Structure helps new employees adjust, study finds

Jul 18, 2011

With people often changing jobs and careers, organizations need to know how to help integrate and engage newcomers in order to retain them. A new University of Guelph study shows that new employees adjust better to their workplace with structured processes, such as orientation training and mentorship programs.

"Simply throwing newcomers into a job and letting them fend for themselves results in their being socialized by default rather than design," said Jamie Gruman, an professor in the Department of Business and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Gruman's study, conducted with Alan Saks of the University of Toronto, is the first to examine links between "on-boarding" tactics and newcomer engagement. It was published last week in the Journal of Managerial Psychology.

Personal engagement at work, described as bringing one's full self to the job (spending time thinking about the job, becoming engrossed in one's work), is considered key to a new employee's commitment and performance. That in turn affects a company's productivity and competitiveness, Gruman said.

The study, which involved 140 co-op on a work term, found that more structured on-boarding tactics made employees happier and more confident, and strengthened their belief that they fit both the job and organization. In turn, those highly desirable outcomes made employees feel engaged.

Organizations should use structured on-boarding to help build relationships, said Gruman. But he said formal processes should be only a starting point, as they lead only indirectly to . To be fully engaged, people must feel "safe" – supported by their superiors and colleagues – and feel that their work is meaningful.

He also suggests companies give opportunities to develop personal strengths such as self-confidence as well as the material resources they need to do their job well.

Gruman plans to study the effectiveness of specific on-boarding practices in supporting personal engagement and newcomer adjustment. "Companies benefit from boosting their employees' well-being. Helping new hires adjust at the start empowers them to achieve their potential later on," he said.

Explore further: Multidisciplinary study reveals big story of cultural migration (w/ Video)

Provided by University of Guelph

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How to avoid employee depression in a recession

Nov 29, 2010

As employees become increasingly anxious about job security and financial worries during an economic recession, satisfaction with the job they have, commitment to their company and engagement with their work are all affected ...

Engaged employees deliver improved business performance

Sep 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Research indicates that in the UK and US as many as 70% of employees may not be engaged at work. Therefore, it is not surprising that employee engagement has become something of a hot topic amongst business ...

Recommended for you

Congressional rift over environment influences public

6 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Decoding ethnic labels

Jul 30, 2014

If you are of Latin American descent, do you call yourself Chicano? Latino? Hispanic?

Local education politics 'far from dead'

Jul 29, 2014

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

Jul 29, 2014

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

User comments : 0