Employers and HR leaders: How well does your on-boarding process prepare new employees to become productive fast? How do you know?
I recently came across a new data set on on-boarding practices. In “Welcome Aboard,” Brian Taliesin of Intrepid Learning breaks down the results of their 2011 On-boarding Survey, which probed 50 organizations of various sizes and industries about their on-boarding processes and timelines.
While the sample set was informally drawn, the results are consistent with what I see in the San Francisco Bay Area. The report is info-graphically amusing, yet draws some not so humorous conclusions about where employers fall short.
According to the report, just 19% of companies surveyed start their on-boarding process “after acceptance but before start”, and another 8% start in recruitment. In my experience, the remaining 73% are missing the boat by starting on-boarding too late.
In 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role, I encourage leaders to start their own on-boarding process before their first day on the job (see especially rules 2 and 5). Early on-boarding, thoughtfully done, accelerates time to productivity. And, as the best job-seekers gain more and more offers in this improving economy, you’re less likely to lose pre-start employees when you engage them before their start date.
The report reveals that only 24% of companies surveyed evaluate their on-boarding program by time to productivity, and only 13% measure on-boarding success with performance feedback (from 360 or a mentor) – these rates strike me as low, since these are metrics that get to the core of what you want from your programs: high performance as early as possible.
Despite likening the current state of on-boarding to the ill-fated S.S. Minnow of Gilligan’s Island, Intrepid Learning’s report offers hope by highlighting better on-boarding practices.
The model they use is helpful in diagnosing where to invest:
Compliance, the least-related to productivity, yet, the most-widely covered, Clarification, Culture, Connection, and Continuity. I especially encourage you to start demystifying Culture, how we do things around here, and Connection, who you need to know to get stuff done, early in the process.