Canadian Organizations Take Onboarding Beyond New Employee Orientation

OTTAWA, Nov. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - In a labour market where the competition for talent is fierce, employers cannot afford to stop courting new employees after they have accepted job offers. Several Canadian organizations are taking steps to welcome new employees and ensure that they have every opportunity to become successful and productive in their roles.

A Conference Board of Canada report, Bringing New Hires Up to Speed: How Structured Onboarding Can Help, profiles five organizations - MolsonCoors, Bayer Canada, Compass Group Canada, Capital Power and the Government of Saskatchewan - that have implemented unique and effective "onboarding" programs.

This report examines how organizations can make the most of their investment in people through the use of strategic onboarding.  Onboarding is an extended process for transferring organizational, team, and role-specific knowledge to new employees. It reduces the time new hires take to become get up to speed, increases productivity by improving employee engagement, and reduces new-hire turnover.

"Onboarding goes beyond orientation. It is a welcoming experience that helps people feel comfortable and connected to the organization," said Ruth Wright, Director, Human Resource Management Research. "The organizations that we profile in this study have the ingredients of a successful onboarding program."

The report identifies five objectives for an onboarding program. A successful program should:

  • Acclimate the new hire to the organizational culture —In 2009, Molson Coors launched the Our Brew program, aimed at defining and communicating company values, culture, and goals to new employees without using corporate language. It defines who the company is, where it is headed, and defines the meaning of success at Molson Coors to new employees. References to Our Brew are in all onboarding materials as well as the corporate website.
  • Make use of technology where appropriate— At Bayer Canada (Toronto), all new employees receive log-in information for Hello Bayer, the organization's internal onboarding website, upon accepting an employment offer. The site provides key orientation information and tools in one place, and gives new employees an opportunity to familiarize themselves with Bayer's culture right from the start. On the site, new employees can watch a welcome video, tour Bayer's head office, and obtain information about benefit programs.
  • Involve individuals outside the human resources function as well as those inside it—A key component of Compass Group Canada's onboarding program is a two-day orientation session held at the corporate headquarters. During this session, groups of new associates meet senior management, learn more about the organization, and participate in team-building activities. All new employees participate in these sessions regardless of their geographic location.
  • Use metrics to align the onboarding process with business goals—Capital Power's onboarding measures its success against organizational objectives by tracking participant-satisfaction scores. In addition, Capital Power has plans to measure program success through a Learning Management System, post-program survey of new employee and managers, and tracking of turnover and time to productivity.
  • Use a phased approach—Onboarding at the Government of Saskatchewan begins before the new individual arrives and continues throughout the first year of employment. The onboarding process includes checklists for the pre-arrival, as well as the two week, three-month, six-month and one-year milestones.


For further information:

Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext.  221

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