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The Three Big Transitions Of Onboarding An Employee

Three Onboarding Transitions To Work On
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Summary: Why onboarding matters in today’s workplace, what the three big transitions of onboarding are, and how to successfully overcome the three big onboarding transitions.

Why Work, Environment, And People Matter The Most

Onboarding an employee is always a delicate task for every company and for every new employee. The process is a bit messy and the company/team needs to get used to a new employee and the employee needs to get used to the new working schedule, new environment, new city (if they relocated for the job), and new people with whom they have to work. But if they work together on the three most important transitions during the onboarding stage, it will create a win-win scenario.

The Three Onboarding Transitions

Gallup studies have shown some concerning data: Employee turnover rate is 50% in the first four months at a job. Even worse, out of those who stay, 51% are actively searching for a new job. These problems start during onboarding and if not dealt with, increase over time. Fortunately, this issue can be prevented with three fundamental onboarding transitions. Implementing these three transitions creates a strong emotional connection in your employees. You will see them go from an "I-am-working-until-I-find-a-new-job" to a "can-I-quit-and-rejoin" type of employee.

The First Transition—Work

The first transition is about the work (job) the person will do. You can create a massive advantage here by giving trust and responsibility to your employees from the get-go. It sends a message of "you are reliable, trustworthy, and a part of the team."

At Facebook, employees receive two emails on the first day. The first one is a generic "welcome" email, but the second one is the real reason we’re talking about them: Facebook gives its employees trust and responsibility from the get-go.

"Here’s a list of software bugs to fix." On your first day, you’ll pull a version of Facebook’s code to your personal machine that’s your version of Facebook. You’re encouraged to go ahead and make changes, upgrades, improvements, whatever, from day one. You’re actually entrusted with that much authority. Facebook is literally a quarter of the internet everywhere in the world, except China. Here, some 22-year-old engineering grad has a version of it on their machine, and they are going to push a change to it today. That’s how they foster that feeling of rambunctious responsibility.

If you start by trusting your employees, they will feel that trust and respond by trusting back. It’s a common effect in psychology called the "Pygmalion Effect."

You hired the people because you trust them. Now, show them that they can be trusted.

The Second Transition—Environment

Nearly 85% of millennials said that they are willing to move for a new job. However, if they don’t like the place, they will "hop" again.

To prevent frequent job-hopping, think about the people behind the workforce. If someone just relocated to a new city (or a new part of town), give them guidelines on matters regarding their environment:

  • The easiest way on how to commute to the company
  • Great food joints
  • Popular cultural spots  (concerts, shows, museums, movies theaters, etc.)
  • Great books to read to integrate into the city and company
  • Do’s and dont's of the city/place

Doing so will integrate the entire person in society and help them feel like the community and the environment is truly right for them. And once they feel at home, there is no way they will leave because of a 10% raise, a bigger bonus, or a better parking spot.

The Third Transition—People

Am I a part of your tribe? That’s the question people ask themselves when they join a company. If the answer is no, they will move to find something better. When you feel an emotional connection to something, you stick around because work becomes more meaningful. It becomes a part of who you are and what you believe in.

"When they recommend Apple to someone, they’re not sharing the awesome configuration, they’re sharing the sense of identity, the square pegs in round holes." —  Simon Sinek, Start With Why

You begin to identify with the people you work with. They are more than just your coworkers. Together you are working toward a shared goal. Once you become a part of the group, you no longer feel like the outsider who just comes and does their thing. You are now the insider, the "Googler," the "AIESECer." You belong to that specific tribe. This sense of belonging, or lack of, can ultimately decide your future at a company. Without it, there is no community and the way you approach work is impacted.

All Three Are Like A Superpower

Implementing all three onboarding transitions in your company will not only attract and retain employees but serve as a great marketing tool as well. Those experiencing the process will spread the word about their positive experience to friends and family, online forums, groups, etc.

Change is always hard and difficult, but with these transitions, the whole process becomes easier and your employees are grateful. In today’s market, this will reflect over as employee loyalty. The upsides are many, the downsides are none, and the best time to start implementing these transitions was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now.