If you have yet to attend a SHRM annual conference but are planning for the future, be comfortable knowing that you are not alone in struggling to choose between numerous appealing concurrent sessions within the same time block! Our most veteran attendees spend significant time weighing their options, but even with the most careful deliberations, we can only be in one place at once! In case you missed it at SHRM18, Amy Hirsh Robinson, MBA, presented a popular and engaging Mega Session answering the hard questions about how a new hire’s onboarding experience can lay the path for ruin or success with their new organization. We were fortunate to share some time with Amy discussing the critical importance of integrating an effective onboarding plan with your organization’s retention strategy.
Why is effective onboarding and orientation more meaningful now then in years past?
Rapid onboarding is taking on a new priority as demographic shifts gather steam. As Boomers exit organizations, there will not be a 1-to-1 replacement ratio because the generation behind them (Gen X) is half the size of the Boomer generation. That means organizations will need to find ways to fast track Millennials into positions of leadership and convince them to stay with organizations. That starts with effective onboarding, and most employers do a terrible job of it.
For organizations whose staff is already stretched thin to complete training on the day-to-day work for new hires, is it possible to still implement a successful onboarding and orientation plan?
Onboarding is more than training. It is the structured and consistent process of integrating new employees into your organization, preparing them to succeed at their job, and to become fully engaged, productive members of the company. That means that the primary responsibility for onboarding rests with the line managers, not HR. They are the ones that have the most influence over a new hire's experience and they are the ones that have the most to lose if a new hire disengages and leaves the company. So yes, it is possible to implement a successful program if your HR team is stretched thin, and it requires real partnership with the operational leaders of your business.
Is having no onboarding or orientation plan better than working under a poorly executed strategy?
Every organization has an onboarding process whether it is managed or not. Employees get hired and experience something. When people are in unfamiliar territory, they are more alert for any clues that will help them navigate the terrain. Because new hires are more vigilant for clues in this impressionable state, they are likely to notice even the most minor examples of a poorly designed and executed onboarding process. They are more likely to see these as indicative of a poorly run organization that doesn’t care about its employees. They are more likely to make meaning out of anything and everything their new employer does or does not do. If new employees have a bad experience during the first 90 days, they will disengage and leave.
What is the best first step to take for a professional in an organization without an existing orientation or onboarding plan?
Build the business case with your stakeholders to implement a structured onboarding process. For example, bad onboarding leads to attrition, attrition, low productivity, reduced engagement, loss of respect for management and a degradation of the company and employer brand.
Do you have any recommendations for first time attendees to SHRM’s annual conference?
There has been a seismic shift in the way executives think about people, culture and workplace practices. They have come to understand that exceptional “People” leadership and systems are levers of operational and financial excellence. As a result, there is growing recognition that the background, skills and competencies of HR leaders are vital components to the success of the business as a whole. My advice is to attend sessions that expand your strategic skillset so that you are well positioned professionally for the future.
Amy Hirsh Robinson, MBA, is leading the conversation on understanding the significance and effects of a multigenerational workforce in today’s economy. Click here to learn more about Amy’s efforts to guide organizations to success through attracting and retaining top talent, effectively managing diverse staff, and preparing for the future with intentional succession planning.
It’s never too early to start planning for SHRM19! This year’s conference broke records with more than 20,000 HR professionals from around the world convening in Chicago. Will you join us for SHRM19 in Las Vegas? Don’t gamble on your opportunity to register early and snag a convenient housing option while you’re at it – click here to register for SHRM19!