Onboarding is the process that organisations implement, to expedite socialisation (Klein 2015). Socialisation is the theory of facilitating integration of new workers more quickly into the business, through their observations and adoption of the behaviours of those around them.
Standardising formal socialisation processes, (e.g formalised induction processes) assists in improving business outcomes and overcoming variance of experiences, from person to person. Additionally, standardisation ensures organisational justice is executed through procedural fairness with documented, merit based actions. This entails having formal procedures and the enactment of those procedures with new employees.
Socialisation of new workers, starts before they have commenced work. One improvement tactic is to developing greater understanding of socialisation timing implications. There is strong correlation between early experience and organisational socialisation outcomes. Filstad (2004) points to the initial 4-6 weeks, as a key period. Cohen & Veled-Hecht agree, finding that socialisation takes place primarily during the early part of new employment (2010). Managers should arrange training/mentoring with role models during this period. It is a crucial time for tacit knowledge transfer, leading to greater socialisation.
Further areas to make your new staff ‘hit the ground running’ include looking at adjustment and onboarding strategies. Cooper-Thomas et al (2011) suggests HR managers should build on general adjustment strategies for newcomers, relating to “befriending; teaming; exchanging; flattering; negotiating; talking; asking; socializing and networking”.
While this delivers broad tactics to consider, Klein et al (2015) defines these practices more specifically, concluding that employees experiencing better onboarding, are better socialised, and that inclusion of more practices, rather than less, has positive socialisation effects. Klein grouped his practices into:
• Communication Practices including Q&A sessions and one-on-one meetings;
• Resources Practices including individual development plans, system training and learning resource creation;
• Training Practices utilising orientation sessions, video and buddy systems;
• Welcome Practices covering social integration and welcome communications; and
• Guide Practices – an allocated single point of contact to assist the new hire.
When applying Klein et al’s research (2015), organisations should develop deeper understanding of the nuances and results of the research; for example, that resource and welcome practices are most effective. The research further theorises that a timed roll out may be more beneficial to organisations, rather than just relying on single time periods for on-boarding.
To be ahead of the pack with your HR strategies and get your new staff productive quicker, one must look at research and empirical evidence for the best way to manage your new workers, making them effective assets as soon as possible. That and call 923|HR!
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