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Approximately three months ago, on Aug. 19, I penned my first blog entry as an associate editor at Talent Management. In typical on-boarding lingo, that means that, yes, I have completed my first 90 days in my not-so-new-anymore job.
Looking back, is there anything I would’ve done differently throughout my initial on-boarding process? For starters, I probably wouldn’t have led my first blog post with an awful hang-gliding reference. Did I think that was funny?
While my first 90 days is complete, I still feel as if I am just getting settled into my role. Both fellow new hires and talent managers would agree that even though the first three months is a critical period to a new hire’s development, the remainder of the first year is equally, if not more, important.
I first drummed up this idea on Sept. 2, when I wrote this blog entry discussing the often-misunderstood idea of “the first 90 days.” In the post — which also came with some of my typical misguided sports references — I pointed readers to a book written by Mark A. Stein and Lilith Christiansen, Successful Onboarding: Strategies to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization.
The book’s main point, as I wrote then, was that the notion of on-boarding a new employee is much more complicated than your prototypical HR stuff. In essence, there is much more to it, by way of engagement and retention, than what occurs within the first three months of employment.
In a way — and this may be my own opinion — while the first 90 days may be driven by getting the new hire oriented and comfortable, the remainder of the first year is where the organization essentially has to provide enough engagement to sell the employee that this is a place where he/she would like to work long-term.
Stein and Christiansen reckon something similar, writing: “Firms offer little inspiration nor specific challenge, direction or commitment to new hires. During the rest of the new hire’s first year — a make-or-break period in an employee’s tenure — firms leave it to overwhelmed and underprepared hiring managers to address informally the critical needs that all new hires face.”
Essentially, after the first 90 days, the next 90 isn’t necessarily in the hands of the talent manager, but it’s in the hands of that new hire’s direct supervisor and co-workers.
Engagement, as we well know, is driven by a number of things. But most of all, engagement is driven by a solid, functional relationship with an employee’s boss. Co-workers, especially those who have been around for a while, should be especially keen on helping peers who may be newer in the job. The actions of both should positively contribute to the new hire’s engagement level for that critical next 90 days.
In my situation at MediaTec, both my direct bosses and co-workers have offered a tremendous amount of support throughout my first 90 days. As I mentioned many times before through this blog, MediaTec is a small publishing company, so I didn’t have to go through some of the more formalized on-boarding rituals that larger firms put their employees through.
At any rate, I am looking forward to what I will term on-boarding phase two. The first 90 days ended in a success — unless someone around here has yet to tell me otherwise — and I expect the next 90 to be equally, if not more, successful.
Do you have any on-boarding stories you’d like to share about your first 90 days? I invite both new hires and talent managers to email and share for future posts.
Just get me at email@example.com.
Frank Kalman is an associate editor of Talent Management magazine. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he earned his master’s of science degree in Dec. 2010. He is also a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, earning a degree in American history in May 2009. Prior to joining MediaTec, Frank served as an editorial intern for Crain’s Chicago Business, covering commercial and residential real estate for Crain’s real estate spinoff, ChicagoRealEstateDaily. He also covered public finance and commercial banking while a reporter at Medill. Frank can be reached at fkalman@TalentMGT.com.