In-Describable Onboarding: Introductory Onboarding

Why Starting a New Job is Like Moving to a New House, and How Introductory Onboarding Helps

Introductory Onboarding

They say that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful life events. Not only do you need to find and purchase your new home, but you must also move out from your old place and adapt to your new environment. If you lived in a similar home before, the transition is easier, and you may even expect to have very little to learn. But then you get the HOA agreement, the introductory onboarding of home ownership.


Acclimating to a New Home

As you peruse this document, you realize that the way you are accustomed to keeping your home may or may not line up with what is expected of you in your new neighborhood. All that neon green paint you bought for your siding isn’t allowed, so you’ll have to take that back. And the playset you were going to buy to match the one you had at your old place is also on the prohibited list. You will be allowed to have a fence, but it can only be waist-high.

Having to adjust to your new neighborhood can be difficult, but it is a necessary part of being happy in your home. And as much as you may not want to read that your planned improvements are not allowed, it is far better to learn that before implementing those changes. Without this introductory onboarding, you would end up having to paint your house twice, once as you wanted and then a second time to be up to the neighborhood code. And you’d have to build and tear down both your playset and your fence after receiving some potentially threatening mail or other communication informing you of your infraction. Not only would this situation lead to your neighbors being frustrated with you, but you wouldn’t feel welcome and would begin to think you chose the wrong house.


Acclimating to a New Job

In many ways, this situation parallels the experience of starting a new job. A new employee may have held the same position at her former company, but that does not mean she is ready to be dropped in and left to perform her tasks exactly as before. Just as with a new neighborhood, a new company has its own unique requirements and systems. And without a proper introductory onboarding, she has no way of implementing them.

This means that the employee is left to learn about how her new job is different from her previous one through trial and error. Just like the homeowner who paints his house neon green only to learn that color is unacceptable and has to repaint, the new employee may perform a task based on her own expectations, only to find that there are different standards in place. Because of this, tensions will arise between her and both her coworkers and her superiors, forcing tasks to be done twice and relationships to be strained.


Introductory Onboarding

The answer, then, is to ensure there is an introductory onboarding plan. It should act as the Homeowners’ Agreement, thoroughly explaining company expectations and systems. In addition to spelling out the generalities of how to do a job, it should also take the time to go through any details that are specific to the company that might be different from similar positions elsewhere.

Here are some examples of the type of information that goes beyond the general to explain the specific:

  • All out-of-date product should be placed in the rear-most truck bay on the driver side.
  • Green locks may only be used for lockout/tagout, and no other locks may be used for this purpose.
  • Guardrails must be used when on any elevated platform more than six feet above a lower level.

Each of these examples conveys information that is not immediately apparent to someone who has performed the same tasks with a different company. However, by incorporating information like this in an introductory onboarding program, the company ensures the employee is aware of the unique aspects of her new position. This way, she can hit the ground running with confidence in her own abilities and her place within her new company.


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