Successful Onboarding Using Extended DISC

The onboarding process is often a missed opportunity for helping new hires succeed within organizations.

Getting new employees off to a great start is critical to their long-term success. However, each employee is unique with their different preferences. Onboarding can be challenging for many managers. Managers tend to focus more on recruiting and hiring the right people and overlook the power of the onboarding process. I'm not referring to a few days of new employee orientation. Instead, I'm focusing on those first few months on the job. Studies have shown that a strong start increases the ability to retain employees.

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You may focus a lot of energy and resources on recruiting activities. You hire people based on skills, education, etc., but when things go wrong it is typically some form of personality or style conflict. The ability to hire successful employees is challenging and even costly when not done right. Employers spend a lot of time on background checks, testing, and review applications. While many applicants look successful on paper, it's hard to predict which ones will be the most successful.

Employee turnover is an expensive problem for organizations. Labor statistics show, in any given month, the number of people hired is roughly equal to those who leave or are laid off from an organization. Employees may leave because they don't feel valued or motivated to stay. You need to convert new hires into productive and lasting employees.

Onboarding does not take a lot of resources, can be simple to implement, and has a great return on investment. Often, managers do not take the time to set up the new employee to succeed and stay in the organization. Studies have shown that companies with a solid onboarding process, focusing on those first few months, will greatly improve new hire retention and productivity.

Manager's role in onboarding

The manager's role is the most critical in the onboarding process. Managers must take responsibility for the success of their new hire. Studies have shown a third of new hires, particularly Millennials, decide to stay or leave within their first 30 days of employment. Often, Millennials are not looking at their new job as a long-term career. Rather, they are looking for work culture, opportunities to contribute, and personal growth. If you are unable to understand how your new hires communicate or prefer to be motivated, then you are likely to see them leave.

Derailing the onboarding process

Typically, companies have good hiring systems in place. New hires have been well matched to their jobs based on their education, skills, and experience. New hires don't tend to fail because they lack the job skills.

The main reason employees tend to leave is because there is a personality or work style disconnect or conflict; often times it is directly with their manager. Ever heard of the saying, "employees don't leave the organization, they leave their managers"? Many employees bring in their own expectations of managers, but managers often overlook these expectations. You need to have a clearer understanding of your new hires in order to better lead them. The sooner your new hire feels comfortable and motivated in their job, the more successful you will be in retaining them.

How Extended DISC® can help

What type of investment are you willing to make in your new hire? Are you looking for a successful, long term employee? If so, is it worth the time and effort in those first 30 days? First, you must model the DISC 4-step process. You need to recognize your own DISC style and where you share similarities and differences. It's your responsibility to modify your style appropriately since you cannot force others to adjust.

Extended DISC® Assessments provide you with the behavioral style of the employee. You will have information on their behavioral strengths, how they communicate and make decisions, what motivates and demotivates them, etc. You can use this information to help communicate effectively and create clear performance expectations.

Be patient with your employees. On average, it takes about 8 months for an employee to reach their full potential. Consider what happens when you fail to retain employees. Those 8 months become even longer to reach because time is needed to recruit and rehire. 

Using the Extended DISC® Assessment

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Extended DISC® reports are available in different formats. There are reports for individual self-discovery. In addition, there are reports specifically designed for the manager to understand the new hire. As a manager, you can better prepare to onboard the new employee. You can identify their strengths and maximize them. The information will help you communicate more effectively and better develop and coach them.

For example, the report will show how the new employee shows up under stress. Now you have the tools to more easily recognize when the employee is under stress. In addition, you may be able to head off the stress situation proactively because you don't have to guess when they are feeling stress; you have the right information. 

Using the Extended DISC® Work Pair Assessment

The Extended DISC® Work Pair can be a powerful tool in onboarding as well. It can deliver a unique experience to the new hire. When the manager is willing to share his/her own information it shows a deep interest in the employee and in the employee's success. Hence, it creates a sense of openness and trust from the very beginning. Conflicts arise because people are different. Conflicts will eventually happen. However, you can proactively discuss and head off potential conflicts and challenges if both sides understand each other better.

When a manager can talk about their own strengths and weaknesses to a new hire, it expresses a deep self-confidence. They are not afraid to share and they are constantly trying to improve. Also, it sets the expectation that the new hire needs to improve as well.

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Everyone works in teams, groups, and departments. Co-workers also play an important role in the success of new hires. In fact, studies have shown that integration into social network and mentoring play a key role in the success and satisfaction of the new hire. 

When DISC is part of your common language and culture, it creates a safer and well-defined framework for the new hire to integrate into. The team DISC profiles clearly show how you communicate with each other and as a team. The new hire begins to understand DISC and they are more likely to value the similarities and differences of their team. In addition, they understand the need to modify their own style.

Why focus on onboarding?

The onboarding process using Extended DISC® is simple to implement and do. You just need to do it. It has a high rate of return on investment. New hires are over 50% MORE likely to stay an average of 3 years if they have a positive onboarding experience. You spend time and money finding the best people; use DISC for an investment in long term success.

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