In a recent article in BusinessWeek, Joseph Daniel McCool defines onboarding as “Crucial Feedback for Executive Hires – An emerging ritual to measure performance 90, 100, or 120 days into a top manager’s new job”. Others define onboarding as “the process that includes all of the initial paperwork to become an official employee and to sign up for any and all company programs”. We think these are part of the definition, but not the complete definition.
Think about “onboarding” on three levels: accommodating, assimilating and accelerating.
ACCOMMODATING is all about helping new employees get set up in the office and at home, particularly if they are moving. This certainly includes completing initial paperwork and securing the tools required to do the job.
ASSIMILATING includes much of what Joe describes in his article from early onboarding conversations to network building to check-ins and is extremely valuable in jump-starting people’s ability to work with others.
ACCELERATING is one more level up and is more than just doing the check-ins earlier. Accelerating is about building a high performing team quickly to deliver better results faster.
Each of these can help reduce the risk of failure. Doing all three can serve as a catalyst for transformational change as part of onboarding, defined as efforts to accommodate, assimilate and accelerate new team members.