Working as an HR professional for a consulting company is refreshing. Just as enVista consultants operate as business partners to our clients, I am expected to function as a business partner for enVista and create HR programs that enable our company’s strategy. To capture the essence of my responsibilities, my department has been named the Human Capital Department, not Human Resources, and I have been given the title of Human Capital Manager. This small departure from the organizational norm conveys that my role is to advise and assist managers on developing talented associates capable of producing value for the company.
enVista is currently experiencing tremendous growth. We’ve hired at least a dozen new associates each quarter for the last year, and this rate of growth is expected to continue, or increase, for the next 2 years. Given this current state of the company, I knew I needed to focus my efforts on building a strategic onboarding program for enVista’s consultants. When engaging in any sort of strategic planning, it is important to clarify your intentions. We began our onboarding project with three clear goals in mind:
- Enable job satisfaction. Satisfied associates are engaged and committed to enVista’s goals. This passion for success will drive our continued growth.
- Amplify job performance. New associates level of success and productivity is a direct reflection of our ability to onboard them effectively. Furthermore, job success builds confidence and motivation in our team.
- Inoculate against turnover. Low turnover equates to project teams with a long history of implementing solutions for our clients and we strive for excellence!
My Human Capital team partnered with executives, managers and senior consultants over a period of several months to define, and then implement, a new onboarding program that would drive the achievement of these goals. The end result became a mix of formal classroom training, on-the-job training, self-study and social activities scheduled and delivered during each consultant’s first four weeks. Larger milestones are discussed with managers and then scheduled to be completed during the consultant’s first year at enVista.
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As with most onboarding programs, we inform new associates about the company history and policies and rules of which they must be aware. We also spend a good deal of time building knowledge and training consultants on our standard operating procedures, but we do much more than this passive type of onboarding. We provide role clarity and build self-efficacy in our associates through regular goal-setting and review meetings with managers and strengths-based professional development training. We integrate new associates into our culture by providing onboarding buddies, welcome lunches and quarterly social outings. Finally, we assist new consultants in building relationships within our company through an onboarding activity that connects new associates with important people in our organization to either share or receive some company-related information.
enVista now proudly boasts of our standard consultant onboarding program at career fairs and during the interview process. If you’ve ever met a Millennial or interviewed one, you know that they will ask for a great amount of detail about the training they will receive upon joining your company. So a project that began in part as a retention tool has quickly evolved into a benefit that attracts new talent to our organization. We are now at a point in which two groups of new consultants have participated in our onboarding program, and the feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive, while also providing us with some items to improve. With an eye on continuous improvement, we are listening to this feedback and making appropriate adjustments for our next group of new consultants.
To my fellow HR professionals, whether your company has adopted a progressive view of HR, or not, I challenge you to find your seat at the table. Familiarize yourself with your company’s strategy and reflect on what’s within your control that can function to drive that strategy. When you are able to identify what you do that enables the achievement of broader company goals, you’ll become more results-driven as an HR professional. It is this focus on results that will foster a true business partnership between you and the decision-makers in your company.