The first success factor concerns the length of the process – is it long enough to be effective?
Research by the Aberdeen Group and Bersin
shows that an onboarding process should ideally last between six months to a year, depending on the complexity of the organisation and the nature of the job. This makes sense when you consider the finding from Harvard Business Review
that it takes an employee around eight months to reach peak productivity. However, the average length of onboarding programs last only three months
, meaning new hires are often left to "sink or swim".
Some organisations mistakenly believe orientation is the same as onboarding too.
Orientation typically lasts up to a week and comprises of activities like filling out paperwork, meeting immediate supervisors and teams, getting set up on IT networks and completing mandatory training. Onboarding on the other hand, is the ongoing process of integrating new joiners into their roles through longer-term activities like drawing up development plans, providing mentoring programs, checking in and getting feedback, encouraging additional learning and organising social networking events.