We have all read the articles and know that making new employees feel comfortable at work is critical to building a strong foundation for successful employment. A fairly common question here at Agile, is What area(s) of the onboarding process is the most critical to a successful employee onboard? Is it gathering required documentation before the first day of work, requisitioning new computers and phones or is it allowing new employees to review policy manuals or see organization charts before stepping foot on campus?
I have worked for organizations in the past that have done a fantastic job of onboarding new hires and I have also worked for others that led me to my desk and said “good luck”. While we all strive to provide a well-rounded onboarding experience for new employees, we almost always have one area of the process that we excel at.
Here at Agile, the critical piece seems to be making sure that we create clear and concise performance profiles/job expectations in our job descriptions that flow with the candidate from applicant tracking to onboarding. When I start talking performance profiles in product demos or training, I always ask our audience of HR Managers “How many times have you hired an employee only to have them quit because they weren’t hired to do ‘X’ objective?” In an article titled “The 10 commandments of Onboarding” written by CareerBuilder, the author’s #1 commandment is “Thou Shalt not bear false witness against thy employee”. Meaning, if we are clear and concise with our performance profiles or job expectations, employees are acutely aware of what is expected of them in all areas of employment and are not surprised when asked to perform a certain task. To me, there doesn’t seem to be anything more demoralizing for a new employee than expecting to write financial reports for a living and instead performing completely unrelated tasks all day. Top level performers, which are what we all strive to hire, don’t want to be misled, and most of them won’t stay long enough for you to explain the “Performs other duties as assigned” objective. This is a quick way to increase turnover and expense and even quicker way to decrease morale among current employees.
Offering a well-rounded onboarding program that include work buddies or new employee portals with access to company calendars, organization charts and facility maps are a fantastic way to help increase employee socialization and decrease time-to-productivity and are extremely important to all onboarding programs. However, if we haven’t done our homework on clearly defining performance profiles and job expectations before candidates are even considered for employment, we run the risk of losing employees before we ever gain a productive team member.