A Sample of Human Resources Memo: Human Resources On-boarding Proposal

TO:                  The Director of Human Resources

FROM:             The Manager of Training

DATE:             March 2, 2020

SUBJECT:       Proposal for an Onboarding Program for New Consultants

Director of Human Resources,

This memo will identify the problems encountered by the company in selecting and retaining the best talented consultants within the company.

The Problem

The problem with the organization is the extremely high turnover rates among consultants, which is caused by lack of support and proper training in their first few weeks on the job.  Thus, the employees end up spending much of their valuable time trying to understand the processes and procedures of the company, and to access different systems to perform their jobs effectively.  The new employee also has no access to the computer system for several hours, and she is left to figure out how to work through the company intranet.  As a result, consultants in the company often learn things by trial and error.  In the end, the managers are not creating the positive corporate culture required for success and therefore fail to meet the goals and objectives of the company.

To remedy the situation, there should be a formal on-boarding or orientation program that will involve training, supporting, and showing employees how things should be done.  An onboarding program also enhances access to information and understanding of company policies, procedures and systems so that the new employees can easily fit into the company and feel secure.  According to Snyder and Crane (2016, p.4), an onboarding program eases the transition of new employees who need to understand their duties and responsibilities, and to learn about the organization effectively. Nonetheless, organizational socialization allows employees to acquire the right behaviors, attitudes and knowledge that is needed to transition from being a non-member to an effective member of the organization (Maksymiuk, 2017, p.124).  Thus, the company should introduce an onboarding program that contains methods ways of training new employees; contents of the training; and ways of evaluating the effectiveness of the employee orientation and training program.

New Employee Onboarding Program Proposal

An onboarding program is an important form of training for new employees, defined as an organizational socialization program or orientation for employees to familiarize gain the right attitude, knowledge and experience needed to carry out specified roles in the new workplace (Kumle-Harris and Elvers, 2015, p.32).  An onboarding program for new consultants is necessary because it enhances role clarity, promotes positive career attitudes, increases job satisfaction and employee commitment, and reduces employee turnover in the consultancy department.  The purpose of this project is to create an onboarding program proposal for new consultants in a case study company where Jill works. A consultant works with clients to build relationships, and provides reports and recommendations for the company to meet customer needs. For the purpose of this paper, the company is referred to as Top Consultants Ltd. This paper proposes a program that involves a two-week training program based on clarity of roles, compliance to policies and rules, achievement of organizational culture, and building connections. The training should be offered in a comfortable and properly arranged training room, and it should involve a combination of lectures, presentation, hands-on training, discussion, and on-the-job training to ensure that the relevant consultancy skills and attitudes are imparted on the new consultants to enhance job satisfaction and employee commitment

One of the key objectives of the onboarding program is to enable the new advisors to understand the organization’s policies and procedures within the first week so that they can perform their job according to the needs and expectations of the company to achieve the firm’s mission (Rossett, 2012). The onboarding program for new consultants is intended to introduce employees into the company (Top Consultants Ltd) and enable them cope with the new environment successfully and on time.  The aim of the program is to enable new hires to feel welcome and prepared for the job (Bauer, 2010, p.32); hence they can perform their jobs effectively.

Secondly, the new orientation program targets to provide the required knowledge and understanding of the company’s systems and processes, as well as the specific systems of the consultancy department within the first week of hiring.  In other words, the new hires should know how to use existing systems and procedures of the company to perform the consultancy services effectively within one week.

The third objective of the onboarding training program should enable employees to fit into the corporate culture, prove themselves, and feel completely part of the organization within the first 90 days at work (Allen and Shanock, 2013, p.366). The program is also intended to provide technical knowledge and skills necessary to perform their tasks without supervision within the first month at work. However, such skills should be learned within a short period of formal training.

The official training program should run for two full weeks excluding weekends, followed by 90 days of monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the knowledge gained from training has been transferred to the job at the workplace.  The first week should include an introduction to the company to allow the new employees to familiarize with the processes, procedures, policies, and systems that will guide their involvement with Top Consultants Ltd (TCL).  During the second week, the employees will learn the technical skills and approaches to carry out their duties.

The location of the training program will also be essential because it affects the efficacy and effectiveness of the learning process.  Choosing a training room is part of the pre-training preparation steps that enhance effective learning.  According to Gregg Learning (2016), the features of a good training that supports effective learning include: comfort and accessibility; quietness, privacy, and lack of interruptions; and sufficiency of space.  The room should also have good ventilation to make the environment conducive for learning.  The room should also be equipped with the necessary facilities and equipment needed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills during training. Therefore, the company should provide a good training room where learners can feel comfortable and learn effectively.

The company’s facilities should be used for the training. TCL has a boardroom fitted with presentation devices, computers, chairs, and tables. The boardroom can be a good venue for the onboarding training program because it already has some of the necessary resources for orientation and learning.  However, the room needs to be redesigned to allow for effective siting arrangements that allow discussions.  The room should also be ventilated and re-engineered to enhance privacy and quietness (Gregg Learning, 2016).  Regardless, the HR department should work with the operations department to install the consultancy systems into the training room to allow hands-on experience during training. The elements of the proposed onboarding program is based on Bauer’s (2010) four C’s: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.  The training program should involve all the four C elements to enhance a comprehensive and proactive onboarding strategy.

At the lowest level of the onboarding strategy (compliance), the consultants should be taught about the basic organization’s policies, rules and regulations to ensure that the new employees comply with the required legal standards (Bauer, 2010, p.13).  The compliance level does not involve issues related directly to the job tasks or organizational culture. The compliance element is thus important for consultants because it clarifies the policies within the consultancy department and the company in general that the consultants should understand before carrying out their tasks.

Clarification involves introducing employees to their new jobs, duties and responsibilities, and desired performance outcome.  This aspect of the training will enable the trainees to understand what they are expected to achieve in the organization as individuals, how they are going to achieve the goals, and what they need to use to perform their tasks (Bauer, 2010, p.16).  At this level, the interaction and socialization of employees in teams is not addressed. This element does not entail the organizational culture, but it is important for the new consultants to understand their roles and responsibilities.

The third element of the training is culture.  It addresses the issues of formal and informal organizational norms.  At this stage, the company’s managers should provide employees with a sense of belonging in the company by supporting and encouraging them to identify with the organization’s values and principles (Rossett, 2012).  The company’s consultancy department should specifically align its policies and procedures with the organization’s values to enable the consultants to reflect the organization’s culture in whatever they do. Generally, developing cultural values may help the consultants to develop good connections, networks and relationships with other employees across various departments, leading to teamwork, motivation, job satisfaction, and achievement of organizational objectives.

Lastly, the aspect of connection refers to the process of developing interpersonal relationships and networks; and the new consultants must be part of such networks and relationships (Bauer, 2010, p.18). The connection creates strong bonds that lead to teamwork and effective ways of handling conflicts at the workplace. New consultants need to be trained on team dynamics and customer relationships to enhance strong teams and resourceful connections in the workplace.

To achieve the onboarding objectives, the onboarding program should cover the following topics: welcoming message, company procedures and policies, operating consultancy systems and resources, roles and responsibilities, principles and values, teamwork, interaction, and relationship building.  A systematic transition from being a candidate to being a member of the organization should be formalized through a welcoming message from the HR manager.

The consultants should also be introduced to overall policies and procedures of the organization as well as how to relate with others. In this case, the trainees will be taught how to report problems and the procedures to perform tasks; and how to solve conflicts to promote effective connections at the workplace.  The onboarding program should also include contents related to consultancy duties and responsibilities. However, the training should go beyond the policies, tasks, and systems; and it should include aspects of culture and values.

The onboarding program may include values and principles, organizational objectives, mission, and vision of the organization. In this case, the training should focus on how consultants will use each process to achieve the overall values and culture of the firm. Therefore, organizational culture, principles, and values should be learned together with other soft and technical skills to achieve the needs of the training.

There are several approaches that new employees may use to learn new skills, knowledge, attitudes and experience to achieve the goals of the training.  The Top Consultants Ltd should use a combination of both formal and informal training methods such as roundtable discussions, meetings with insiders, hands-on training, mentoring and coaching, presentations, and lectures (Training Today, 2016). These training approaches may also be accompanied by training materials such as bulletins, online courses, recorded videos and audios, and brochures.

Various training materials can be used by the trainees to learn individually and reinforce the knowledge and attitudes gained in the official training sessions.  Through the formal onboarding program, all new employees should be scheduled to receive training on the same day regardless of the number.  Even a single employee should report to the boardroom for the training program. Lectures, presentations, and hands-on methods must be formally structured to facilitate organizational-identity socialization as well as personal-identity socialization (Cable et al, 2013, p.25).

Day 1: Welcoming Message

On the first day of training, the manager of the consultancy department welcomes trainees in the boardroom and discusses TCL’s core values, principles, mission, and vision.  The leader should also inform employees that they made the right choice by applying for a job in the company, and explain to them the importance of focusing on the core values and vision of the organization in the daily task performances.

An experienced consultant from the company and an external guest speaker should also be invited on the first day to explain the importance of building relationships and working together within the consultancy department and with other departments to promote the company’s vision.  The trainers must have relevant expertise in consultancy and customer relationships, as well as core competences such communication, coaching, and change management, and knowledge management skills (Toister, 2016, p.52). Experienced, knowledgeable and skilled trainers can use appropriate training techniques to promote the required attitudes and skills among new consultants.

Through roundtable group discussions, the new consultants should reflect on what they know about the company, their prior knowledge and training, and how they can use the experiences to promote the company’s mission and vision.  Apart from sharing ideas and experiences, group discussions also help the trainees to interact and build teamwork from the beginning, leading to positive attitudes, communication skills, and connections among the new and existing employees (Tartell, 2014, p.18).  The manager also uses presentations to clarify the issues being discussed and to illustrate how to link departmental goals with the business strategy to achieve organizational objectives.

Day 2 & 3: Organizational Policies and Procedures

The person responsible for facilitating learning on the second day should be a HR representative who has been chosen by the HR manager to facilitate training.  The trainer uses presentation, lectures and discussion methods to facilitate learning. Through the presentation, the HR representative uses PowerPoint slides to present a summary of key policies, rules and regulations of the organization.

The lesson is also linked with the goals, values, mission, objectives, and vision of the organization.  Thus, the new employees are able to understand the importance of compliance and adherence to the rules in achieving the organizational objectives (Cable et al, 2013, p.28).  The consultancy manager also explains how consultants should comply with the company’s policy, and how the consultancy department can help the company to achieve its legal purpose.

Day 4 and 5: Systems, Resources and Facilities

In the last two days of Week 1 of the training, the HR representative works with the departmental manager and an internal IT expert to explain to employees how the systems and processes of the organization work.  At this stage, the organization uses hands-on training method to enhance effective learning about the key processes and systems; and how resources are utilized in the workplace to perform tasks (Toister, 2016, p.35).  For example, the consultancy manager explains the computer systems and telephones that may be used to communicate with colleagues and customers; and the systems that may be used to perform tasks.

The IT manager then demonstrates how each system works, not only for the consultancy services, but also how the department’s structure is integrated with the systems of other departments and the overall organization.  The employees are also informed about the security and access details such as passwords, usernames, and other log-in information for the authorized department’s computers.

The hands-on approach is used to illustrate the work structure and functions of the entire system and its components. The approach technique allows learners to apply what they learn in practical job performance (Allen and Naughton, 2011). For instance, each consultant may be required to log in to the system using personal identification numbers and shown how to access information on the intranet.

Day 6 and 7: Duties and Responsibilities

On the seventh sixth and seventh day of the onboarding program, the consultant manager explains the duties and responsibilities of each employee.  This stage involves clarification of roles, and it involves group discussions, simulations, and role plays.  According to Training Today (2016), simulation and role plays involves learners taking part in simulated activities.

This training approach is an interactive approach that promotes hands-on learning experience without the risk of carrying out actual tasks.  The approach is supported by the behavior modelling theory which suggests that learners acquire knowledge by imitating the desired behaviors (David, 2017).  In this case, the trainer demonstrates how a task is performed, and the trainee models his or her behavior.

The trainer also uses presentation to illustrate how the employees should perform their duties and responsibilities. PowerPoint presentation often provides good visuals to promote effective learning. The HR representative also provides information about the rights and responsibilities of employees, including the employee number, incentives, training opportunities, bonuses, and group activities.

Day 8-10: Technical Skills Training

In the final three days of training, the employees are trained by two expert instructors; one from outside, and the other one being a manager within the consultancy department of TCL.  The hands-on method is used for the first two days to demonstrate how employees should perform their tasks.  At this stage, the new consultants are allowed to manipulate data, write reports, and communicate through role plays.  This process allows employees to learn how to use the system and resources to perform actual job tasks (Armstrong and Mitchell, 2013, p.20).

On the last day, the employees are taken to their respective work stations and instructed to perform actual job tasks based on what they learned from the onboarding program. Under the supervision of their manager, the new consultants receive on-the-job training to apply the knowledge they have acquired in team activities, individual tasks, and interactions.

After the official 10 days of onboarding training, the employees are monitored and supported to ensure that the knowledge gained in training is applied effectively in the workplace (Toister, 2016, p.65).  The trained employees are given team activities in which they can apply the skills and attitudes gained in training to interact with others, establish connections and fit into the organizational culture successfully (Cable et al, 2013, p.23). The monitoring helps the constancy manager of the organization to establish whether the goals of training have been achieved, and make appropriate changes and follow-up training where necessary.

According to Grossman and Salas (2011, p.118), knowledge and experience gained from training can be transferred effectively to the workplace through goal setting, motivation, and managerial support.  The trainees should set goals individually and in groups in line with the onboarding objectives and overall organizational vision to guide their job performance during their first three months in the company.  The manager is also required to support the new employees and motivate them throughout this period to ensure that they are applying what they learned in the training according to the company policies and procedures (Toister, 2016, p.76).

Motivation can be carried out during training to encourage the new consultants to learn the processes, systems, policies, and values of the organization.  According to the social learning theory, rewards can be used as reinforcement to encourage good behavior; and punishment is used to discourage undesired behavior (Buckler, 2015, p.34; Holt, 2009, p.68).  The manager should congratulate the learners when they develop a good behavior and discourage undesirable behavior by correcting a negative conduct.

On-the-job training allows the new employees to work independently and apply theory to practical activities. According to the Knowle’s theory, self-directed learning enables employees to make decisions independently and demonstrate their abilities at work (Knowles et al, 2015, p.89).   Self-directed learning also allows the new employees to demonstrate their creativity and innovation, and feel a sense of freedom and confidence.

Within the 90 days after formal training, official and informal communications should be maintained between the manager and the new employees to gain feedback and monitor progress. Evaluation allows the organization to determine whether the knowledge and attitudes gained from training have been transferred effectively to the specific task performance (Hannum, 2004, p.16).  In this regard, the HR manager communicates with the consultancy manager to identify the level of performance and job satisfaction of the new employees, and determine whether they have been successfully incorporated into the organization’s culture.

The performance can be measured by the number of mistakes and errors in specific tasks, the number of times the employee has not followed the company rules and procedures, and the number of positive feedback from employees. Return on investment (ROI) is also used to estimate the returns on every hire of the company (Hannum, 2004, p.18). The measurement technique data collected in various ways by the HR department.

The employees’ feedback should also be collected every day through emails, meetings, and informal face-to-face communications.  The information is then used to measure the level of job satisfaction, and identify areas that need correction.  The employee’s contributions and participations in formal and informal teams are also recorded on daily basis to establish whether the new consultant meets the desired expectations.  This evaluation process should be carried out on a daily basis for the first ninety days; and progress is noted as corrective measures is done, including remedial training, until the employee has fully reflected the company’s values and principles.

Estimated Training Costs

Item Quantity Cost ($)
Internal Trainers 3 10,778
External Instructors 2 7,185
Training Materials 5 2,500
Miscellaneous costs 1,000
Total   21,463


The costs of each item is based on estimations derived from industry costs.  For example, the cost of an external trainer was based on the annual amount of management consultant trainers, which is estimated to be approximately $86,222 per year (PayScale, 2018).  The figure is divided into weekly salaries and multiplied by the number of trainers.  The material costs include cost for 2 computers to be shared, a projector, and printed learning materials based on market value estimations. Miscellaneous costs include costs of daily activities such as calls, water, food, and any other cost incurred during training.

Using the above estimations and approximate salaries of employees who leave the company, the turnover costs and onboarding training costs were calculated using the Drake International (2018) website.  The results are as shown in Appendix 2.  An estimated total cost of turnover per employee was $28,653, leading to a 20% of improvement to the company’s bottom line by reducing the turnover costs by $11,461 as shown in appendix 2 (Drake International, 2018).

Onboarding and orientation training reduces the overall costs associated with the company’s turnover significantly.  Therefore, the company requires a formal onboarding program to enhance clarify policies, roles, procedures, rules, systems and process to new employees.  The training should take 2 weeks followed a 90-day evaluation and follow-up to ensure the new employees have transferred the right attitudes, knowledge and skills from the training to the workplace.  A combination of discussions, hands-on training, lectures and presentation should be used alongside training materials in a conducive environment to enhance effective learning outcomes.  Consequently, employee commitment and job satisfaction will increase, leading to improved organizational culture and reduced employee turnover.


The Manager of Training


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