Orientation, on boarding, induction, employee integration – whatever your company calls it – is probably the only form of training companies deliver that doesn’t regularly get measured for a return on investment. Forms get filled out, ID pictures are taken, benefits are discussed, and maybe a forgettable video is viewed about the company and its product or services or history, and by that time the new hires are ready to bolt for the door. People join organisations to do a job, and during their first day on the job all we want to talk about is the rules and reasons we may use for terminating them. It is not the best use of our HR budget.
Improve the onboarding process
Those first-day “information dump” orientations have proven less and less effective. If our own personal experiences aren’t enough, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in First Break All the Rules, must have been reading our collective minds.
Here are five suggestions to improve the on boarding process:
Tie the orientation to more than just benefits, forms and policies.
Orientation needs to reflect the mission, values, and culture of the organisation. Whether the Abeveda is a family-owned business or a multinational, people want to belong to an organisation whose t-shirt they can be proud to wear at the beach. Agilent Technologies goes one step further. On a new hire’s first day, it sends flowers to the person’s home along with t-shirts for the whole family. MicroStrategy, uses an in-depth boot camp to allow new hires to bond with their new organisation. The orientation is spread over several days and includes technical training as well as team building.
Get new hires to their work site as quickly as possible.
Give the new hire a job to do and use all that newfound energy and resource to bump up that understaffed and overworked team that has been waiting for the new person to start.
Use a stepped or staggered approach to orientation.
Have a brief meeting on the first day, then a second meeting later that week. Continue to hold brief meetings over the first three to four weeks. Stagger the times of the meetings. Have them in different accounting departments or different parts of the organisation. Use orientation to allow the new hires to get a more complete understanding of the breadth of the company.
Further, allow employees to become aware of all the different activities that are going on in the organisation.
Many times, people join companies, but they leave managers. Involve the manager as soon as possible. Orientation, is more effective when not handled solely by HR. Face it: New hires will pay more attention to what their managers say than what someone from HR tells them. It’s the nature of the beast. Managers held accountable for the success of their new hires are more likely to be involved in getting the new hires started off right.
Give new hired accountants a goal they can reach in the first couple of weeks, or even days.
People hate it if they join an organisation and then feel that they aren’t allowed to do any real work. In fact, a SHRM study found that more than 80 percent of people who voluntarily change jobs do so because they want to feel that they have more control over their work and that the work they do has an impact. People flock to smaller organisations in order to feel like more than just another cog in a giant machine. A statement we heard in too many exit interviews is, “I’m leaving to go to a smaller organisation where I feel I can really make a difference.”