In-Describable Onboarding: Onboarding as Investment

Each Employee is a Beautiful Flower- And that Saves You Money

Onboarding as Investment

Have you ever spent time gardening? I have just recently started the habit, and it takes a lot of practice to learn the finer details, like exactly how much water each flower needs. I’ve noticed a couple drastically different schools of landscaping, and they have made me think about onboarding as investment. It may seem like a bit of a jump, but bear with me. Basically, the two schools can be described like this:


Gardening Schools of Thought

  1. Pot and Stop- This approach involves buying beautiful potted plants and placing them around landscaping just as they are. No additional work is involved, except for a very occasional watering.
  2. Soil and Toil- This approach involves much more work, taking the time to plant the flowers within the soil. This requires one to dig out the area, add in some fertilizer and top soil, and set the flower in such a way that it will be best able to thrive. Additionally, future care is required, including regular watering, weeding, and maybe even re-fertilizing.

Both of these approaches has its benefits and drawbacks, and each has its place. For example, Pot and Stop is without a doubt the easier and faster option, but it also will require the flowers to be replaced regularly. On the other hand, Soil and Toil requires time and energy, as well as additional money up front to pay for the fertilizer, soil, and additional watering. On the upside, its flowers will last longer and be able to grow in a larger area.


Onboarding as Investment

So, how does this relate to onboarding as investment? Consider the two methods of gardening again. Pot and Stop represents a nonexistent or barebones approach to employee onboarding, wherein the employee is brought in without spending time to orient him to the new environment. He is not provided the resources needed to thrive in his position, and he does not have a support system to help him. The company may offer a bit of advice here or there, but, like the occasional watering, this does not prevent the inevitable. Eventually, the employee will move on, and the company is left to replace him.

On the other hand, Soil and Toil represents a comprehensive approach to onboarding. The company takes the time to introduce the new employee to the work environment and to give her the resources she needs to succeed. This includes training her on how to do the job properly while avoiding bad habits that try to creep in like weeds. Importantly, this is not a one-time session. Instead, it is always ongoing, just as the regular watering for the flowers. This allows the employee to not only survive, but to thrive.

Looking at it as a traditional investment, taking the time and money to institute a comprehensive onboarding program is a sound decision. While the Pot and Stop method is cheaper in the short term, in the long run it the cost of repeatedly replacing employees will far outweigh the costs of effectively training them to stay for the long haul. Looking at Onboarding as an Investment, then, it’s easy to see that money spent for onboarding will end up blooming into significant savings in the future.


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