Prepare New Hires for Takeoff Through On-Boarding

We’ve all heard that a new hire’s first few months typically determine whether he or she will stay with the company or look for greener pastures. We’ve done the math and can safely attribute cost savings to increased employee retention. If we’re clear on that, then why do so many companies still view on-boarding as merely filling out paperwork and making sure the new hire’s work station is set up? It’s SO much more than that!

One of the fundamental purposes of on-boarding is to give employees a good sense of the company’s culture – but so is providing them with the right tools and resources for their careers to take flight. Imagine the caliber of candidates you can attract with that strategy!

Reinforce Culture, Stress Development

Think of the distinct culture of so many Silicon-Valley start-ups – the culture at Tween Brands, which operates Justice branded stores (think fashionable apparel for 7- to 14-year-olds), stands out in the same bold way. Jennifer Foster, senior manager of HR at Tween Brands, who spoke at the IHRIM 2012 conference last week, described the foundation for on-boarding as a strong focus on fun and development.

Right from the start, showing commitment to the development of new hires is key – as is providing them with the resources they need to make an immediate impact on the business. On-boarding surveys are conducted with the intention of opening up the dialogue between new associates and their managers. For instance, if a new hire is awarded 3 out of 5 in a particular area, it gives the manager a chance to address questions such as: ‘Are expectations clear?’ ‘What other resources can I provide?’ That way, managers are able to identify and work to close any skills gaps that exist.

And just to instill a taste of the fun culture, Tween Brands hosts a recurring event that has more of a carnival feel – indicative of the company’s “work hard, play hard” attitude. This gives executives and employees a chance to bond and give back to their community.

Plan Next Steps

While on-boarding is a great starting point to provide guidance and launch a new hire’s career, employees shouldn’t feel like they’re left to fend for themselves once this period ends.

At Tween Brands, for instance, even though on-boarding has a defined period of 90 days, employees transition into the next stage of their career where they are connected with performance management and learning and development to ensure long-term career success.

Of course the on-boarding duration as well as opportunities afforded to employees vary by organization. Tell us: What does on-boarding look like in your organization? Do you take a more long-term approach to mapping out new hires’ career paths?