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A White Paper on Effective On boarding

By - Dr Poonam ,Associate Professor ,University of Delhi & Mr Navin Bhatia,


Managing Director ,Navkar Skills

The effectiveness of on boarding processes has come to the forefront for a number of
reasons. Some of them are the increasing reluctance of companies to invest time in
long on boarding processes, the cancer of infant mortality/unwanted attrition and the
pressure from consumers/customers/clients to be assured seamless quality service ,
larger end to end process , in which Induction is a key sub process.
Hence, all organizations have to take a hard look at their current process design of the
on boarding process. This hard look would include review of upstream processes like
Workforce Planning, Talent Planning, Learning and Development, Job/Role design,
Recruitment & Selection, first day experience, induction and eventual placement in the
planned role. The review of the on boarding processs effectiveness should also include
the assessment of the individuals short and longer term performance levels, feedback
from direct Managers and others, feedback from customers etc, and the view of the
newly hired.

An Induction process should make the new hires 'feel' they are rightly selected for the
job. An effective induction process also makes the existing employees too, feel they
have now a useful extended family. From an organizational perspective, the goal of the
induction program is in the new hire(s) achieve the standard performance levels quickly
by providing basic training, mentoring and regular feedback during the induction period.
The induction program helps also adapt the new employee to the new environment.

If induction is not effective it is likely to take longer for the new employee to be fully
effective in the role. In extreme cases, an ineffective induction, could lead to difficulty
in settling down (additional Training & Development costs could be incurred) and
eventually could end up in voluntary/involuntary exit from the organization within a short
time.
High-performing organizations focus on the quick adaptation of the new employee. They
recognize the importance of high performance, and build processes and procedures to

help new hires adopt and adapt quickly. Inputs include attention to softer dimensions,
including, basics of the corporate culture, the way the organization works, and
communication of the performance expectations.
An effective induction process does not start on the first day, for the new hire and the
organization. That is why effective on boarding is the super ordinate goal, while first day
experience is only one of the touch points.
The designing of the induction program should start well before the start date. The
company should well before the first day-inform the new hire about the details of the
job, share basic/necessary information about the company, organisational structure and
facets of the corporate culture. The new hire should be hence excited and ready for the
challenges of the role. The emotional connect has to be established prior to day one of
joining.
The Induction Day/week is critical as the new hire(s) obtain more and higher level
company information, including policies, procedures and role expectations. The new
hire(s) also complete the documentation, along with supporting evidence; understand
the training schedule & deliverables many a times, is obligatory under law. An
effective on boarding anchored Induction Program is a longer duration process. It could
last several days, or even weeks.
The Induction Program is also about the alignment of expectations between the new
hire, his/her immediate Line Manager, peers, direct reports and other key people. The
HR team/member plays a key role in the anchoring of the Induction processes and
supports the Line Management via content, tools, templates etc. HR function shares co
accountability for ensuring new employees adapt quickly and reach the desired levels of
performance at each checkpoint.

The critical goal of an effective on boarding process is to ensure that most of the new
hires reach the performance standards as soon as possible. These programmes also
help the new hires understand the said and unsaid protocol for communication and
this in turn helps easier and faster adaptation and adoption. The new employee also, in
some organizations, establishes a connect with a dedicated mentor.
*Examples from a large Indian IT Global company:

1. Catch Them Young (CTY)


Aimed at students of class 9 from various schools, the programme focuses on
encouraging students to dream big and aim high, through sharing knowledge about
computers and how friendly and useful they can be. Written tests are conducted for the
9th standard students wherein 30-40 students are selected. The selected students are
trained on computer languages like C, introduced to multimedia and e-commerce for
about 15 days. The best two students are selected and assigned to do a small real time
project for the company. During this period, the company also pays a stipend amount as
a sign of recognition.
2. Campus Connect:
The Company works on better alignment between the college curriculum and the
industry's requirements. Seminars and training sessions for Faculty provide the latter an
industry perspective, in turn enabling them to train the students better. Industry-oriented
content, including courseware to students is provided by the company. Projects are
assigned, including supporting sabbaticals for the faculty. The courseware is published
on their intranet portal, to be viewed by member colleges.

3. A student- faculty group from different engineering disciplines visit one of the software
development centres and spend half a day. The purpose of this visit is to demystify the
images, that students may have about the working of an IT business enterprise
these interventions have helped the company, in many different ways, to ensure that the
students are industry ready, when the latter join. It has provided exposure to the
Faculty of institutions to the companys way of professional training, besides sharing
industry best practices. The soft skills focus helps the students to become better team
players, superior communication skills, and adapt quicker and better with the company
work culture.

Additional Resources:
1) http://www.peopleinaid.org/pool/files/pubs/rapidinduction.pdf
2) http://www.citehr.com/22096-purpose-induction-bestpractice.html

3) Boot Camp: Trilogy Software

A company could outsource components of the on boarding and induction processes to


partner entities (consultants, trainers, colleges, skilling companies).New hire programs
could be grouped and trained at a strategically useful time, in line with the Business
Strategy. Interventions for new hire on-boarding include outbound events,
sensitivity/personal growth exercises. Some organizations choose to chisel into shape
the raw talent of new hires and plan for lower challenge KRA accomplishment in the
initial weeks and months. Here, the focus would be on building the muscle for the
future sprints.
In closing, an effective on-boarding led Induction process is an effective and efficient
tool to ensure higher and quicker performance from an organisations new hires. The
high performing organization, hence ensure, that there is minimum disturbance/entropy
loss, while it deals with the reality of talent moving out and fresh talent coming in. The
organization is also having a valuable opportunity to strengthen its employee value
proposition.