On Boarding – A First Impression

By Maria Forbes
June 2, 2016

Two new employees, one fresh out of college and another an experienced professional, both get new jobs and their companies fumble On Boarding.

The college grad was ecstatic about her first day on the job. She expected an interactive day of learning their collaborative processes and technology applications at this large corporation, since there were several meetings prior to her start date and positive synergy with her new bosses. Excited to get her first day started, her enthusiasm gradually became concern when she was shown a desk and lap top without an agenda for the day. As the day went on there was no indication that an agenda was in place, only random interactions with her busy supervisor to issue tasks that had no apparent sequence toward a training goal.  She wondered, is there a button to push, a bell to ring? How do I get someone’s attention? Hello, I’m new here! An entire week of miscellaneous tasks continued even when this motivated fresh-out demonstrated enthusiasm for learning more made it difficult to escape the first impression that this culture that may not be what was presented during the recruiting process. Eventually she established relationships with coworkers and her supervisor. She has performed well and built a specialization within her department. Unfortunately the culture of misalignment lingers and this young professional feels challenged to develop her goals. The lack of On Boarding on day one continued to influence the relationship as management had no apparent plan for developing long term success.  As her first anniversary approaches this top performer is asked to select a position she would like to pursue. Instead she is researching new opportunities.
Does it get better? Not according to the experienced professional who joined a mid-sized firm. After weeks of waiting for completion of the vetting processes, and following a three day software training, she arrives at the office on her first day to learn that her boss will be out of the office. What- is this real? Maybe a different person will work with me; surely there is a plan for getting started. Nope, nothing was in place, and the first week was a mixture of random interface with department heads. Following an unorganized first week on the job, this professional used her knowledge and skills to start writing a training manual for her position, so the next new hire can avoid confusion and get off to a productive start. Her first impression is a question – how does this lack of organization reflect the larger company culture? Staying the course to establish herself in a new business culture, the experienced professional expresses her concern and general lack of confidence in the company. An On Boarding fumble has caused a potential retention challenge. Time will tell whether this experienced professional can work out the kinks and create a long term association with her new company.
Small business leaders continue to struggle for consistent growth without current position descriptions, on boarding for new hires, and little to no understanding of what makes their people highly productive. As a strategic partner to small business leaders, the one thing we preach with great vigor is a commitment to clarity of roles, purposeful on boarding, and alignment of personal strengths toward a shared growth goal.  The connection between where you want to go, and how your team can help you to get there, is crucial to sustaining business growth and continuity. If you want to avoid high turn over, employee burn out, and mediocre team performance, don’t leave out an On Boarding plan for forming long term and productive team associations.
For more information on On Boarding New Team Members contact Maria C. Forbes, FIREPOWER business office
Direct Phone: 770-315-6297

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