Pre & Onboarding Experiences

Adam Hickman: Discovering an employee’s strengths is a great way to build relationships.

Adam Hickman

 

Pre & Onboarding Quotes

I felt as if I was on campus and the celebration started. Events and processes like Preboarding, orientation day, compliance training, and informal lunches.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

Adam Hickman, Ph.D., is a Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup‘s workplace science. He is responsible for leading, contributing, and helping organisations translate Gallup’s research, best practices, and behavioral and management sciences into practical and compelling practices that drive organisational change and performance outcomes.

Dr. Hickman is an experienced leader whose primary expertise is in organisational development and workplace management practices. Remote working has been his critical research over the years and can be found in various outlets such as Forbes, Fortune, and peer-reviewed journals worldwide.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

The hardest part of onboarding someone starts with the corporate culture.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

The hardest part of onboarding someone starts with the corporate culture.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

The Hardest Part of Pre & Onboarding

Onboarding fulfills promises made during recruitment and lays the foundation for the rest of the employee life cycle. Currently, Gallup reports only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees. Given this data, the hardest part of onboarding someone starts with culture. At Gallup, culture is defined as ‘the way we do things around here’. It includes the structure of teams, who gets rewarded, how leaders make decisions, and the regular rituals that define your organisation’s unique, collective life.

Culture is informed by the organisation’s purpose (why we exist) and influences the brand (how we are known outside the organisation). It starts when the potential candidate arrives on your website to apply for a job and continues throughout their lifecycle in your organisation. After experiencing onboarding at their organisation, 29% of new hires say they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their new roles. This statistic needs to increase, and that begins by defining culture from the very start of the recruitment process for new hires.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

Only 29% of new hires say they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their new roles. This data point needs to increase, and that begins by defining Culture from the very start of the attraction process for new hires.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

Only 29% of new hires say they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their new roles. This data point needs to increase, and that begins by defining Culture from the very start of the attraction process for new hires.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

Building Good Relationships

Work gets done in teams. The socialisation of new hires to their team is critical. It is not easy to feel a strong sense of belonging if your teammates do not accept you. When teammates go the extra mile to welcome and mentor their newest members, trust and team cohesion form more quickly. As time passes, strong partnerships play a significant role in helping new employees and the team accomplishes their best work.

At Gallup, I do not consider someone “new” once they are hired. When we add talent (hire) to our company, I know the rigor it took to arrive at Gallup, and I trust our science as it relates to talent. Meaning, on your first day, I see that more of a chance for me to listen to and learn from your past successes to figure out how I can individualise you to serve our mission and purpose best.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

It’s not easy to feel a strong sense of belonging if your teammates don’t accept you.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

It’s not easy to feel a strong sense of belonging if your teammates don’t accept you.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

What Was Your Own Pre & Onboarding Experience Like?

The current company and Gallup’s onboarding was the best onboarding I have ever experienced. Keeping in mind that I was hired as a remote employee, I felt as if I was on campus, and the celebration started. Events and processes like Preboarding, orientation day, compliance training, and informal lunches with team members are important initial steps for new employees, but on their own, they are not sufficient mechanisms for preparing employees to excel in their new roles.

Exceptional, journey-based onboarding programs help employees learn and grow throughout their first year on the job, placing special focus on check-ins and key experiences that matter most. For example, in front-line, high-turnover roles in which many employees leave during the first three months of the job, organisations should place special emphasis in the first 90 days on proactively addressing the most common reasons people leave.

In contrast, complex roles that require nine to 12 months of training and job shadowing require a longer-term plan that emphasises progressive learning goals and adapts to continually changing responsibilities.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

When teammates go the extra mile to welcome and mentor their newest members, trust and team cohesion form more quickly.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

Pre & Onboarding Insights

When teammates go the extra mile to welcome and mentor their newest members, trust and team cohesion form more quickly.


—Adam Hickman, Ph.D. & Senior Workplace Strategist for Gallup.

Questions for New Managers to Onboard Their New Employees

At Gallup, we have discovered five employee questions that, when addressed, add up to a truly exceptional onboarding program that sets employees up for success.

What do we believe in around here?

Culture matters. It is how you live out your beliefs, values, mission, and purpose. It defines who gets rewarded, how decisions get made, and how problems get resolved. It is the way people behave every day in meetings, over email, and in person. To be successful, new employees need to know — and experience — your culture firsthand. It is more than a list of core values on a slide deck. Employees should be able to describe your values and beliefs based on what they experience in your workplace within their first year.

What are my strengths?

People enjoy doing what they are good at. They also like to be known for what makes them special. Investing time and resources into discovering an employee’s strengths is a great way to build relationships and show that you, as an organisation, care about them as an individual.

What is my role?

“What is expected of me?” is a simple question, but it often goes unanswered in the workplace. There’s no way someone can be successful at something if they don’t know what that “something” is. Managers are key here. They must help employees understand their job expectations and how they relate to teamwork and the business needs of the organisation.

Who are my partners?

People perform at their best when they respect the people they are working with and trust that they also are going to perform at their best. Building trust takes time, but there’s a lot that managers and organisations can do to develop trust and effective collaboration between new employees and their teams.

What does my future here look like?

New employees arrive at the office filled with high expectations. It’s a fresh start. They see a new horizon. But those positive feelings evaporate if they gradually realise they aren’t going anywhere. For this reason, a path for future growth must be front and center throughout their onboarding journey.

All five aspects of onboarding matter, but our analysis finds that answering this question has the second-strongest association with an exceptional onboarding experience.

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