Onboarding is defined as a system that “decreases the time to productivity and increases the level of Engagement” for new participants to the organization’s success”. This includes new hires, vendors, contractors, board and the community. Tangentially, Onboarding, when merged with your marketing and sales initiatives, can create an attractive component to finding and securing new customers. It tells the prospect that your employees are connected and engaged to their needs. Powerful. A true point of differentiation.
Onboarding content is geared toward answering the questions: “Why should I join you, why should I become invested in your organization, and on a higher plane; why are you in business (how does that concern or motivate me)? How is what I am going to do for you going to affect your customers? How can I feel that I am engaged with our customers’ reason for choosing our company?
The process is not expensive, it is profitable. It doesn’t steal time. It invests time for short and long term payback. It creates a productive culture. “Culture” is defined as “Values, in action”.
Immersion (Onboarding) answers the question “Why”, and provides a clear vision of a person’s (or organization’s) function, goals, expectations, opportunities, challenges and future. It defines values, purposes, rules, and engages an individual (or organization) in the “Vision” that pushes the organization forward. It defines each individual or vendor’s impact on the ultimate customer. It focuses productivity. It focuses effort.
Many small to medium size company executives and managers hesitate to implement a formal Onboarding process after reading how “Big” companies do it. (For the purposes of this article and in future mentions in the book, “The Great Workplace 2.0”, we will use “Onboarding” and “Immersion” interchangeably.)
Here are a few of the common reasons why small to medium sized organizations have not yet implemented a system:
1) “We don’t have the money the big guys have””
2) “We’re hiring people to do jobs NOW, not in six months”
3) “Our Line Managers won’t understand it ”
4) “Our HR department doesn’t have time to do it”
5) “We do a pretty good job of training new people to do their jobs”
6) And the most prevalent reason:
“I am not confident we have the right things in place on a daily basis. Not yet.”
The compelling reason for conducting Onboarding to the absolute best of your ability is simple: The “Social Contract” between an organization and its Participants (Stakeholders) has changed dramatically, and forever. To increase productivity (Contributions) and therefore profitability (Growth), the organization needs to Engage all participants at higher intellectual, emotional and practical levels than before.
A Participant to the success of an organization who is engaged and feels a true connection to that organization will be more positive, more productive and be more predictable than those who feel little or no connection to the outcome of their work.
Onboarding or Immersion is (simply) reducing the time to productivity, increasing the desire to be successful with an organization, and creating a “Bond” that makes high contributions easier.
It answers the question: “Why”
Why should I work here? Why should we be your vendor, other than one transaction? How does working with or for you enhance our personal or organization goals?
In talking with CEO’s, HR Managers and Line Managers about not having implemented true Immersion processes for new hires, vendors and contractors, one factor holds true on a company to company basis: Lack of Confidence in their own organization’s structure, values, and “Why work with Us”. They do not believe they can compete with other “highly attractive” organizations as seen in business magazines, award ceremonies and in investment circles: “Well of course they can get the best talent/vendors/board members. They are big, successful and can pay more”.
There are great vendors and talent out there who want the challenge of getting you to where you want to be, not just riding the train someone else has already set in motion.
The facts are, that you can, and you need to implement an Immersion process … if you want to grow, if you want to sustain.
Oh … and when you show your potential customers how your own staff and vendors have been engaged for The Customer’s ultimate benefit, you may just close that deal. It will differentiate you from a competitor. Customers like vendors who are totally engaged in pleasing them.
Next: How to create a simple, yet effective base Onboarding/Immersion program, that will get visible results. And, how to merge it into your sales presentations.