In HR, it seems like an age-old proverb now…”people are rarely if ever fired for technical competence…it’s all about fit”. We get this now. We know that background experience should be a very small part of recruitment specifications and that hiring based on the quality of the resume is missing the mark. As recruitment processes have evolved, our interviews now focus much more on ensuring fit:
• cultural fit with the organization
• fit with the manager’s style
• fit with the behavioural characteristics that differentiate success in the job.

We’ve learned that hiring someone based on “what they know” and “what they know alone” is short-sighted and can lead to mishires (people who are up to the tasks but are simply unlikely to be successful in their new environment).

So, the penny has dropped for many HR folks and hiring managers alike on recruitment.

Now flash forward in the process.

You’ve found the ideal candidate and she’s ready to join the organization…on to the onboarding phase.

Think about the content that’s at the core of most Onboarding programs…

You’ve got it…lots of “technical content” about the company—formal organization charts, company products, dates in the company’s history, etc. Some of these details may be interesting to know. AND, they are details that have little to do with whether someone is going to be successful or not in the new environment.

If you fire people for fit, here’s a thought….how about an Onboarding process that helps them with fitting in?

Please know that I’m not referring to creating a culture of clones and undermining diversity. I’m simply pointing out that there are certain rules of the game that are organizationally specific. Incorporating these insights into your onboarding process can be invaluable for enhancing retention of great new hires.

‘Cause fit isn’t entirely about the new hire’s DNA. I’ve seen it time and again…the person who is absolutely right for the job and the company can STILL flounder during transition. Nobody wins when this happens.

• Smart people can flex their behaviors if they are given the appropriate heads-up.

• Smart people want to communicate with the boss in their preferred style. What if they didn’t have to guess what these preferences were?

• Smart people know what to do to maneuver around landmines. What if they had a road map as to where some of them might be?

• Smart people pay attention to what’s genuinely important for success in a particular organizational culture. What if these success factors weren’t a secret?

So…in designing your Onboarding Programs…don’t forget the insights you’ve gained from recruitment and be sure to build-in ways of giving people what they need to know about fit.

It’s exciting to see the exponential growth of social networking activity in this field. It wasn’t long ago that I could only identify 1 small group in LinkedIn that was established to address the topic of Onboarding.

Now, there are numerous Fortune 500 companies that have established sites explicitly for new hires in a given year. It’s a great way to create a cohort to foster connectivity– particularly important for engagement and retention of your Millenial hires. But the value cuts across generations and organizational levels. Everyone craves a feeling of belonging when they’re the “new kid on the block”.

There are also social networks cropping up for participants in various conferences related to the topic of onboarding.

As I’ve observed this growth in activity (from a time when I began working in this niche four years ago and had to spell the word “onboarding” each time I mentioned it)…I still notice a couple of gaping holes in the social networking scene related to onboarding. So, I’ve just launched 3 LinkedIn Groups in an attempt to address these holes.

1) New Hires- Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle: This is a public forum supporting entry level and professional new hires across a broad spectrum of industries. I’ll draw from work with clients and research on success factors & derailers in the first 90 days to lead discussion groups and foster connectivity between fellow new hires.

2) New Managers- Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle: This is a similar public forum addressing the unique needs of leaders and managers as they join new organizations or ramp-up in a new role and face enormous pressures to perform.

3) Onboarding Best Practices: This group is a forum for Onboarding specialists, HR professionals and Recruiters who are passionate about raising the bar for preboarding and onboarding experiences of new hires and their managers.

I’m looking forward to stimulating discussions and plenty of sharing in the months ahead!