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Monday, November 24, 2014
How to Trim the Learning Curve for New Workers
It’s often been said that it can take a new employee from six months to a year to really become effective in an organization, but in today’s fast-paced environment that’s like saying it’s OK to still use dial-up.
Organizations that hope to remain competitive must ensure that they’re not only hiring qualified workers, but that these new employees will be able to trim their learning curve so their input will be felt as soon as possible.
But onboarding new workers can often be a difficult task, and many organizations fail. For example, half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days, while half of all senior outside hires fail within 18 months in a new position, research shows.
In a report for the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation on effective onboarding, Dr. Talya N. Bauer of Portland State University in Oregon notes that “the faster new hires feel welcome and prepared to do their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission.”
One of the companies cited in Bauer’s report and is often included in “best practices” for onboarding is L’Oreal USA. The company doesn’t end onboarding after a few weeks or months, as do many employers.
Instead, it starts with a welcome of new workers on their first day and then supports each hire with a two-year, six-part integration program. Called“L’Oreal Fit,” the program includes training and roundtable discussions; meetings with key insiders; on-the-job learning supported by line management; and individual mentoring. In addition, new hires at L’Oreal get field and product experiences by being allowed to visit different sites or shadow programs.
“Research shows that organizations that engage in formal onboarding by implementing step-by-step programs for new employees to teach them what their roles are, what the norms of the company are and how they are to behave are more effective than those that do not,” Bauer says.
In other words, employers that use a “sink or swim” approach for new employees may not only delay the effectiveness of their new workers, but drive them out the door.
Mary Ann Masarech, lead consultant of the employee engagement practice at BlessingWhite, says that many development efforts by employers fall short (read more here)