Thought Leadership

Onboarding New Employees

By Ginny Vanderslice and Linshuang Lu

The first day at a new job can be both exciting and overwhelming. New employees not only need to learn their job responsibilities but also have to navigate new relationships and cultural norms. Employee ownership, with its impact on the company’s culture and its technical details, adds complexity to the onboarding process[1].

This chapter covers two key aspects of the onboarding process for an ESOP company: orienting new hires to the culture of the company and educating them about employee ownership. Many companies treat onboarding as a process that takes place within a limited time period – the person’s first month of employment – and mostly covers logistics such as policies, benefits and an overview of what the company does. The rest of a new employee’s process of learning the firm’s identity, culture, appropriate behaviors, values, and any skills needed to be successful is left up to each individual to figure out. To maximize a new hire’s chance of success, and to ensure that new hires adapt to the company’s culture, companies need to plan a longer-term onboarding process taking place over 12-18 months.

[1] We have chosen to use the word “process” rather than program, because the most effective onboarding is not solely an event or training that takes place over one day or over a few days. Rather, onboarding is viewed as a process that shapes an employee’s full first year at the company. To avoid the confusion with a one-time orientation program, we use the language “process.”

Chapter 4, ESOP Communications Sourcebook, National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), 7th Edition, 2018

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