Structured Orientation Helps New Employees Adjust The new world work order seems to include changing jobs and careers regularly. A new study shows that a structured orientation process helps new employees adjust to frequent job transitions.

“Simply throwing newcomers into a job and letting them fend for themselves results in their being socialized by default rather than design,” said Jamie Gruman, Ph.D.

Gruman’s study, conducted with Alan Saks, is the first to examine links between “on-boarding” tactics and newcomer engagement. It is published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology.

Researchers say job success from both an employee and employer perspective hinges on personal engagement at work.

This attitude is described as bringing one’s full self to the job (spending time thinking about the job, becoming engrossed in one’s work), and is considered key to a new employee’s commitment and performance.

That in turn affects a company’s productivity and competitiveness, Gruman said.

The study, which involved 140 co-op university students on a work term, found that more structured on-boarding tactics made employees happier and more confident, and strengthened their belief that they fit both the job and organization.

In turn, those highly desirable outcomes made employees feel engaged.

Organizations should use structured on-boarding to help build relationships, said Gruman. However, the formal processes should be only a starting point, as they lead only indirectly to employee engagement. To be fully engaged, people must feel “safe” – supported by their superiors and colleagues – and feel that their work is meaningful.

Gruman suggests companies give employees opportunities to develop personal strengths such as self-confidence as well as the material resources they need to do their job well.

“Companies benefit from boosting their employees’ well-being. Helping new hires adjust at the start empowers them to achieve their potential later on,” he said.

Source: University of Guelph