Onboarding (Part I): Connecting Talent Selection and Onboarding

Posted on September 29th, 2014

Most HR personnel and hiring managers believe that talent selection ends with a job offer. What many people overlook is that talent selection includes the process of onboarding. The effective onboarding of a new hire has a positive, long-term impact on the new employee, on the team, andiStock_000000732736Small on the company. Successful onboarding leads to a host of positive outcomes, including enhanced productivity, higher performance, better engagement, and increased retention.
According to the latest research , over 80% of new employees decide to stay or leave the organization within the first six months of employment. Moreover, as many as half of new hires fail within the first 18 months of their employment. In contrast, organizations with very effective onboarding programs have three times more highly engaged new hires – and empirical research has shown a strong relationship between engagement and turnover. A formal and purposeful onboarding program puts a new hire on the path to early engagement.
Once an offer has been accepted, the failure of a new employee typically comes down to disconnections based on the position (e.g., misunderstood or poorly communicated performance expectations), the individual (e.g., unclear or misjudged capabilities), the rapport (e.g., misunderstanding of stakeholder or customer needs), and/or the commitment (e.g., poor or lack of employee-manager interaction, especially early in her tenure).1

In order to overcome these disconnections, you must be able to answer the following seven questions affirmatively:

  1. Have the selection criteria required for success been identified?iStock_000016039876Large
  2. Has a structured, consistent process been used for evaluating the candidate’s expertise and capabilities?
  3. Does the new hire have a clear picture of the organization as well as the job and its associated requirements and expectations?
  4. Has the new hire been introduced to and understand the needs of her stakeholders and customers?
  5. Does the new hire understand team/BU/organization mission, vision, goals, and strategies?
  6. Has the new hire identified personal goals, strategies and tactics in support of #5 above?
  7. Have the manager and the new hire collaborated to create an onboarding plan?

How important are these questions? Here is just one example: Research has shown a strong positive relationship between receiving an accurate picture of the job and both engagement and NOT looking for a new job2:



You can see a 650% difference in engagement scores and not looking for a job between a very poor vs. very high picture of the job.
In next month’s blog, Onboarding (Part II), I will discuss specific ideas for connecting selection results to training and personalized development programs. As always, I encourage you to leave your comments and questions in the text box below and to participate in a 3-minute anonymous survey – both of which will help drive discussion and inform subsequent blog posts.

To discuss your specific talent selection issues and challenges, please contact me at 203-817-7522.

[1] For more information see Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time (2009)
[2] Global Selection Forecast Report (2012)

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