Help your new hires succeed faster during onboarding
Smarter onboarding processes have been shown to increase engagement and productivity, improve talent attraction and retention, and foster a stronger and more inclusive company culture.
But many companies still aren’t getting it right, with a recent study finding that nearly half of all leaders who move into new roles fail to meet their objectives within the first 18 months.
So how can we help new starters succeed, faster?
Rob Cross, one of the world’s leading experts in applied social network science, joined Workday’s Greg Pryor to discuss the results of his research with over 300 companies. Read on for our summary of the key insights he shared.
Rob Cross’s research found that 3 key trends in modern business are increasing the prevalence and importance of onboarding processes:
1) career expectations – workers today want more career experiences, accelerating the number of roles they go through and the number of connections they make;
2) the changing nature of work – with the development of new technologies and the growth of agile teams, the demand for leaders to move into new areas is increasing, accelerating the amount of transitions they are making into new roles;
3) the number of onboarding failures – with nearly half of all leaders in new roles failing to achieve their objectives, we are seeing a higher rate of attrition, leading to more leadership transitions.
With the collaborative intensity of work increasing, building networks is fundamental to success.
But a big network doesn’t necessarily predict a high performer.
New starters need to be more proactive and analytical in building a network in their new role. It usually takes 3-5 years for people coming into an organization to replicate their prior success. In order to speed up this transition, new starters need to set up the right kind of networks.
These might not be the traditional connections between line managers and teams. Broaden your reach by connecting with network influencers that can help you access relevant parts of the organization, for you to contribute to your full potential. As Cross explained,
“It’s becoming much more about taking what you know, and applying it and unleashing it in your network that’s increasingly what dictates people’s success and ultimately defines their effectiveness from a performance perspective.”
When attempting to support networking processes for new starters, be more targeted and analytical. The cocktail hour is no longer fit for purpose, lacking the nuance needed for smarter networking. Target the specific kinds of connections that matter, and be proactive in building a network that helps a new leader maximize their contribution.
Cross acknowledges the negative stereotypes around the idea of corporate “networking”, but there is no need to be cynical or political about it. Network building for new starters should be proactive – creating support networks ahead of need – and authentic – helping them to find meaning in their work.
“Get into the club that you’re meant to be a part of. It sounds a little bit surface at first, but we find statistically that having a couple of those connections that give you a sense of purpose and meaning in what you’re doing, tremendously decreases the odds of attrition later on.”
“Finding your tribe” can help build a sense of purpose, enhancing wellbeing, productivity, and team morale.
Creating positive enthusiasm for new starters during the onboarding process is vital.
Prioritise the company culture to inspire them, and be clear on your north star priorities to provide practical steps on how they can integrate and contribute to your mission.
Why do you do what you do, and how do your company values make your organization unique?
Cross found that “people who create positive enthusiasm way outperform.” In fact, 4 times the predictor of a high performer is just “being somebody who creates energy within networks.”
Inspiring and energizing new starters can help them fulfil this kind of positive role within their networks.
Rob Cross’s research on “accelerating transitions” during onboarding processes unearthed several important insights. With smarter networking a key predictor of success for new starters, replace the cocktail hour with a more targeted and analytical approach to building networks. It isn’t always about building a big network. Rather, it’s about connecting with key network influencers, and “finding your tribe” – building the connections that will pull you in the direction you want to go and provide a sense of purpose at work. Finally, inspire your new starters by focusing on company culture and values – help them become the kind of leaders who inspire energy and enthusiasm from others.