Employees or Teammates?

buy-in employee engagement engagement leadership culture onboarding process orientation team building team environment team leadership teamwork teamwork and leadership what is onboarding Mar 09, 2022
What is Onboarding

Since we now have a definition of onboarding that we can work from, and I started pounding the drum about the importance of making sure our organizational values are a heavy part of that process, let’s start looking at a few things we need to keep in mind if we’re going to be effective in doing… Before I move on here though, I’ll emphasize that none of what I’m about to share will just happen by simply wishing it to be! It will absolutely require very intentional effort, but I’d argue that effort won’t be any harder than what most organizations are currently doing  - it will just be different - AND this effort will yield a completely different result!

Let’s think about what likely drives any company to do all they can to speed up the hiring process and get the newly hired individuals engaged in revenue producing activity as quickly as possible… While that statement alone seems rhetorical, that wasn’t my goal - this time… Revenue ALWAYS matters, anyone suggesting otherwise may need a checkup from the neck up! That said, I believe something that causes just as much push for getting the new folks into the actual positions is the understaffing many organizations have dealt with for nearly two years now. I absolutely have some strong thoughts about what’s been driving that particular issue for far longer than two years, but I won’t go down that part right now. I will share that I personally know of several companies in completely different industries, just in my local area, that are all operating with 15 to 30% less staff than they need to get the work done that they have on the books on any given day - even without chasing new business. Some overtime may be an option, but how much would it really take to make up for a 30% deficit in headcount? And how long will those folks tolerate it??? (Those are rhetorical questions!)

Unfortunately, I believe that constant pressure to fill holes may likely be creating an (additional) issue into an already tough equation. The pressure to get more people into those revenue producing roles is quite likely pulling at least a little focus away from helping them become part of the team! Not so long ago, I referenced how much more engaged someone is likely to be when they feel a strong sense of teamwork. With regards to the onboarding process, we need to be intentional about managing our own perspective, as well as the perspective of the leaders on our teams; we need to focus on bringing on new teammates rather than just hiring more employees…

This may seem like semantics, but I truly believe that making a simple shift in the way we view each individual who’s becoming part of our team can make a lasting impact on their performance, as well as their tenure, from that day forward. When we consider the potential an teammate can have on results for years to come rather than just the immediate need to get a certain task accomplished, making an investment into the onboarding process becomes a no-brainer - even when the pressure is high to get tasks checked off the list… When we show value from day one, we get a far higher level of value in return. But we can’t leave it up to that new teammate to understand why we’re investing in them or what kind of return we need from that investment, and we’ll look at that next time…