One of the most difficult parts about hir- ing new employees is getting them up to speed. But what if new hires could know as much about your association as your best long-term staff, and be just as efficient,
effective and productive? With an “onboarding roadmap”
they can — and it will take only 100 days.
per stickers” — bad first impressions that are extremely
difficult to overcome — that put his long-term success in
serious jeopardy. With an onboarding roadmap, he could
have started off on better footing.
What Is an Onboarding Roadmap?
An onboarding roadmap is designed to accelerate new hires’
understanding of how their association works, help them
build positive connections with co-workers and assist them
in achieving early wins. Using an onboarding roadmap, a
new hire can achieve in 100 days what otherwise might take
months or years.
Meet Bill and his boss, neither of who have an onboarding roadmap. Bill, who joined the association 21 days ago
as director of marketing to prove himself by getting things
done quickly and — if necessary — bullishly. After only
three weeks, therefore, he presents a new educational marketing campaign to JoAnn, the director of education, and
complains how the the current plan is outdated. Although
Bill met JoAnn in one staff meeting, he did not know she
was the primary creator of the current education marketing
plan, of which she happens to be very proud.
Bill’s boss, James, says, “I hire good people and they
should be smart enough to figure out how to do their jobs. If
not, why hire them?”
It is well known in the organization that James hates
long emails and prefers scheduled meetings rather than
drop-in conversations. However, no one told Bill about those
preferences. In his desire to impress James, therefore, he
drops in a couple of times a week for short updates and
sends long weekly emails. James is silently irritated.
After only 21 days, Bill has begun to accumulate “bum-
Avoiding High-Risk Bumper Stickers
According to the term’s originator, Eric Elder, head of world-
wide onboarding for Bank of America, a bumper sticker on
your job is just like a bumper sticker on your car: “It bakes
on in the sun, it is very hard to come off and you, the driver,
don’t see it.”
The best way to help new hires avoid bumper stickers is
with an onboarding roadmap that integrates them into your
organization quickly and completely, addressing within the
first 100 days the following bumper-sticker behaviors:
1. Acting without first listening and learning: Bill’s drive
to take action is creating a bumper sticker. Successful
organizations recognize this risk and require new hires
to spend their first 30 days participating in “listen and
learn” interviews with peers, subordinates and executives. These are not “meet and greet” sessions, but
rather formal “downloading” processes designed to help
new hires master the reality of the organization and
seize early opportunities.
John Gabarro, Ph.D., a Harvard Business School
researcher on successful transitions, has defined the
need for new hires to achieve mastery of the organization as a critical component of their success. According to Noel Tichy, Ph.D., a renowned researcher from
the University of Michigan, that “mastery” comes from
understanding the organization’s technical (i.e., tasks),
political (i.e., goals, problems, conflicts, coalitions) and
cultural (i.e., norms and values) perspectives.
2. Failing to understand how the employer wants to work:
Both Bill and James are contributing to Bill’s high