For decades, the HR world has been spouting the following statements on an endless verbal loop:
- Move all HR practices from an administrative to a strategic focus
- Employees are our best assets
- Develop a culture of employee engagement for success
The assumption is that if HR does all of the above, everything will be perfect; however, HR never really does these things. They usually do the exact opposite of what they believe in. Let’s look at what HR usually does during new employee orientations.
On an employee’s first day, HR inundates the new employee with administrative policies and procedures, which are nothing more than strict guidelines and rules that demean the new employee’s intelligence. Then, the HR professional is shocked when the employee does not embrace their culture of engagement. This orientation merry-go-round is happening on a perpetual loop at most organizations.
Successful employee onboarding, or orientation, is not about learning HR’s administrative rules. According to John Hilton, in his article “4 ways onboarding processes must change,” successful employee onboarding is about submerging employees in the organization’s culture, and the key to making employees engaged and productive in their new positions. This is noted by Hilton, when he states, “There’s a misconception that an intensive onboarding experience requires a high administrative burden.”
Additionally, Hilton suggests some ideas on how HR can successfully transition from an administrative to a strategic focus:
- Engage employees’ emotions
- Explain that organizational culture and behaviours are not just about meeting administrative goals on paper
- Automate lower value activities
- Focus all orientation activities with the intent to expose employees to the organizational culture
HR professionals know that onboarding sets the tone for the quality of long-term employee engagement. So, when HR creates an onboarding process with intention, it sets the tone for sparking a higher level of long-term employee engagement and productivity.
- Research and identify if there is a difference between employee orientation and employee onboarding. State and defend your position.
- Research and find an organization that has an exceptional onboarding program. Summarize the main elements of their program.
- What would you present to your VP of HR to demonstrate the value of a strategic onboarding program?