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The Total Onboarding Program

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
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Onboarding is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization.

  • Acquire: Identify and recruit people to join the team. 
  • Accommodate: Give new team members the tools they need to do work.  
  • Assimilate: Help them work with others. 
  • Accelerate: Help them and their teams deliver better results faster.

Effective onboarding of new team members is one of the most important contributions any hiring manager or HR professional can make to ensure the long-term success of their team or organization. Effective onboarding drives new employee productivity, accelerates delivery of results, and significantly improves talent retention.
Yet few organizations manage the different pieces of onboarding well, so most people in new roles do not get clear messages about what the team and the organization wants and expects from them. Even fewer organizations use a strategic, comprehensive, integrated, and consistent approach. As a result, too many new employees fail, generally due to one of three reasons: poor fit, poor delivery, or poor ability to adjust to changes down the road.

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Whose fault is it when that happens? Everyone’s.

With that in mind, this series of five blog posts will focus on a total onboarding program, including four things organizations can do to improve their onboarding:

  • Prepare for your new employee’s success before you start recruiting. Understand the organization-wide benefits of a total onboarding program and make sure management is willing to invest. Clarify your destination by creating a recruiting brief, and by crafting your messages to the employee and the organization. Lay out your onboarding plan, and align stakeholders.
  • Recruit in a way that reinforces your messages about the position and the organization. Create a powerful slate of potential candidates. Evaluate candidates against the recruiting brief while preselling and pre-boarding. Make the right offer, and close the right sale the right way.
  • Give your new employee a head start before day 1. Co-create a personal onboarding plan with your new employee. Manage the announcement to set your new employee up for success. Do what it takes to make your new employee ready, eager, and able to do real work on day 1.
  • Enable and inspire your new employee to deliver better results faster. Make positive first impressions both ways. Speed the development of important working relationships. Provide resources, support, and follow-through.

Leadership is about inspiring and enabling others. How you handle the alignment of your organization around the need for onboarding in general and the acquisition, accommodation, assimilation, and acceleration of individual new employees communicates volumes to everyone. In many ways, this is one of the acid tests of leadership. With the help of the total onboarding program and specific ideas, forms, and tools in this blog series, you will demonstrate consistent, exemplary leadership.

About the Author
Ed Bancroft is part of the executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis, which helps new leaders and teams get done in their first 100 days what would normally take six to 12 months, jump-starting strategic, operating, and organizational processes and reducing new leader failure rates from 40 to 5 percent. He is co-author of Onboarding, The Total Onboarding Program, and The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.
About the Author

George Bradt has a unique perspective on transformational leadership based on his experience as a business leader, consultant, and journalist. He progressed through sales, marketing, and general management roles around the world at companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and J.D. Power’s Power Information Network spin-off as chief executive. Now he is a principal of CEO Connection and managing director of the executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis.

George is a graduate of Harvard and Wharton (MBA), co-author of four books on onboarding, including The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, and co-author of a weekly column on Forbes.com, The New Leader’s Playbook.

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