On Boarding

Catching up with the reading, June 2009 T+D article, Making New Employees Successful In Any Economy. Good article by Katharine Giacalone about the first 90 days. The first 90 days are critical especially in a downturn and the expense of hiring. As the incoming Atlanta ASTD chapter president, I’ve been thinking a lot about on boarding and reflecting on past experiences.

Giacalone in her article gives us six strategies to make sure your new employees stick:

  1. Schedule employees first day when the bosses in the office
  2. Have workstations ready for them when they arrive
  3. Give the employee the lay of the land – tour of the office, campus
  4. Get down to brass tacks – not only the routine policy and procedures but
  5. Train new employees within the first week’s
  6. Check in frequently during the first weeks months and beyond

It’s been some years since I’ve been on-boarded in process. On my last new job I had showed up on the first day and was informed that there had been reorganization and I was now reporting to someone else. I spent my first day following my new manager around and attending three different staff meetings that covered the same topics. That’s my memory of my first day! BTW, no computer, no voice mail, no paycheck in first pay period and my “new hire” orientation, was scheduled in two months.

While I was still in that organization with a different role, the then director of the group had made a new hire. Unfortunately, the director had scheduled herself to be out of the office the entire week. So this poor soul came in on Monday and really had no direction for her first week. I took pity and ran the organizational gauntlet for ID, PC and telephone. Perhaps a better plan would be to have this new hire show up when the director was available.

Back in the 80s I joined a health care system that actually had a very good on boarding system. I went through employee orientation prior to starting my job and then spent the better part of the first week shadowing with other employees in the group. Actually the hospital brought back the former incumbent to orient me to the system, an in-house television operation.

Any on boarding stories to share? Good, bad?

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