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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2011 - issue > People Manager

Beyond Onboarding Integrating People with the Organization

C Mahalingam (Mali)
Monday, April 4, 2011
C Mahalingam (Mali)
Organizations and managers invest a lot of time and effort in selecting and offering right candidates with the hope that the selected candidate is excited about the role and the opportunity and will settle down and contribute for a fairly long time. But experience shows that no more than half of new hires, particularly, in the management roles really “settle down.” This is increasingly becoming the trend also with hiring individual contributors. What a wasted effort! I would like to discuss this key issue in this column to explore how business and HR leaders can work on this to save precious time and money and induct people better.

This reminds me of what the world witnessed with the Apollo 13 launched in April 1970. This spaceship was crippled by a major failure in the cryogenic oxygen system. The planned lunar landing had to be aborted. The Control station in Houston decided to ‘slingshot’ the spaceship using the gravity of the moon. Lunar excursion module was modified to become the sort of “lifeboat” for the astronauts. This module designed to sustain two people for two days now had to sustain three people for four days. In short, this was a situation that had no room for any error either on the ground or in space! If the spaceship’s trajectory was even a bit off, it would skip away from Earth’s atmosphere beyond redemption.

On boarding key employees (or any employee for that matter) is no less challenging than the scene described above. It has all the challenge, excitement and uncertainty requiring careful attention. Often times, it is left to the recruiter to handle this. The recruiters do their best which more often than not turns out to be not good enough for the challenge. Of all the reasons why early exits take place despite great moments of truth during recruitment, one can recognize several traps that organizations walk into, out of their ignorance or more often their underestimation of the task of integration.

Seven Deadly Integration Traps:
Studies in the area of new employee integration suggest that there are several traps that must be recognized and avoided to “soft-land” the new hire. Many of these are present in almost all the organizations, irrespective of size and geography. Let us list them here:
* Trap 1: Minimizing the challenge: Often done with good intention not to intimidate the new hire, this becomes even more complicated with the candidates’ often noticed tendency to exaggerate their capabilities!
* Trap 2: Thrown into the Ocean: New employee comes on board and discovers that he is required to swim across the ocean and not a swimming pool

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