Who should own the process of new employee onboarding within an organization?
a) The Manager
b) Human Resources / Training
c) No one
In our firm’s opinion, there really is only one right answer and that’s b) Human Resources / Training. The answers we get most often when working with clients is either a) The Manager; or d) Everyone; meaning a combination of people. In our opinion, both of these are wrong, though understandable.
Many Human Resources professionals we work with complain that managers don’t take enough ownership. We agree. Too many managers take a hands-off approach when it comes to employee development. And while it’s a very real problem, in the case of onboarding, you don’t want the manager to own the process. Notice I said “the process.” Absolutely managers play a critical role in onboarding a new employee, as do many people. But it should be HR/T&D who manages the process itself.
That doesn’t mean they are solely responsible for onboarding a new employee, nor does it mean they control all the content, but it does mean they should create with input from others and manage the process (there are many ways to create an effective onboarding program).
But if others are responsible and have input, why shouldn’t a combination of people own it? Because too many owners means no one is accountable. In our experience, the companies with the most successful onboarding programs have one person or department who is accountable. That means the owner of the onboarding process:
– Is accountable for the process and the results/ROI.
– Directs others.
– Centrally maintains/updates the documents
So while (many) others will be heavily involved, contribute greatly and be responsible for parts of new employee’s onboarding, there should only be one central owner of the process.