Let’s begin by defining organizational entry and socialization (OES). OES is known by many names--assimilation, transition, orientation, alignment, induction, integration and onboarding. There are as many definitions as there are synonyms. Here are a few. &quot;...(T)he reciprocal process of new-employee socialization by the organization, interacting with adaptation and coping processes engaged in by the new employee&quot; (Holton, 1995, p. 59). “ Socialization is a term used to describe a process in which an individual acquires the attitudes, behaviors and knowledge needed to successfully participate as an organizational member” (Wesson, 2005, p. 1018). &quot;Organizational socialization (OS) is the process through which a new organizational employee adapts from outsider to integrated and effective insider…OS can include changes in or the development of new skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, values, and relationships, and the development of appropriate sense-making frameworks&quot; (Cooper Thomas, 2006, p. 492). &quot;Onboarding--the process of learning, networking, resource allocating, goal-setting and strategizing that ends with new hires quickly reaching maximum productivity...&quot; (Cashman, 2007, p. 5). What are some keywords or themes common across all of those definitions? I hear “process”. I hear some form of “learning”, which is essentially a change in behavior. I also hear “productivity”—the end goal or purpose of the process. The definition that we’ll use throughout this module is a combination of those definitions: Organizational entry and socialization is the process through which new employees learn and adapt to the norms and expectations of the organization to quickly reach maximum productivity. So why is organizational entry and socialization important?
Here are some interesting statistics: “ As much as 4 percent of new employees leave their new jobs after a disastrous first day&quot; (Moscato, 2005, p. 108). &quot;A significant percentage of new employees quit their jobs within the first 6 months (Chao, 1988; Wanous, 1992), a period during which organizations often have spent thousands of dollars per employee on recruitment, selection, and training, and typically have benefited only marginally from the employee's productivity (Allerton, 1996; Bauer et al., 1998)&quot;; (Slaughter, 2006, p. 265). “ Half of all new hires in leadership posts last three or fewer years…When a good manager leaves, it is not unusual for a company to go through two or three new hires before it finds a lasting replacement, someone who reaches and maintains full productivity levels&quot; (Rhodes, 2006). &quot;The Corporate Leadership Council's research suggests that new employees decide within the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in the organization&quot; (Friedman, 2006, p. 25). &quot;Consulting, a UK HR firm, conducted a study of 5,700 people, published in 2006. The study found that 1 in 25 people leave a new job just because of a poor (or non-existent) induction programme” (Owler, 2007). Watkins's research on executive onboarding says onboarding is about reducing the time to real performance. It takes 6.2 months for a mid-senior manager to reach the point where her contributions surpass the organization’s cost of recruiting, hiring and getting her past the learning curve. 40 percent of senior managers hired from the outside fail within 18 months of hire. (Wells, 2005). A Korn/Ferry International survey found that fewer than one-third of executives are satisfied with the onboarding process. 32 percent said it was below average or poor (Johnson, 2006). 64 percent of new executives hired from the outside will fail at their new job; the average CEO is in the job less than 4 years (Snell, 2006). Given these statistics, let’s talk about the benefits and barriers to OES.
Scholars and practitioners agree that an effective OES process has the following benefits (Snell, 2006): Reduced time to contribution/competence. Improved employee productivity and performance. Stronger bonds among colleagues. Enhanced job satisfaction and loyalty. Improved employee engagement and retention. Enhanced employer brand. Can you think of any other benefits? [Possible answer: Stronger organizational commitment.] Even though effective OES programs have obvious benefits, there are also barriers to creating, implementing and maintaining them. For example, the costs associated with them can be high. The time involved in developing and participating in them can be significant and having resources dedicated to them can prove difficult, especially for the hiring/supervising manager who has additional job responsibilities. You’re probably wondering how the HR professional can help. What do you think their role is in OES?
Holton (1995) said, “ One of the major functions of HRD is the development of new employees into productive members of an organization&quot; (p. 59). Do you agree? Wells (2005) has some ideas about how we can help. She recommends that HR professionals consider the following: Take ownership of the orientation and onboarding processes. See OES as a business imperative. Partner and coach hiring and supervising managers on OES and their role in the process: New hires’ background (social fit). Their time commitment to the OES process. Coaching skills. Reporting back on the performance and productivity of the new hire (to help evaluate and improve the recruiting process). Provide a roadmap for new employees. Set up networks for new employees. Serve as an internal coach/facilitator. Provide tools, training and feedback from the selection through the transition of new employees. These are just a few of the ways the HR professional can contribute to OES. In the next lesson, we’ll discuss the theory, research findings and best practices of OES. Before we move to the next lesson, I’d like to introduce you to the first part of our case study.
Welcome back from your break. In this next session, we’ll examine the theory, research and practice associated with OES. [Read slide.] Let’s begin with the two major OES theories.
There are two widely known OES theories. The first is Van Maanen and Schein. Their work on OES theory was published in 1979 when they theorized about the tactics organizations employ to socialize employees. They defined socialization tactics as “ways in which experiences of individuals in transition from one role to another are structured for them by the organization” (p. 230), and grouped those tactics along six continuums: Collective vs. individual (e.g., group orientation vs. isolated orientation). Formal vs. informal (e.g., going to an onboarding retreat vs. happenstance induction). Sequential vs. random (e.g., gradual, measured adjustment to role vs. chaotic adjustment). Fixed vs. variable (e.g., uniformly phased or timed vs. no standardized timeframe). Serial vs. disjuncture (e.g., role model vs. no role model). Investiture vs. divestiture (e.g., assimilation vs. integration).
Critiquing and building on the work of Van Maanen and Schein, Jones (1986) identified six continuum or classes of tactics as “institutionalized”. That is, they are tactics that can be used by the organization to socialize the new employee. The employee is essentially passive in these tactics. Jones argued that there were also “individualized” tactics that new employees use to socialize themselves into the organization when the more structured, institutionalized tactics are not used or are ineffective. In this sense, the employee is an active participant in socialization and makes meaning of the organization and their role on their own. Individualized socialization usually results in more anxiety and uncertainty (Saks, 2007). Jones also regrouped Van Maanen and Schein’s tactics into three broad factors: social, content and context. In other words, who you are socialized by (peers, mentors, superiors), the content of your socialization (policies, culture, norms) and how you are socialized (face-to-face, group training or informal, isolated training). In his research, Jones found that social tactics are the greatest predictors of fit perception and turnover (Saks, 2007). Now let’s take a look at OES research studies to see if they support or refute these well-known OES theories.
The research studies featured on these next two slides are arranged by the year they were conducted. Since recruiting, hiring and onboarding practices have changed over the last 10 years, especially as technology has been integrated into these processes, we should give more weight to the more recent findings. It is interesting to see what findings have changed significantly over time and which remain constant. Let’s start with Holton’s 1995 study of college graduates’ experiences and attitudes during organizational entry. He found that HRD researchers have a critical role in investigating, designing and facilitating training and on-the-job experiences that will help new employees as they enter organizations. One of the most important outcomes of the study was the realization that socialization was a process, not a one-time event. Next we have a study conducted in 2003 that outlines the factors affecting socialization. They are the expectations of the employee of what the job will entail, the employee’s own proactive behavior in adjusting, and the influences from within the organization such as supervisors and co-workers. This study suggests internships to become familiar with the job before accepting it, conducting personality tests to determine organizational fit, training supervisors and co-workers on how to help socialize new employees, and providing mentoring programs. The last study on this slide was conducted in 2004 and discusses organizational fit. Results showed that effective socialization activities can increase how employees perceive how they fit within the organization, how satisfied they feel, and how long and the degree to which they commit to the organization. Now let’s take a look a few even more recent studies and compare and contrast their findings with these.
In 2005, Wesson and Gogus conducted a study comparing two groups—one onboarded and socialized primarily by computer and the other through face-to-face group interaction. They found that the computer-based group had lower levels of socialization and understanding about the people, politics and organizational goals and values than the face-to-face group. There were no significant differences in topics such as organizational history, language, and performance. Why do you think this is? In 2006, Slaughter and Zickar examined the negative aspects of newcomer socialization and found that they included stress, surprise, confusion and awkwardness. The major outcome of this study is how important it is to create an environment and offer activities which reduce these negative aspects of being a newcomer. Lastly, a study in 2007 found that social activities, such as mentoring, networking and building social bonds, are the strongest predictors of effective newcomer adjustment. Such activities reduce uncertainty and improve fit perceptions. What are some of the common themes you notice throughout these studies? Now that we’ve reviewed some of the theory, research and implications of OES, let’s take a look at how a few organizations are successfully socializing their employees.
Let’s begin with Capital One. Capital One went through an aggressive hiring period in 2003 with unexpected results. Despite a talented group of new hires, important initiatives were stalled, new ideas were slow in coming, new managers weren't engaging with direct reports and attrition was unacceptably high. Exit interviews revealed &quot;a lack of support in transitioning to their new role&quot; (Johnson, 2006, p. 3). To address these problems, Captial One's training and development (T&D) team developed a 3-stage onboarding process called the New Leader Assimilation Program (NLAP). It’s goal is &quot;to help new leaders to begin generating business results within their first 90 days on the job.” 1) Getting the lay of the land: Employees who are newly hired or promoted are assigned (by HR) an internal coach. This coach interviews all of the person's stakeholders (boss, employees, peers and customers) to uncover any potential challenges, goals and performance expectations, the history of how the role has evolved, and the political dynamics the employee may encounter. The coach creates a detailed report called The Customized New Leader Transition Guide . The guide includes professional and personal information about the stakeholders. The new employee receives the guide on his or her first day. In the first week of employment, the new leader meets with her boss to discuss a developmental action plan based on the guide so that he or she can deliver results quickly. 2) Meeting the team: The HR manager facilitates a session with the new leader and his direct reports so that they can get to know each other (using a flip chart to pose questions and answers). An &quot;assimilation buddy&quot; is assigned to answer questions and introduce the new leader to colleagues. This buddy relationship must last a minimum of 90 days, but many endure beyond that. 3) Checking in: Six months into the job, the leader undergoes a 360-degree feedback review with an HR representative and a supervisor about accomplishments and areas needing further development. Hiring managers play a critical role in the program's success. Tip: Brand the program and get high-level buy-in from C-level executives.
Our next example comes from Sun Microsystems. Sun wanted to &quot;combine the best Web 2.0 technology with the company's do-it-yourself culture” (Meister, 2007). Five engaging aspects: 1) New-hire welcome: An interactive video featuring the CEO discussing mission and values, and video vignettes of employees explaining Sun’s culture. 2) Learn: Links to free learning resources about Sun (digitized books, articles and white papers). 3) Participate: Blogs, wikis, discussion forums and custom video tutorials for social networking. 4) Explore: Hyperlinks of data about Sun with industry reports and competitor information. 5) Play: An interactive learning game teaches about Sun's core business, strategy, mission and culture. What do you think about this high-tech approach given what we discussed during the research study findings? Let’s go on to our next company, Electropar.
At Electropar, a New Zealand engineering company, induction is considered a process, not an event. Here is how Owler (2007) describes the new hire experience at Electropar: &quot;You have been for an interview and been offered the job. You receive a welcoming letter in the mail along with your induction time-table including scheduled meetings with key colleagues and managers spaced out over two weeks. You arrive at the office the first day knowing exactly what you will be doing. You are shown your desk and computer, your e-mail address and Internet access only requiring a password. You begin your induction time-table by spending an hour with key managers. Rather than being squeezed in between other more important priorities or appointments, you are given the full attention you deserve. Each manager knows you are coming... You are also given down-time for reading and note-taking and being introduced to your new job in small bites. Your productivity down the track is enhanced, as you know exactly what everyone does in the company and so know who to ask for help when specific problems arise.&quot; Electropar has found positive effects to their bottom line, health and safety records, and retention.
Finally, let’s have a look at Randstad. In 2005, Randstad North America changed their onboarding program in the following ways (Sussman, 2005): [Read sub-bullets of bullet #1 on slide. Note: Manager coaching is between the employee and the manager, and consists of formative and motivational feedback.] During the first 6 months of the revised program, sales increased $63 million over the previous year. Approximately $4 million of that was attributed to the onboarding process. Cost of program was $931,000.
Throughout practice journals, there are a number of best practices touted for OES. Johnson (2005) does a great job summarizing the themes found across the literature. Provide jump-start coaching: --In the first week, the boss should provide expectations for the first 90 days and make sure the new hire understands them. --Conduct entrance interviews to uncover strengths and areas of development. Map out your new hire’s network: --Effectiveness comes from a web of relationships. --Determine who is vital to the new hire’s ability to understand workflow and carry out responsibilities. --Should include both new and veteran co-workers. --The boss should let network know what the new hire brings to the table and what he/she needs to know from them. Follow up: --The boss should make sure the new manager has met with network members. --During one-on-one meetings, ask what they learned from whom and how the new manager has helped them in return. --The employee’s supervisor should sit in on the first few meetings to make introductions and observe. Take advantage of technology: --Introduce the new team member by e-mail and be sure to include interests and expertise. --Sign the new hire up for listservs and discussion groups needed for ramp-up. --Share knowledge using technology. --Use technology to connect people. Use social bonds to fuel collaboration: --When introducing a new hire to their network, share personal details (number of children, completion of a recent 10K run for charity) that the new hire has approved for public disclosure. --Create interest groups to encourage socializing. Another theme that’s found throughout the practice literature is that OES is a process, not an event. Based on what you’ve heard, what else would you add to the list? Now let’s get you all working in groups to apply the findings of research and these best practices.
This presentation provides several important ideas that can be applied in particularly difficult conflict situations.
HR Knowledge: Organizational Entry and Socialization - SHRM India
Staffing • Dr. Frankie S. Jones • 2008 Organizational Entry and Socialization