Inc. Magazine: Onboarding a New Hire

Inc. Magazine has an interesting article about how to onboard a new hire. The article seems to have disappeared since I started writing this. Maybe it'll be back. It still shows up on a site search.

Hopefully, very soon I'll have to worry about starting work with a new company. That means I'll go through some form of onboarding. But what kind of onboarding will it be?

Traditionally, you show up for work and spend most of the day filling out forms. Some companies will have an HR representative to walk you through them. Others stick you in a room (or cubicle) and leave you on your own.

Then you get to meet the people you'll be working with. 

Some companies are more organized than others. Sometimes it takes days to get an email account. My last company had one created for me the day I started.

I started working for BAE Systems the week of Thanksgiving. But because it was the "holiday season", for the next several weeks many key people were unavailable. I started work in November, but it was January before I had access to all the accounts and systems that I needed to do my job.

But is the traditional onboarding plan really the best? Unfortunately, most companies have the attitude "We do things the way we do because this is the way we've always done them."  Not "experience has proven this is the best way." No, it's because it's the way we've always done it. Talk about circular reasoning.

We work in cubicles, not because it's the best and most productive working arrangement. But because it's the "way we've always done it." Work hours are set, not because those are the best hours for people to work, but "this is the way we've always done it." We don't have more telecommuting because you can't trust college educated professionals to work unsupervised, but because "everybody getting up in the morning and driving to this office is the way we've always done it."

The INC Magazine article made some suggestions for onboarding. Mostly it was simple (yet ignored) advice, like setting up email accounts ahead of time. Send the employee handbook and benefits information ahead of time.

What onboarding inefficiencies have you experienced? How do you think it could be made better?

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