Onboarding: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by bobmorris

Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time
George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut
John Wiley & Sons (2009)

To the best of my knowledge, there is no better single source for expert guidance on onboarding.

As George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut explain in the first chapter of this book, onboarding “is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization. The prerequisite to successful onboarding is getting your organization aligned around the need and the role.” Frankly, until reading this book, I was almost wholly preoccupied with successfully getting a new hire or a new promotion “on board” and to “flank speed” as swiftly and as easily as possible.” I gave little (if any) thought to the inevitable adjustments that new associates would have to make. Well, as Bradt and Vonnegut soon make crystal clear, there is a lot more to onboarding than getting someone on board.

They carefully organize their material within four Parts that correspond with the four major phases of the onboarding process: Preparation, Recruitment, Orientation, and what I would characterize as Expedition or Acceleration. Within these each four Parts, Bradt and several sub-processeses as they explain “How to.” For example, in Parts I and II:

• Ensure that everyone understands is needed and how it will be obtained
• Clarify and communicate key information
• Craft a time line, formulate a recruiting brief, and enlist stakeholders
• Create a slate of highly-qualified candidates
• Evaluate while pre-selling and during pre-boarding
• “Make the right offer, and close the right sale the right way”

Readers will be delighted to learn that the purchase of this book enables them to access 21 downloadable documents that include templates, briefs, timelines, sourcing and tracking documents, interview/ debrief/reference check guides, and personal as well as onboarding game plans with schedules.

Here in a single volume is just about as much information, wisdom, and counsel that leaders in almost any kind of organization will need during “the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization.” As indicated previously, Bradt and Vonnegut make every effort to serve the best interests of both candidates and the new hire or new promotion as well as those of an organization. To the best of my knowledge, there is no better single source for expert guidance on onboarding.


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