Employee turnover can be expensive and time-consuming, so organizations need to know how to get the most from and retain the valuable new additions they make. According to recent research, the secret lies in promoting self-expression and encouraging newcomers to bring their unique values and perspectives to the job. Most importantly, this should be done from the first day through a process known as ‘onboarding’. This Idea offers some practical advice on managing the process.
Idea Summary Here is how most employees’ first day on a new job goes: they are shown how things are done, introduced to the company’s environment and culture, and subtly told what a great organization they have just joined. Sound familiar? This is the onboarding process followed by many HR professionals, with the commonly-held belief that this it is important to ensure the organization’s values are understood and ingrained from day one.
However, recent research suggests that these traditional methods have serious weaknesses, the biggest being the crushing of an individual’s unique identity as they are forced to accept the organization’s identity instead. The long-term problems of identity subordination have been explored by many psychologists and include loss of self-esteem, as authentic self-expression has been shown to be a key component of high self-esteem. As such, organizations should not want their employees to lose this component of their personalities, as it forces them to divert cognitive resources away from their work to coping with identity conflict instead.
Fortunately, there is an alternative way to go about onboarding; researchers from London Business School, Harvard Business School and Kenan-Flagler Business School suggest that managers should encourage employees to use their signature strengths from the very beginning, on a daily basis. This can go a long way in improving employee retention and engagement, as newcomers develop a more positive view towards the organization and inject greater quality and purpose into their work. * Provide employees with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their new jobs * Increase productivity and employee retention by making personal connections and demonstrating your commitment * Introduce company policies, procedures, and culture
* Ensure that employees quickly get up to speed on job skills and company culture
Why is Onboarding Important? Having devoted the time and resources to compete for talent, “quick” turnover is costly. In fact, statistics show that employees are most vulnerable to leaving an organization for 18 months after they are hired. Making a good first impression is therefore crucial. Effective employee onboarding serves three interrelated purpose * First, it ensures that the employee feels welcome, comfortable, prepared, and supported. * These feelings increase the new hire’s ability to make an impact (be productive) within the organization, both immediately and over time. * Finally, employee success leads to satisfaction and retention, which allows the organization to continue to meet its mission. A well-designed onboarding program reduces costs, hastens time to productivity, and improves retention.
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