One area of the employment process that is often underappreciated and undervalued is the onboarding function. The relationship between a new employee and the organization is quite similar to most relationships in life. It is not deep or solid in the beginning. In fact, any small problem or disagreement could stop it before it ever gets a chance to mature.

It is extremely important to get off on the “right foot” making sure that both company and employee feel a sense of mutual respect and commitment and be on the same page regarding expectations. Both must understand their part in the value equation. This is where onboarding becomes critical.

Most onboarding programs I see essentially address the mechanics of transitioning a new hire into the organization. They are transactional based focusing largely on crossing the “T’s” and dotting the “I’s.” The programs consist of filling out paperwork, explaining rules and procedures, a cursory safety and quality orientation, and maybe a benefits explanation – an overwhelming and highly ineffective download. This is not exactly a, “We’re glad you’re here and we are going to have a great relationship for many years” kind of effort.

A strong onboarding plan should start at the pre-employment phase and last at least four weeks post-employment followed by structured touch-points throughout the first year of employment. The onboarding program should be less policy focused and more employee-valued focused. It is that one opportunity every organization has to introduce new employees into their organization in a way that drives commitment from the start.

Tim A. Garrett is a consultant, author, speaker and founder of Diversified Performance Solutions, LLC. DPS was founded on the principles of business ethics, personal integrity and value creation. We welcome the opportunity to work with quality organizations of any size or line of business that want to create positive change to enhance competitiveness and employees’ work environment. Tim can be reached at tim@timagarrett.com. For more information, visit timagarrett.com