Five Onboarding Smarts Learned from Dieting

Posted by Cathy Reilly

appleAs I think about putting together success tips for onboarding practices, I realize there are some common threads between onboarding and dieting that lead to optimal results. What could onboarding and dieting possibly have in common? More than you might think.

To test my theory, I wrote the following dieting tips first, then did a Find for “dieting” and a Replace with “onboarding” search. Here’s how it came out:

  1. It’s ongoing.  To win at dieting onboarding, the view has to be long-term. There is no quick fix. Trends don’t work, nor is there any magic pill, mix, or gadget that instantly transforms one.  Dieting Onboarding is about making a larger, lifestyle change and not just going out in at the beginning only to have things fizzle away. 

    *What’s going to lead to onboarding success is a clear commitment over time and continuous effort to get there by an organization. An onboarding program should start with an effective Day One and Week One Program to get things going in the right direction immediately. It will also require a 30, 60, 90, 180 Day Review Program that includes new hire feedback and structured one-on-one face-time with managers. Speaking of managers, their involvement is necessary all along the way since they play a critical role with their employees. Onboarding calls for an organizational style change if viewed as a one-time event. Onboarding is ongoing.

  2. Planning and deadlines are vital. What’s the dieting onboarding goal? How are you going to get there? When are you going to reach that goal? Examining these questions will help map out matters of importance and guide toward a path to get there. Without clear and specific goals that are given a timeline, chances for dieting onboarding success start to diminish.


    *What is the ultimate goal at your company for each of your new hires? What are the measurable milestones along the way, and when do they need to be achieved? Is all this clear to managers, new hires, and their stakeholders? How are you communicating this? Are expectations clear to all parties? How is this being recorded?

  3. Individuality counts. Not every dieting onboarding plan is going to work exactly the same for each person and get the same results. Effective dieting onboarding takes into account each person’s background, what they do and do not respond to so you can incorporate elements into your program that will work best for them. *Treating new hires as a number is a worn out onboarding practice and doesn’t work well. Too often new hires are recruited with statements such as “Our company’s greatest assets are it’s people”, yet once onboard, managers and colleagues don’t take the time to get to know the new hire (which, by the way, new hires notice pretty quickly!). How often have you seen no one is available to take the new hire for lunch on day one? Can you think of any managers you’ve worked with that view all this as too kumbaya?
    *Effective onboarding should consider the new employee’s individual strengths as part of the entire process. Find out what helps a new hire to be at their very best. Consider how that can be incorporated into their work so they can perform at their maximum. Happy and fulfilled employees have been shown to stay at companies longer and outperform all along the way. Imagine what that will do for company productivity and competing in the marketplace!

  4. Maintenance is essential. Dieting Onboarding isn’t going to run on auto-pilot or succeed on the “set it and forget it” dial. There needs to be an ongoing plan as milestones are reached or not, adjustments made in responsibilities or capacity, and monitoring to keep levels and engagement optimal. When things are slipping, the source needs to be examined and it needs to be addressed head on.

    *Getting new hires off to the right start is essential, but they will need guidance on how to continue along their path of learning and developing. They’ll need to know how to keep succeeding at the organization. Procedures should be in place if new hires are falling behind, need extra help, or are becoming dissatisfied so this issues are addressed before they get worse. 

  5. Support is key to success. Dieting Onboarding is going to have its ups and downs, it’s challenges, victories, frustrations and rewards. Knowing there are tools of support, whether moral or physical, not only can increase motivation, but can greatly boost performance.

    *It can be extremely intimidating to begin a new job. New hires most often remember their first day and more importantly . . . how they were treated. Make a positive and lasting first impression by the long term supports you put into place for them at the start. Continue that spirit and structure of support well beyond day one of their onboarding.

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