HR| Why Employee Onboarding Programs Are More Important Than Assessments

In the fast-moving world of work, talent acquisition and management is a paramount concern for HR managers and employers. There is a continuous need for exceptional and qualified candidates and HR practitioners are tasked with the responsibility of finding talent that will do remarkably at their job. With this great task came the need for assessments and employee onboarding programs.

Employee Assessments are used to shortlist candidates after talent is identified through recruitment.  The expectations of the employer along with job descriptions enable experienced recruitment officers to select appropriate assessments to test these potential candidates.

The common psychometric assessments in use today include; numerical and verbal reasoning tests, critical reasoning tests, computer proficiency tests, scenario-based tests, simulations and so on. However, while employee assessments do undoubtedly improve hiring accuracy, how does one know for certain that the candidate who performs well during these assessments will be good on the job?

The truth is that no recruitment process is 100% perfect and there have been situations where the person that performs well at assessments is employed and he is unable to perform at work. Their attitude to work is next to nothing, they are not likeable, they wait for direction and are far from what was exhibited during the assessment process. One then begins to wonder if assessments are enough as a true test of quality of talent.

Recruitment is one of my many tasks as a Human Resource Generalist and I have been responsible for filling various positions (junior to executive level). I evaluate candidates with different assessments depending on the requirements for the position, and there have been a few cases where I have taken risks on people who did not meet up to the minimum requirement. This is because these people showed they were trainable, and a culture fit, so all they needed was a comprehensive onboarding program to guide them on how to function effectively in the role.

The Society for Human Resources Development (SHRM), defines employee onboarding as “the process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to function effectively within an organization.” According to statistics compiled by Click Boarding, an onboarding software company in 2017, onboarding programs can improve employee performance by 11.5% and 58% of employees decide they will stay with an organization if they take part in a structured onboarding process. An organization that wants a more productive workforce and high returns on investment need to pay more attention to their onboarding process.

Organizations in Nigeria however are not utilizing the effect of this essential HR function to its full advantage. A properly structured onboarding program can range from three months to a year or even more. This fully integrates the employee into the organization and enables them to have a proper understanding of their job, form work relationships, connect with the culture of the organization and have a sense of belonging. A poor onboarding program often leads to losing an employee due to their feelings of being confused, alienated, lacking confidence or not understanding the company’s culture.

Sharlyn Lauby, the HR Bartender & president of ITM Group, Inc. once said, “We all know turnover is expensive, both in terms of direct costs and intellectual capital. Organizations can increase retention by focusing on those activities that get employees engaged from the start. One way to do that is by taking care of administrative paperwork before day one so employees can focus on their role and other things that matter to them most. Onboarding processes set new hires up for success by building positive work relationships, making good on promises made during interviews, and providing a career roadmap.”

In line with the above, I believe the onboarding process of every firm should be an integral part of the system. Though the onboarding experience is led by the human resources department, every department including leadership should have a part to play. New staff should not be expected to perform miracles in a short period of time because even the best new employee is a work in progress. Post-recruitment activities are vital to the successful performance and retention of new talent.

When you started your current employment relationship, did you go through an onboarding process?

If you will like to see more HR articles, say so in the comments.

Mariam Shittu

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