It was almost the first day of school, and my son had no belt. 

This may seem like an insignificant detail, but when your 7-year-old is about to start at a brand new school in a brand new city with brand new uniforms, a belt is incredibly important.

To be honest, it had completely slipped my mind. What I forgot to take into consideration was that this is his first day of school this year at this school, and that each first day is different and deserves the same amount of time and attention as all the other ones.

I made the same mistake many organizations make when it comes to preparing for a new employee’s “first day.” Onboarding is one of those processes that everyone owns, yet nobody owns, and as a result, it tends to fall between the cracks. It’s easy to take it for granted, too. After all, employees still get hired, paperwork is still completed, and employees start their jobs - and if there are some hiccups along the way, what’s the harm? 

Turns out, good onboarding boosts longer-term employee retention, increases employee commitment, and reduces turnover in the first 45 days. Despite knowing all of this, many organizations neglect the onboarding process, focusing more on paperwork and processes than helping the employee find their place within their team. Most organizations only focus on the first week of work, even though it takes, on average, eight months for a new employee to reach full productivity.

Even then, many organizations struggle with getting the paperwork right - pre-boarding activities are becoming more and more popular (new employees have up to 54 activities to complete), yet due to system integration struggles, too many employees show up on Day One without even having an active system username and password.

We know it’s important, so why are so many of us doing it so poorly? Short answer - inattention and ownership.

Because there typically isn’t a single owner of the pre-boarding/onboarding process, you end up with a Frankenstein of a workflow - multiple systems, multiple stakeholders, and multiple pain points. Without overseeing the process from end-to-end, organizations lose sight of what it’s like to be onboarded, with different stakeholders focusing only on sections that matter to them. It’s easy to lose sight of the overall effect the process is having on new employees. Even at IA, despite our best intentions, we find ourselves relying on our new joiners’ experience and self-motivation to figure things out.

So moving forward, let’s all commit to being more intentional about that “first day” (and beyond) approach. Let’s remember that while most employees have had first days before, they haven’t had THIS first day. Think about the things that need to be done to help a new employee prepare for their new position, and to succeed once they’re there. 

Thankfully, despite my own lack of planning, my son ended up with a belt and had a great first day of school. There’s hope for all of us.

With warm regards,

— Mark
Founder/Managing Principal/Belt Procurer, IA

Voice of HR

Work Like an Olympian

While watching the Summer Olympics, Managing Principal Kimberly Carroll was struck by the opportunity for workers to emulate the mindset of an Olympian.

Where You Can Find Us

IA is grateful to have been invited to participate in a variety of events in the coming months. Here is a quick overview of  where you can find us:

  • September 14, 2021: HR Executive Magazine will host the webinar The Great Resignation: Challenge or Opportunity?, presented by Mark Stelzner and Mary Faulkner. Click here to learn more and register!

  • September 25, 2021: Join Mary Faulkner at ERE Digital, where she will be moderating the panel Money Talks, But Will It Be Enough?: Which Incentives Work Best to Lure Job-Seekers?

  • Update: IA had intended to attend and present at the 2021 HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas in September. After monitoring the situation, we have decided to withdraw from the conference this year. It was a difficult decision given this is one of the most important events in our industry, but we are committed to keeping our team safe. We hope to see you in-person at another conference soon!

On Our Radar

Yes...we spend a lot of time on the internet. But the upside to that is we bring you interesting articles.  Here are a few from the past month:

  • With companies struggling to fill critical positions, the internal talent pool should not be neglected. Not only could it help ease some recruiting pressure, but it also helps with retention, as reported by the  Harvard Business Review.

  • As organizations (still) grapple with the right approach on how to bring employees back to the office, Facebook has chosen a somewhat interesting approach. Employees of the company can work remotely, but contractors have to be onsite. As you can imagine, there has been some pushback. 

  • And rounding out the group this month is the story about the head of HR who deleted thousands of applications after she had been terminated. There is so much to learn from here - from the questionable background check adjudication process, to the fact she was fired over the phone, to the fact that no one thought to turn off computer access. Who says HR isn’t fun?

About IA

As trusted advisors to senior leaders, IA supports strategic initiatives that transform the way organizations work.

Our seasoned team of professionals apply a revolutionary eye, deep domain experience, and flexible tools to accelerate the achievement of even the most ambitious goals. With a cross-functional, strategic perspective, we thrive on big, messy problems. Whether large or small, public or private, domestic or international, it’s our job to support leaders and their teams in achieving outcomes that are truly unique to their culture and objectives.

Every organization has a catalyst for change – learn more at
Copyright © 2021 IA, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp