The labour shortage and low retention rate require that specialists re-evaluate traditional intake practices, moving them closer to assimilation than onboarding. New onboarding practices are being proposed. These practices offer genuine support to people who take on new roles. They are designed to:
- Recognize the strengths and talents they bring to their new environment and the impact of them joining the team.
- Support the development of a network of professional relationships through which their expertise can be shared.
- Support their supervisor in establishing a partnership with them.
Respect the need for recognitionIn an onboarding process, it is better to identify, promote and share the strengths, talents and experience of the person newly in a position than to extol the organization’s mission and values. Recognition will be the point of departure for interactions: Would you accept the influence of someone you don’t trust? Would you trust someone who hasn’t shown an interest in you? Recognition is effective when it comes to retention and performance; the benefits are clear. Gallup studies show that when supervisors focus on employee strengths, individual performance increases by 20%, while the probability of a departure drops by 32% (MIT).
Onboarding: A relationshipHuman beings have always designed organizations as they understand them. For over a century, we have been breaking down tasks – separating planning from execution – based on the belief that tasks must follow one another in a linear fashion. Lots of traditional organizations operate according to this model. “The basic unit of organizing work is the team” Science and technology now offer us a new understanding of the world and allow us to design organizations where:
- there is shared purpose
- trust gives rise to cooperation
- interdependence makes grasping complexity possible
Partnership rather than subordinationStudies by the Center for Creative Leadership have shown that fewer than one third of new hires receive support in their onboarding and that fewer than one quarter receive it from their supervisor. During the first few weeks, supervisors often stand back to avoid creating the impression they don’t trust their new employee. New employees, in turn, want to prove that their supervisor was right in giving them the job by demonstrating their value and skill. They will tend to avoid asking for advice. Yet this is the period when supervisors can best help their protégés and point them in the right direction. “The myth of the hero leader has to make way for collective leadership” The involvement of supervisors with their employee guarantees successful onboarding. It makes it possible to avoid what INSEAD researchers have called “set-up-to-fail syndrome.” This involvement requires that everyone:
- agree to risk being vulnerable, and
- commit to being fair to the person who is taking the risk and to trust them
- Create a context conducive to discussion: devote one hour a week to new employees and let them set the agenda for the meeting.
- Suspend judgement to reflect together: resist judging the new protégé’s style too quickly.
- Give regular feedback: share perceptions and ask for the other person’s perspective.
Better retention and performanceIn closing, to improve retention and increase performance you need to:
- recognize that the person joining the organization is unique
- enable the development of a network of interpersonal relations
- adjust how work is organized to reflect a person’s strengths and talents