…and I liked it!
Onboarding (per Wikipedia), also known as organizational socialization refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to become effective organizational members. Research has demonstrated that these socialization techniques lead to positive outcomes for new employees such as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organizational commitment, and reduction in occupational stress and intent to quit.
Research has shown evidence that employees with certain personality traits and experiences adjust to an organization more quickly. These are a proactive personality, the “Big Five” (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism), curiosity, and greater experience levels. For more information from the Wikipedia entry, click here.
I would put myself squarely in the “Proactive personality” category, which refers to the tendency to take charge of situations, information seeking, and achieve control over one’s environment. I think that this accelerated my socialization process, enabling me to adapt more efficiently and become an immediate contributor to the organization.
I firmly believe that the organizational socialization starts during the interview process, aligned with the organizational culture and values. Any new team members must be considered a fit for the organizational environment. An organization that knows the type of people that they are looking for, such as the proactive personality or an experienced worker, will select a new team member that compliments the organization. This person will not only be able to, as a mentee, to adapt and be effective in the current organization, but to act as a mentor to help the organization realize continuous improvement and improve performance.
I have been fortunate during my career to be associated with companies that practice onboarding, and my current employer is no exception. My first two weeks was dedicated to onboarding, with a mixture of meeting with the different departments, and of learning the specifics of my particular role and preparing to assume my share of the project management responsibilities. Entering this onboarding period, I was focused on building relationships and seeking information and feedback. During each onboarding interview, I was interested in their perceived functional interface with the project development process, and their assessment of what worked and what needed improvement.
For the duration of my onboarding, which extended beyond the initial two weeks to allow for specific project turnover, I had a daily debrief with my manager. In my case, the manager is the President of the company, and we were able to discuss observations and develop plans of action in real time. By the end of the onboarding process, we had a list of improvement items that will serve as the basis for our Project Management Priorities and Key Performance Indicators for the ensuing year.