You have just hired the perfect candidate after a battery of tests and they start Monday. Everyone is excited to have them on board, particularly those who have been covering the role in their absence. Monday arrives, you show them their desk and introduce them to their team and get them connected to the intranet, and then you go back to your job proudly announcing the ‘new hire’ is here. Three months later you find a resignation letter on your desk from this ‘new hire’ and you are stunned to realise they do not feel welcomed in your organisation. What happened? You exclaim! You selected them carefully (after hours of consideration) and they looked like the perfect candidate. It turns out, they were, but it was you that was the problem!
Sadly this scenario is far from fiction. Too often organisations loose great talent because they forget to also focus on the orientation and socialisation process. Even though, researchers have consistently found that employees who have undergone some sort of socialisation process report higher levels of organisational commitment, job involvement, and reduced levels of intentions to quit (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Fisher, 1986; Klein & Weaver, 2000). Thus, investing in a strong socialisation program is important because socialisation programs are a critical point at which new hires learn about, and adapt to, their role/s, teams and culture of the organisation (Fisher, 1986).
Socialisation programs should include, at the very least, a structured orientation program which is a form of training designed to introduce new employees to their job, teams and organisation and informal opportunities for new employees to network with existing employees beyond their teams (Klein & Weaver, 2000). Typically orientation programs last anywhere between 1-6 weeks and are designed to gently welcome the new employee into the organisation and teach them ‘how you do things around here.’ They may include team welcome meetings/events, introductions to the intranet, introductions to the rest of the organisational members surrounding them as well as an introduction to HR and finance personnel who may assist them if they have any queries in the future. These are important because you want to send the message that you truly care about your employees. Investing in a strong orientation program, which combines social events with the professional needs of an employees’ new role, is one way of doing this.
Beyond the orientation program, socialisation programs should include a strong mentoring program that lasts up to 12 months or beyond. This should allow employees at the same level or above, but not in a position of power over them, the opportunity to ask questions without repercussions. This also allows the employee the opportunity to have someone to discuss challenges they have faced and may, in fact, reduce the turnover experienced. In cases where the employee is being promoted from their previous role, whether that is an internal or external promotion, a mentoring program is particularly critical to ensure the future succession planning of the organisation as well as to ensure the employee receives the message that you are considering his/her future within your company. This mentoring role may also provide the employee with extended networks in their profession, both internally and externally, which will assist them complete their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
In conclusion, how well an organisation invests in its resources is critical to the perception of value that employees believe organisations place on their human resources. We know from multiple studies that this perception of value impacts how an employee rates its organisation, and therefore how willing they are to return to that organisation in the future. Thus, investing in a strong organisational socialisation process underpins this organisational reputation and may in fact, lead to improved recruitment outcomes in the future.
- Allen NJ, Meyer JP. (1990a). Organizational socialization tactics: A longitudinal analysis of links to newcomers’ commitment and role orientation. Academy of Management Journal, 33,847-858.
- Fisher CD. (1986). Organizational socialization: An integrative review. Research in Personnel and Human Resource Management, 4,101-145
- Klein, H. J., & Weaver, N. A. (2000). The effectiveness of an organizational‐level orientation training program in the socialization of new hires. Personnel Psychology, 53(1), 47-66.