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Customizing Onboarding Programs for Managers and Hourly Employees

According to a study highlighted in the MIT Sloan Management Review, approximately 25 percent of all workers change jobs each year. This percentage includes employees who are terminated by their employers or leave on their own. Either way, it’s disruptive for companies when one-quarter of the workforce is transitioning in and out of positions. Developing and implementing a structured and comprehensive onboarding program is one way to maximize workforce and organizational success.

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Customizing
Onboarding
Programs for
Managers and
Hourly Employees
According to a study highlighted in the MIT Sloan
Management Review, approximately 25 percent of all
workers change jobs each year. This percentage
includes employees who are terminated by their
employers or leave on their own. Either way, it’s
disruptive for companies when one-quarter of the
workforce is transitioning in and out of positions.
How can you minimize the impact turnover has on your
company? Developing and implementing a structured
and comprehensive onboarding program is one way to
maximize workforce and organizational success.
In the most basic sense, onboarding helps
employees adjust quickly to the company culture and
prepare to meet the requirements of their new
position. The goal is to first make new employees feel
welcomed, and then convey the appropriate attitudes,
behaviors, knowledge, and skills required to succeed
in their job.
Because you want new hires to begin contributing as
soon as possible, every new employee within an
organization should participate in an onboarding
program. However, the type of onboarding offered will
depend on the type of position. For example,
onboarding executives and managers will differ from
onboarding hourly employees. Although many best
practices will apply across the board, you need to
customize your onboarding efforts based on specific
position requirements.
Special Considerations for Successfully
Onboarding Executives and Managers
According to an article published by the SHRM
Foundation, an affiliate of the Society for Human
Resource Management, an estimated 500,000
managers in Fortune 500 companies assume new
roles every year. On average, managers start new jobs
every two to four years. These figures represent
significant transitioning among the management ranks.
The article also estimated the cost of a singled failed
executive-level manager can reach a whopping $2.7
million, depending on the organization. However, many
companies lack formal, tailored onboarding programs
for their managers.
Executives and managers represent your
organization’s leadership team. Because their
positions are highly visible and impact the bottom line,
you need to get these new hires up to speed as quickly
as possible. As a result, onboarding programs for
managers must be more elaborate than those for
hourly workers.
Why such a distinction? For one, executives and
senior managers interact with more stakeholders within
the company. In addition, managers are often recruited
to shake things up. In other words, they were hired to
help with specific strategic initiatives that may not deal
with a company’s current situation, but instead foster a
needed change.
Goals for Senior-Level Onboarding Programs
The goals for your onboarding program are fairly
intuitive. First, you want to slash the high costs
stemming from new hire failure. Next, you want your
managers to achieve results in the shortest amount
of time. Finally, you want the transition period to be a
smooth and positive experience for your new
managers.

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Customizing Onboarding Programs for Managers and Hourly Employees

  • 2. According to a study highlighted in the MIT Sloan Management Review, approximately 25 percent of all workers change jobs each year. This percentage includes employees who are terminated by their employers or leave on their own. Either way, it’s disruptive for companies when one-quarter of the workforce is transitioning in and out of positions. How can you minimize the impact turnover has on your company? Developing and implementing a structured and comprehensive onboarding program is one way to maximize workforce and organizational success.
  • 3. In the most basic sense, onboarding helps employees adjust quickly to the company culture and prepare to meet the requirements of their new position. The goal is to first make new employees feel welcomed, and then convey the appropriate attitudes, behaviors, knowledge, and skills required to succeed in their job. Because you want new hires to begin contributing as soon as possible, every new employee within an organization should participate in an onboarding program. However, the type of onboarding offered will depend on the type of position. For example, onboarding executives and managers will differ from onboarding hourly employees. Although many best practices will apply across the board, you need to customize your onboarding efforts based on specific position requirements.
  • 4. Special Considerations for Successfully Onboarding Executives and Managers According to an article published by the SHRM Foundation, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management, an estimated 500,000 managers in Fortune 500 companies assume new roles every year. On average, managers start new jobs every two to four years. These figures represent significant transitioning among the management ranks. The article also estimated the cost of a singled failed executive-level manager can reach a whopping $2.7 million, depending on the organization. However, many companies lack formal, tailored onboarding programs for their managers.
  • 5. Executives and managers represent your organization’s leadership team. Because their positions are highly visible and impact the bottom line, you need to get these new hires up to speed as quickly as possible. As a result, onboarding programs for managers must be more elaborate than those for hourly workers. Why such a distinction? For one, executives and senior managers interact with more stakeholders within the company. In addition, managers are often recruited to shake things up. In other words, they were hired to help with specific strategic initiatives that may not deal with a company’s current situation, but instead foster a needed change.
  • 6. Goals for Senior-Level Onboarding Programs The goals for your onboarding program are fairly intuitive. First, you want to slash the high costs stemming from new hire failure. Next, you want your managers to achieve results in the shortest amount of time. Finally, you want the transition period to be a smooth and positive experience for your new managers.
  • 7. You can accomplish these goals by incorporating industry best practices into your onboarding programs. For example, your program should: • Include an orientation program (but not stop there). Orientation and onboarding are not the same thing. You want to be sure to include information on your business, the company’s history, its culture, and values during the first days on the job. However, orientation is just a small component of your overall onboarding efforts. • Be formalized and shared. Your onboarding should include a written plan that you provide to your new managers. This roadmap helps new hires stay focused and organized throughout the process.
  • 8. • Consist of numerous interventions. To gauge progress and ensure a new manager is on track, you must check-in regularly to provide feedback, identify any problems, and create solutions. Ongoing evaluations against key metrics enhance performance and accelerate contributions. When everyone is clear on performance expectations, you reduce frustration and minimize the likelihood of failure. • Leverage a variety of organizational resources. No management position operates in a vacuum, so incorporate cross-functional support and solicit input from key stakeholders. You should also have an inventory of leadership tools readily available to each new hire.
  • 9. • Promote relationship building. Integrating the leader with the team is an important step during the onboarding process. You want to develop positive relationships between the new manager and his or her team members and peers as quickly as possible. • Take a long-term approach. Onboarding efforts are continuous and must be flexible. As company and market dynamics evolve, so too should your manager onboarding program.
  • 10. Addressing Unique Challenges in Onboarding Hourly Workers The biggest problem in staffing hourly workers is turnover. According to an article in appearing in Human Resources Director magazine, 50 percent of hourly employees leave their new jobs within the first 120 days. This statistic represents a very costly and disruptive challenge for your organization.
  • 11. To help minimize turnover, your onboarding program for hourly workers should include: • An understanding of time. Often, hiring managers are under the impression new hourly workers come up to speed much faster than new managers. Although this may be the case in many situations, you can’t assume an hourly new hire will be fully functional in short order. Research studies indicate hourly employees require at least three months to reach the desired performance levels.
  • 12. • Stakeholder involvement. Typically, only the direct supervisor and co-workers participate in hourly employee onboarding. However, you should incorporate contact with those higher up in the organization. Getting attention from others in the chain of command can accelerate the onboarding process and provide a greater sense of belonging to the team. • Comprehensive information. Many companies rely on passive onboarding. In other words, onboarding consists primarily of handing a new hire some materials that cover rules and procedures. For the greatest chances of success, your program needs to go beyond this. Other practices might include assigning a mentor to each new hire and offering job shadowing opportunities.
  • 13. Proper onboarding of hourly new hires results in better performance in a shorter amount of time, reduced turnover, and happier employees. When companies realize the benefits of properly onboarding hourly workers, more will develop formal, comprehensive programs similar to what they offer managers.
  • 14. Profiles International, a leader in providing assessment solutions to help organizations select and develop the right people for the right job, has developed numerous resources to help you solve your talent management challenges. In particular, you’ll find useful information on employee onboarding in two recently released eBooks: • Onboarding Excellence: Everything You Need to Know • Onboarding: Strengthen the Core of your Business Click on the links above to download your copies today!
  • 15. About the Author Marlana Thurman is VP of Business Intelligence at Profiles International, a research-focused company that helps organizations worldwide create high-performing workforces. Visit us at http://www.profilesinternational.com or call 866-751-1644 for more information about how to Become an Effective Leader.