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February 2013
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Getting On-boarding Right

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Consulting Psychologist, Capp


With BA recruiting 2, 500 new employees last year, it was a prime time for them to discover what makes on-boarding a success. Their research discovered that 90% of employees make a decision to stay with an organisation in the first 6 months, the failure of a successful transition costs between 1.5 and 5 times annual salary, and Generation Y expect to make 5-7 career changes in their life, compared to Baby Boomers who only wanted to make 2-3 career changes.


Clearly, with the coming trend for more frequent career changes and the high cost of getting it wrong, it’s getting more and more important for companies to get on-boarding right.


I’m prone to a little day dreaming, so let me describe how I would like to be welcomed ‘on board’ in an ideal world…


Before I arrive on my first day I am already excited. I have shared the freebies I received with my friends and family who already think this company is phenomenal and I am the luckiest woman they know.


On day 1, my manager meets me and gives me a tour of the building, introduces me to a number of my colleagues and gives me my laptop and phone, already sorted. I spend time speaking 1:1 to one with a handful of colleagues, finding out what they do and who I can go to for what. I am tasked to discover my strengths overnight with an online questionnaire and bring the results back in the morning.


On day 2, my manager and I talk through my Realise2 strengths profile – what makes me tick and what I find draining. This is enjoyable and insightful as I discover she is as keen as I am for me to be my best self at work.  I spend the day satiating my curiosity about the company’s culture through conversation, watching (non-cheesy) videos online and meeting one of the senior leaders for a thought-provoking and honest Q&A. By the end of the day I LIKE this company and I feel as if they LIKE me.


On day 3, my manager gives me my first assignment that plays to my strengths. I am delighted to be given a chance to show what I can do as I prepare to get started. I’m now excited to be working here, knowing that they want me to bring my best self to work, and that they want me to succeed through using my strengths. This company’s culture is all about helping me to do what I do best and love to do each day. It’s the perfect match!


I’ll end my dream here, although ‘on-boarding’ will continue for the next six months as I develop my skills in new areas, work closely with partners who show me the ropes and receive feedback from colleagues as I venture into new terrain.


It doesn’t sound so difficult, so why is this not every new employee’s experience?


For a start, companies don’t recognise the financial impact of getting on-boarding right.  As a result, managers are not given the right resources and don’t realise that it is they themselves who can make or break each new employee’s spirit and resolve to stay.


The sad result, when they get it wrong, is that talented people prepare to leave within the first 6 months and everyone’s a loser.


In contrast, get on-boarding right, and everyone is well on the way to being a winner.


Strengths On-boarding is a key way to achieve this, by celebrating the best of why you recruited someone, then putting them to work by doing what they do best and love to do every day. That’s the way to love Mondays!


Strengths On-boarding is part of Strengths Selector, Capp’s five steps to strengths-based recruitment. Find out more about Strengths On-boarding here.


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