Employee Onboarding - Assigning Work

Onboarding is a comprehensive program and is useful for both small and big organizations alike. However, methods for carrying out onboarding program usually vary from organization to organization depending upon their size, nature of work etc.

Onboarding is not a one-day or one-time program. It is a process which continues for a considerable period of time until the new hires get fully acclimatized with the new work culture, people and work procedures. The precursors to onboarding are pre-boarding and orientation.

Pre-boarding activities prepare for the arrival of the new hire. New Hire Orientation welcomes new hires and inducts them into the company. Then, onboarding engages new hires in productive work activities and helps assimilate them into their work group.

The way you assign work to employees is important to the onboarding process. Sometimes it is possible to involve employees in the projects they are assigned. New employees, however, will have less experience and will need more guidance. Using the most effective method will make the task of assigning work easier for you and your new hires.

Assigning work during employee onboarding are broadly divided into three categories −

  • The Dictatorial Approach
  • The Apple Picking Approach
  • The Collaborative Approach

The Dictatorial Approach

Under this approach, the boss or the manager acts like a dictator. He plays a pivotal role in deciding about what, where, when, why, how things are done, and who will do them. Employees failing to following directions are met with disciplinary actions or asked to give explanation. This may result in the premature retirement of the employees.

  • The dictatorial leader traits are − all decision-making power is theirs, unrealistic in demands, uses excessive discipline and punishment, does not allow others to question decisions or authority

  • A more passive style of this is − all decision-making power is theirs, unrealistic demands clouded in humor, subtle forms of discipline and punishment, allows questions about decisions (on the surface) but ignores them, pretends to be your friend only to get their way

The Apple Picking Approach

The apple-picking approach gives the team members the required freedom to choose their assignments. Here, the team member chooses a project from a list of tasks that need to be completed.

This approach works well when the team size is small and there are only a few tasks to be assigned. For this approach to be effective, the tasks need to be equal in value and workload.

The Collaborative Approach

In the collaborative approach, the whole team is given a list of tasks and all the team members are asked to set deadlines and priorities for each task. A team meeting is held to decide who will be assigned which task.

This approach is the most effective way of assigning work as the team members decide how the work is distributed. Team members have the opportunity to choose a task that is more meaningful to them. However, this approach is not suitable for urgent assignments.