Onboarding Margin Discussion Introducing new Onboarding Margin™ frameworks, and our new book — Successful Onboarding

Introducing new Onboarding Margin™ frameworks, and our new book — Successful Onboarding

Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2010 | No Comments

We are excited to formally introduce, and widely share, highlights of some important work that we have been doing on the Onboarding front. These include a new website, our new book, lots of underlying research and framework development as part of our book (Successful Onboarding, McGraw-Hill release date of June 26, 2010).

When we started the book development exercise we reexamined many of our frameworks and tools.  We discovered that while large portions of our original frameworks held up well, there were some pieces that had become a bit dated and some critically important pieces of the solutions that we were bringing to our clients were left out altogether.  Today we are beginning to formally share many specific developments of this work with our onboarding friends.  We invite you to read a lot more than we can reasonably include in this message at our new website www.onboardingmargin.com.

As you may remember, our original onboarding model included several Structural Attributes, specifically: Customization for unique and important new hire segments; Integration with key business and HR processes (onboarding cannot be siloed); Timeline needed to run from job offer acceptance through end of the new hires’ first year; and the Audience needed to reflect the interests of both the new hire and the hiring manager.   Then there were 4 Content and Experience Elements: Early Career Support, Culture, Social, and Administration. So how has this model changed?

For starters, we have re-characterized Administration to a Structural Attribute, and we renamed it Administration and Governance.  In doing so, we have achieved two things.  First, we are recognizing it for what it needs to be — a supporting attribute that serves the entire system; said another way, Administration and Governance turns onboarding into a management program, and allows the program to thrive and continuously improve, with systemic impact.  Secondly, by making it a Structural Attribute we have made room in our Content and Experience Attributes for what has become arguably the most powerful (i.e., the most impactful) lever in our onboarding solutions — Strategy Immersion and Direction.  This, along with Early Career Support, have become the two “power levers” to really drive the potential Onboarding Margin ™ gains from a successful program.

OM (tm) FrameworkStrategy Immersion and Direction is the opportunity to empower your talent base to align with leadership, and execute against a business plan with far greater efficiency (equipping your talent to make decisions that leadership would be pleased with) and far greater effectiveness (as your entire organization is enrolled to recognize patterns and opportunities in the business to affect operations to better achieve the strategic plan). Finally, your new hires will feel great when they understand the strategy. No longer is there confusion and skepticism that leadership and work processes are “off base”; there is buy-in and excitement to be part of an organization that is operating with the wisdom necessary to win. This becomes a place “to pursue a career with gusto”. We look for outcome measures that suggest — “I understand the strategic value and responsibilities of my role, my function, my business, my competitive landscape, my customers and our plan”.

Based on our research over the past four years, we introduce a model for reconsidering the delivery of the Onboarding experience — a model that inverts the traditional “drinking from a firehouse approach” of orientation, a model that not only forces content too quickly, but also, too soon.   New hires have insufficient context to absorb and derive sufficient value from most content that is [traditionally] delivered in the first week; this a very big loss and a critical failure point of most programs.

Another key concept is the need to design the system to stimulate personal progress.  Without a reliable and rapidly growing sense (a sense felt by the new hire, his or her peers, and the hiring manager) of personal progress, confidence and enthusiasm wane, and outcomes rapidly weaken.  For the onboarding system designer, the question becomes – what do we need to do to make personal progress systemic?   Your architecture requires that you bake in the right [initial] Assignments, [timely and proper] Guidance, [protective and as necessary] Insulation and Remediation.

In this message we only included a few of the new concepts for you to consider.  There is truly a ton in the book — in which we cover many more topics, drill down on each, and provide real world case study examples and instruction on how to implement all that we have developed. Our new website has more detail about our work and also the book, including excerpts.  The site is also designed to be a conversation with our community — so come join the discussion (http://onboardingmargin.com/discussion) and stimulate the conversation with other like minded professionals.

Bringing the principles to life is our day job, and if you want help with the change effort, just reach out to us in our capacity as management consultants.  Our mission today remains the same as it was when we started down this path 4 years ago — to challenge established norms on what leaders should expect from their very large investment in new employees, and to provide the management systems necessary to realize the Onboarding Margin.

– Mark, Lilith and the rest of the Kaiser Associates OD practice team

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