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Organizational Socialization!!!


I know – it took me a minute too. It’s one of many synonyms for ONBOARDING that pops up on Google. Why was I looking for another word?  Because I think that we’ve become somewhat tone deaf to the concept of what it really means to help a new employee integrate into the company, team, etc.. The phrase ‘ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION’ is a mouthful, but I think it captures the concept and opportunity much better when you reflect on the scope of what is inferred. It’s a mouthful so let’s go with ‘OS’ going forward.

Whether it’s an hourly front-line worker or C-Suite exec, there’s more to getting them started than paperwork and the 5-minute office tour. We continue to live in times of record-low unemployment and high turnover, yet the stats continue to show that organizations are underestimating the importance of a strong start. According to a recent Gallup poll only 12% of employees say their company does a good job of onboarding. Conversely, a great OS program is a competitive advantage in the talent marketplace and can significantly increase retention of new hires.  

The best OS programs have the following 3 practices in common:

  1. Preparation or Preboarding – “Pre” – meaning starting before Day One – involves making sure your new hire has everything they need on the first day of work to get started and engaged.  Whether you are the hiring manager or an HR leader, it’s worth your time to put some thought and planning into preparation.
  2. Focus On Knowledge Transfer – this involves gathering and sharing all the information a new hire could possibly need to help them come up to speed on the company, team and their role. Don’t just give them the employee handbook and ask them to sign the last page. Give them org charts, examples of company communications, training documentation, detailed information on the company’s products/ services, a list of the top 10 processes they need to learn, and so on. If possible, assign them a ‘tour guide’ to walk with them on the OS journey.
  3. Calendars & Metrics – a great ‘OS process’ unfolds over several weeks and months – it’s not just Day One and done. Best practices include a clear set of 90-day objectives, pre-scheduling meetings with key stakeholders, weekly check-ins between manager and new hire, scheduling training – the more the better as long as its manageable.

Beyond The Basics

If you are looking to go above and beyond for your new talent, here are additional suggestions:

  • Depending on the size of your organization, consider using onboarding technology to develop and manage the process. This is a great list as a starting point.
  • As mentioned earlier, connect your new hires to a ‘tour guide’ for the first three months. This can provide newbies with a direct contact for questions, feedback and camaraderie. It can also speed up the pace at which your employees feel like they are a part of the team.
  • Ensure a method for a continuous feedback loop with the employee’s direct manager. Weekly one-on-one check-ins can make sure any questions are answered in a timely manner and any problems can be rectified and redirected quickly.

OK, so I realize that I’m not going to start a revolution with this article and inspire the world to ditch the term ‘onboarding’  but, at least I’ve given you some food for thought! If you would like to discuss strengthening your OS process for new hires, Agilitas can help. Let’s talk! You can reach me at [email protected].