A recent survey of 150 new employees by Novita, a provider of employee on-boarding and training development solutions, found organizations have room to improve on their on-boarding initiatives.
When asked to rank their organization’s overall orientation experience, 12.6 percent rated their experience as a one, meaning terrible; 21.8 percent rated their experience as a two; 29.4 percent rated their experience as a three; 26.9 percent rated their experience as a four; and 9.2 percent rated their experience as a five, meaning excellent.
“There’s great opportunity for improvement,” said Robert Bilotti, principal of Novita. “If you take the survey results as a whole, you would say, ‘Eh, things are going OK.’ The question companies need to ask themselves is how acceptable is that?”
It seems that on-boarding has not changed much, as 73.9 percent of the respondents said completing forms was still part of their new-employee orientation.
“There’s still a very traditional way of doing on-boarding. [And administration activities are] still the prominent element,” Bilotti said. “But yet, when there is more emphasis on people, [such as a mentoring program], that seems to have one of the biggest impacts on on-boarding, as well as productivity.”
According to the survey, 48 percent of the respondents said they mostly learned the skills necessary to perform their jobs on their own. But that’s as it should be, as there is a certain amount of self-learning that should happen during on-boarding, Bilotti said.
“The manager is the most critical piece of on-boarding, but everything can’t rest on them,” he said. “Let’s take company history as an example: Is it important that an employee knows the history of the company? Absolutely. Is it the manager’s job to tell the new employee about the history? No, I don’t believe it is.
“There has to be an element of self-service. That doesn’t mean that you let the employee run free, but that you set up self-service mechanisms such as the use of technology and the use of structured print materials.”
The manager then becomes responsible for setting the stage for success.
“The manager’s job is to create a culture for the employee, to create structure, to create expectations and to coach,” Bilotti said.
On-boarding should not be just a box to check off. It’s a fundamental initiative that affects productivity, on-the-job satisfaction, retention and employee referrals.
“Those translate directly into dollars, and organizations need to make sure they’re doing everything they can when it comes to on-boarding,” Bilotti said.