Onboarding. How does falling in love become real love?

Onboarding a new employee. It may not sound very sexy, so I would like to make it parallel to romantic love.

Sometimes you fall in love instantly and sometimes it just takes a little longer to fall in love. You start dating and get to know each other better. Everything is new, fun, and exciting. But then comes the moment when your enthusiasm and commitment weakens, perhaps diminishes somewhat, or even stops.

The question is how you deal with that moment. Maybe you will soon be saying goodbye to each other again? Or are you going to try harder? What do you need for a potential relationship to be successful? What will you learn from this attempt next time?

Sergio Pengel
Sergio Pengel Onboarding Specialist

What does that have to do with onboarding?

A new employee goes through approximately the same phases that you go through when you are in love: you feel a match, after several conversations you are hired and you start your new job with great enthusiasm. After a while comes the reality check. Does reality match what you expected it to be? And do those expectations match those of your new employer? 

What does that have to do with onboarding?

Because it also applies the other way around. Sometimes as an employer you are sensitive to applicants who are well prepared and who know exactly the right things to say, but you gradually realize that there is still a lack of experience. And what happens then? Back to square one and start dating again? 

Should I stay or should I go?

Before you decide to call it quits, it's helpful to ask yourself if you've done everything you could have to make it a success. Have you been clear about your expectations? Have you given the other person the space to do something with your feedback?

From the many conversations we have with organizations about onboarding and retaining new colleagues, we see that the input of employers can improve. Most organizations agree with that. They recognize that people are thrown in at the deep end oftentimes.

For some, this approach works and for others, it doesn't. Some people find it more pleasant to dip their feet first before jumping into the water. And now you might be thinking, "Well, those aren't the kind of people we want to see in our organization either," but you might also ask yourself if you've helped them enough to meet your expectations. And let's face it, wouldn't you rather jump into an azure sea than into the local ditch? 

Make the difference

Do you want good reviews from new starters? Make a real impact? Start with a 30-60-90 plan. This helps you make your intentions visible for the first 30, 60, and 90 days of a new employee. You set priorities, formulate action-oriented objectives and you determine how you want to measure success. It makes it easier for a new colleague to get the jump start they deserve when you're clear.

A few tips for creating a 30-60-90 plan:

  • Think about what a new hire's experience should be like between those three moments.
  • Have existing employees reflect on their own onboarding period. What worked really well, what worked less well?
  • Compare the above experiences with each other and discuss how far the dream is from reality.
  • Based on that exploration, set goals for the onboarding process and then adjust your activities accordingly.

Check-in regularly with the employees to find the right balance in the program. This way, you determine whether too much information is dumped on them in the first weeks and whether they are really taken care of by the team. 

Tips are of course never the end. They indicate in which direction you can go, but say nothing about how to do it. And that's for good reason. Every organization, like every love, is different. That is why it is useful to look at what works in every situation.

Need help with your 30-60-90 day plan? I would like to help you. Contact us.

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