An exploratory qualitative study of new employee organization onboarding from a human resource professional's perspective

by Stanley, Michael Lynn, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 231 pages; 3499921


The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of human resource professionals as they oversee the new worker orientation and socialization process. It is a qualitative exploration of the study research question; "What are the experiences of human resource managers conducting new entry-level worker orientation and socialization, to include workplace orientation and organization socialization and assimilation?" The study originally focused on entry-level workers and evolved into the overall program. The worker skill level has minor impact on the process.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines the orientation and socialization process using the umbrella term onboarding. This term encapsulates the entire process from hiring to having a fully assimilated worker. The effectiveness of the onboarding program is the primary influence for successful socialization of the new employee (Kortens, 1999). The onboarding program is the mechanism that assimilates an employee into an organization. Such assimilation requires an effective organizational structure supported by an effective communication process (Tolbert & Hall, 2009). For an effective onboarding program, the human resource professional must consider many influences and decide how to handle them. These influences are onboarding length, orientation facilities, paperwork requirements, and handbook and policy coverage, the facility tour, use of mentors, on-the-job training (OJT), and feedback systems. Each influence affects an organization's onboarding process differently.

The three human resource identified themes are the importance of the onboarding process, the importance of communication, and the need to involve managers and supervisors more deeply in the onboarding process. These themes were supported by the metaphors and membership categorizations used to describe the process. The human resource managers used metaphors to expound on the importance of these themes. Membership categorization analysis further reinforces the themes. The categories explained the differences and problems with onboarding members of the various categories. The majority of newcomers' descriptions fell in several categories and provided added insight into some of the difficulties encountered when designing onboarding programs. The consensus was that no single program could cover every individual, while at the same time, onboarding must cover many elements the same way to meet the multitude of regulatory requirements.

AdviserLinda J. Terry
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Communication; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3499921

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