The new guy


I was waiting in the lobby on the fifth floor of a building in Buenos Aires. I was waiting for a long-standing colleague to receive me, he had recently been appointed director of Human Resources for a company whose industry I prefer not to reveal. I started scanning the brochures available on the coffee table; examining the quick hands of the receptionist typing who knows what on his computer keyboard, and losing sight of the glass door with frosted vinyl that barely allowed people to guess those shadows behind: hurried, expeditious, almost choreographed figures. Until I noticed the young man to my right, also waiting, with a quite short suit, impeccable gel hairstyle, a sportive backpack almost dissonant with the outfit, leaning on his feet. I noticed that he took out his cell phone after opening the pocket of the backpack, but not to look at it, I imagined he did that to check the time.  

The receptionist looked at him and said briefly: 

“I told him you were here, they will come right away.  Have you already gone through Human Resources?”  

“Um, no,“ the young man hesitated, almost apologizing for not knowing if he had made a mistake. 

“First day?”, I inquired, beginning to feel amused. 

“Yes, I start today,” he replied and I felt a relief in his voice as of gratitude for having noticed him in the middle of the dense silence of the lobby music.

The conversation we had is irrelevant: it was short because they came to look for me (me, not him, who had been waiting before) and it was only about the area in which he was working, the soccer team  he was a fan of and the university schedule.


But that brief conversation makes me think of something I think every time I carry out a selection process, and then what? It happened to me more than once: concluding a successful selection process, happy client, optimal candidate, and returning after three months to find out that “they haven’t passed the probationary period.” What? I ask myself — sometimes to myself and more than once out loud. It turns out that we are mostly convinced that all the effort we made in the selection process, the time spent in the area interviewing, the costs of the hard process and the effort invested are enough to guarantee – or, at least, favor – the permanence of the new employee. That employee will have to go through an induction, a tour, dozens of presentations with faces and names (that for a long time he will not be able to link), and some kind questioning about his family, sentimental, academic and, of course, football.

Managing new recruitments for the company can make the difference: success or failure.

In recent years, many organizations began to implement Onboarding so that new employees are perfectly and immediately integrated into their job. Managing new recruitments for the company can make the difference: success or failure. For that, the Onboarding technique creates a process designed to help employees successfully transition to their new professional stages and allow them to become aware of their roles from the first day.

Differentiating it from induction (it is carried out in a single way – from the company to the employee – and it is informative in nature; the problems that arise are handled reactively), it is not a training program, but a dynamic integration process that has constant interaction with the new member through two-way communication with a clear tendency to anticipate and avoid problems.

It goes beyond “welcoming” the new employee, assigning him his space and resources and accompanying him on a tour. It is a two-way process and requires verifying the progress in the bond, favoring the absorption of the culture and values of the organization.

It is not a question of receiving it only with a notebook, a computer with your corporate mail and a folder with product information. The process is two-way: it requires checking if there is progress in the relation; cover aspects, from operational and formal (departments, location of rooms, schedules, methodologies) to activities that support the absorption of the culture and values of the company.

There are two cases of Onboarding that can be taken as a parameter of good practice: the first is about Twitter. There they follow a method that includes “75 different points of contact between the new employee, the team and the HR manager.” Their goal is to provide a new team member with an exceptional experience from the first moment until they show up for work on the first day. In this way, the company prepares its staff and has all the material that the new professional will use so that it is ready before contact. Your equipment, phone, systems access, and workspace are meticulously provided according to your process. They insist that the first 90 days have exceptional features in all the aforementioned senses (material, emotional and operational).

The second case is Google. Delegate the Onboarding at the team level, in this way “employees have the power.” It is a company that implicitly trusts its individuals to do the best they can.  His method of managing recruitment is: the direct team welcomes the new member, performs the “hard” induction and introduce him to the social dynamics of the team.  The important thing is that the company gives rise to this situation, foresees times and steps, provides material support for the process to be carried out. The obvious impact of this method is that onboarding is slightly different from team to team. But Google accompanies this methodology with obsessive handling of data, internal surveys and studies on its teams. Everything is measured, the best process is identified and a new baseline for incorporation common to all is established in a continuous improvement procedure.

When I left the meeting with the director, the boy was still in the chair, a little more relaxed than before. At that same moment, the door opened and, behind the frosted vinyl, a woman in her thirties appeared, notebook in hand, asking the lethal question: “Are you the new one?” Fortunately, the meeting had been to design the Onboarding process for the company that hired my young friend.