SHRM Study: Most Organizations Provide Orientation to New Hires


By Catherine Skrzypinski April 13, 2011

More than 80 percent of organizations say they roll out the welcome mat for new hires with a variety of programs, a survey report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states.

The Onboarding Practices survey report, released April 13, 2011, at SHRM’s 2011 Talent & Staffing Management Conference & Exposition in San Diego, reported that onboarding—a process to acclimate new employees into its corporate culture—increasingly is becoming an important retention strategy.

Almost three-quarters of SHRM members said that onboarding has a longer duration and is more intensive now than five years ago.

The survey found that onboarding has a longer-term focus than before, as companies focus on developing new hires’ development and advancement opportunities early in their tenure.

Approximately one-third of the organizations polled said they begin onboarding activities when a candidate accepts a job offer, while nearly one-third begin the program on a new hire’s first day on the job.

According to the survey, almost one-half of organizations have onboarding programs for most new hires that take less than eight days. Nineteen percent said their programs last two to three months.

Fitting In

A majority of organizations that took part in the survey said the following is important for the adjustment of new hires:

  • Welcoming activities and opportunities to socialize with co-workers.
  • Maintaining communication with colleagues at all levels.
  • Providing training with a mentor and/or a work buddy.
  • Offering resources, such as materials to tackle the position and company literature.

Onboarding activities include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed materials and computer-based orientations to introduce newcomers to their jobs and organizations. Informally, companies organize social events, meet-and-greet activities and other forms of team building.

More than half of respondents said programs cover information about the organization and the new hire’s job, department and work group.

Not ‘On Board?’

Time constraints, such as co-workers not able to take time away from their daily tasks, was identified by more than one-half of organizations as a barrier to offering more formal onboarding activities. Another impediment, the survey stated, is insufficient human resource staff to implement the program.

Nonprofit organizations are more likely than privately owned for-profit organizations to cite financial constraints as a reason not to offer onboarding programs.

Only 4 percent of companies participating in the survey said orientation activities were not valued by new employees.

Catherine Skrzypinski is an online writer/editor for SHRM.


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