How Social Integration Creates Successful Onboarding

Mervyn Dinnen
August 31, 2017
min read
Table of Contents
Amongst the main reasons given by those who leave new employers within the first year or two are a failure to get on with their boss or immediate team members, and not liking the company culture. Shorlty said: the lack of social integration. New hires need a supportive network to help show them the ropes and offer advice and guidance. Enabling people to build closer bonds with their new colleagues needs to be a key part of onboarding as it will help foster greater social and cultural integration from the start.

This is an issue that impacts all levels of new hires. A recent study from Egon Zehnder amongst senior executives who had recently started new roles found 70% saying their biggest stumbling block was a lack of understanding of the norms and practices of how the organization worked, and 65% failing to fit with company culture. Amongst the things they felt would have improved their situation was help with navigating internal networks and gaining greater insight into organizational and team dynamics.

Better Social Integration

People are social. The rise of social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter over recent years underline how much technology has driven an interest in greater social connectivity. The same applies when starting a new job. We may briefly meet potential new colleagues during the interview process, but those interactions alone are unlikely to help build longer lasting relationships. Successful onboarding happens if the new hire can establish effective working relationships early on, gaining a clear understanding of how the business really operates, and this is likely to happen more effectively if they are socially connected.

Internal Social Sharing

Whilst many employees will connect with their colleagues on the larger, more commercial networks, there are real gains for businesses in developing their own internal networking groups and sharing platforms. Using internal social networks to help new starters chat with existing employees before they start, and during the first few weeks and months, will help them to begin fostering relationships and building networks that can support them and help with learning. Employees who do not form these bonds early on are more likely to leave the organisation quickly.

new hires will form quicker bonds if there are traditional ‘social’ connections and shared interests and hobbies.

Setting up groups within the networks purely for new employees is also a good idea; they can help and support each other during the settling- in phase. Whilst there might be a perceived concern that if one or two new employees are unsettled this could spread through such a group, in practice it is more likely that anyone taking time to adjust will be supported and helped by sharing their experiences with others who have just joined.  With the Appical manager app you can do so, and also keep track of your new hires.

New Hire Communities

Eabling new employees – at all levels – to connect, share and learn from each other, and their new colleagues will help with cultural alignment. Through these interactions, people can network with those having similar responsibilities, roles, interests, and challenges, and this can help with both early learning and the development of the strong internal personal networks needed for success.

These communities can help start discussions, answer questions, crowdsource problems, share best practice and talk about innovations or changes impacting the wider business. And they can be used for fun things too – new hires will form quicker bonds if there are traditional ‘social’ connections and shared interests and hobbies.

For social integration to drive better onboarding and retention, each new starter needs access to platforms that will help them begin building the close partnerships and collaborations that they will need for learning and sharing. And that help should they also feel the need to have someone to confide in. This type of social connectivity also gives them the chance to build the trusting and supportive partnerships with colleagues that will help them become engaged, productive and effective employees.

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