“Here are your 401K enrollment forms and company mug. Have a great year!” (8 reasons managers don’t focus more on employees’ first 90 days)

September 3rd, 2013
Written by: Dana Papke

Part 1 in a Series on The Onboarding Gap: Reducing “Non-Productive Compensation,” Identifying Bad Hires Sooner and Protecting Your Investment

In talking to a number of TPO clients, potential clients and partners, we’ve found that many of them are focused on these two major employee-related investments:

  • Recruiting and recruiters — Organizations make big investments in finding the right talent. Sometimes this is because an organization is growing, but in many cases they are recruiting for the same position repeatedly because they are struggling to find the right fit or because the organization drops the ball once the new hire comes on board.
  • Performance Management Systems — Many organizations are looking into significant investments in software or online solutions in order to more effectively assess and improve their employees’ performance over time and streamline the evaluation process. These systems are a major investment for a small- and medium-size company or association, starting in the mid-5 figures or with monthly subscription fees in the thousands of dollars.

So, with recruiting, we’re spending big bucks on the employee before Day 1. And the Performance Management process kicks in sometime on or after Day 90.

That somewhat neglected interval in between is what we call the Onboarding Gap. The Onboarding Gap is where a profit-draining phenomenon known as Non-Productive Compensation lurks and where bad hires roam without being identified.

Let’s examine the question of how and why the Onboarding Gap exists–why there is this period when managers and supervisors tend to view the new hire through rose colored glasses, not seeing–or worse yet–actually avoiding trouble signs.

To answer this question, TPO has developed the following list:

8 Reasons Managers Don’t Pay Enough Attention During a New Hire’s First 90 – 120 Days

  1. Managers think Onboarding means Orientation, when they are two completely different processes.
  2. Managers don’t understand the critical connection between proper Onboarding; the new hire’s ability to be productive sooner; and the organization’s ability to retain critical talent.
  3. Managers tend to focus on hiring technical skills but don’t think about the cultural fit and how it impacts performance and retention.
  4. Managers are relieved: “I was swamped, then I found my new hire and now I’m off to attend to other priorities.”
  5. The Halo Effect: Because the manager thinks he made a good decision, the new hire has a halo around her head.
  6. Managers perceive that something like Onboarding should be HR’s job, not theirs.
  7. Managers don’t get rewarded or recognized for how they bring people into the organization–how they train, help the new employee become productive and ensure a cultural fit. They get rewarded because they’ve launched a new product or software system or have reached a revenue goal.
  8. We tend to scrutinize the hard costs and metrics around functions like Recruiting and Performance Management, rather than the opportunity costs associated with Onboarding that can be harder to measure.

Next in this Series: Onboarding is Not Orientation


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