put a transition framework in place. The framework includes new ways to add value, connect and build relationships, navigate unwritten rules to get things done, and review performance and progress. Specifically, Kellogg uses new employee onboarding training, new manager assimilations, employee resource groups and a 30-60-90 day checklist. Kellogg’s transition web site is a focal point of onboarding revitalization. On the web site, employees can assess their own onboarding status by using the onboarding track record tool. This tool analyzes potential strengths and weaknesses of past onboarding activities, so it becomes easier to pinpoint areas for improvement of a formal onboarding plan. To better understand your organization’s onboarding level, you may want to try an inventory like the Onboarding Track Record see page 5. This will identify strengths and weaknesses, help you analyze your current situation, and establish where you would like to be in the future. Other helpful tools are available later in this report. Short-Term Outcomes of Onboarding: New Employee Adjustment Researchers have identified four major levers—related to both job roles and social environment—that organizations can use to help new employees maximize their onboarding success. The first lever for successful onboarding is self-efficacy, or self-confidence, in job performance. To the degree that a new employee feels confident in doing the job well, he or she will be more motivated and eventually more successful than less confident counterparts.15 Organizations should target specific onboarding programs to help boost employees’ confidence as they navigate new organizational waters. Self-efficacy has been shown to have an impact on organizational commitment, satisfaction and turnover.16 IBM’s “Assimilation Process” In the late 1990s and early 2000s, IBM executives recognized that the firm had some success with new employees, but it was stuck at Level 2—High Potential Onboarding. With increased hiring as a result of restructuring and more job mobility, the new- hire population became crucial. The new IBM philosophy boiled down to a simple concept—so much money, time and resources are spent on recruiting and hiring that it is essential to hang onto new employees. Realizing that new hires have different needs than longer-tenured employees, IBM created the Assimilation Process, which consists of three steps: affirming, beginning and connecting. Clear timelines for each step became part of the new process. • Affirming occurs prior to a new employee’s start date and includes welcoming the new employee, preparing a workstation and assigning a coach. • Beginning occurs during the employee’s first 30 days. On the first day, strict rules are in place to ensure that the new worker is met in person, introduced to the team, has a functional area in which to work, completes paperwork and is introduced an intranet onboarding platform, known as “Your IBM.” During this crucial first month, managers make sure that any needed resources are available, clarify roles and responsibilities, encourage the newcomer, and schedule “check in” times to be sure that the new employee is making progress with “Your IBM.” • Connecting occurs during the employee’s first year on the job and consists of three phases. After two months, an “ask coach” checks in to make sure things are on track. At this stage, networking is a priority, so the employee is encouraged to find interest communities within the company. Between four and six months into the newcomer’s tenure, the focus becomes his or her accomplishments and understanding IBM’s way of getting things done. By the end of one year, IBM considers new employees to be fully integrated. One of the most valuable elements of the Assimilation Process is the individual assigned as a new employee’s coach—a friend to answer questions, reinforce concepts, share processes and tools, and help transmit the intangible cultural values of the firm. With the new process in place, IBM is now an example of a Level 3 onboarding organization.

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