Socialisation is based on social learning theory, stating that we learn new behaviours by observing and copying others, through behaviour modification. This theory explains how we view behaviours around us; modify them to suit our purposes and continue or cease the behaviour, based on the positive or negative feedback we receive. Workplace socialisation is highly critical, as outcomes impact growth and profitability.
The purpose of socialisation within organisations is to facilitate quicker integration of new workers; increase commitment and engagement; match both organisational and job fit and manage diversity within teams. Buchanan & Huczynski summarise this by saying organisations need to ensure that new workers, are taught to view the environment and work, in the same way as the resident workers, who are already successful contributors to organisational achievement (2017).
Faster employee integration is one of the main purposes of organisational socialisation, because quicker induction into workplace culture equates to shorter timeframes for integration and productivity. Organisations implement both formal and informal socialisation strategies such as developing induction programs including socialisation aspects, (e.g. mentoring and buddy systems) to more speedily integrate workers. The quicker, new employees can be assimilated into a role, learn to deal with a variety of established interpersonal relationships, and work within different environments and workplace practices, the quicker the business can reap the rewards of their productivity and drive economic outcomes. Organisations see this reduction in time taken to make an employee productive, as a key purpose when designing socialisation strategies.
Cohen & Veled-Hecht (2010) state that the purpose of socialisation is all about extending the familiarity of new employees, in regards to the workplace and so decreasing the new worker’s unease and uncertainty. Socialisation increases familiarity, commitment and engagement. Additionally, commitment of workers is positively linked to business goals such as increased motivation and reduced turnover. This means that organisations look directly for business outcomes as a purpose, from the engagement and commitment aspects of socialisation. Rather than leaving these outcomes to chance, organisations develop plans for socialisation purposes, creating formal strategies to influence socialisation, and ‘fit’, hoping to also partly manage informal socialisation strategies.
Induction can be an unsettling time for both new employees and existing teams, and can lead to productivity decreases and time wasting. Each of these individual purposes of organisational socialisation, combine in an overarching objective, to integrate new workers into the group dynamic and have them replicate the success of existing workers as quickly as possible. Organisations recognise that existing employees play an important role here, because through their everyday talk and actions, they are prime directors of organisational socialisation and can affect the achievement of desired purpose. So think carefully about who manages the induction of your new workers, who you buddy them with and the ways you can decrease the time lag between starting a new role and becoming an effective and profitable team member.
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