Most Sundays when I sit down to write an article about the importance of Onboarding, the words flow effortlessly because there is so much I have to share about the topic.  Tonight, as I watch news of the Benghazi cover up and unprecedented storm about to hit our east coast, not to mention the upcoming election currently in a dead heat among polar opposite visions for America, it’s just hard to focus on Onboarding.

Having said that, here in Colorado, where we won’t feel the wind or rain, and where every vote counts, business must go on in spite of the many uncertainties.  In times of change and uncertainty it is not unusual for people to just stop, hunker down and wait it out.

There is always something to wait for.  Wait until the weather is good.  Wait until the president is elected.  Wait until your email box is empty.  Wait until you land that new customer.  Wait until your new hire is productive.

No matter what the topic is, there are always three phases of every event.

  1. Activity to prepare for event
  2. Event itself
  3. Activity based on the outcome of the event

Fortunately, Hurricane Sandy came with plenty of advance notice.  People evacuated, New York City shut down the subway, folks were filling sandbags; there was plenty of activity to prepare for the event.  Once the hurricane hits all there is to do is hunker down and wait it out.  When it’s over you assess the damage and create a game plan to rebuild stronger.

Politics is following the same process.  There is certainly a lot of campaigning before the election and it ramps up the closer we get to Election Day.  On November 6, we will finally have the anticipated election, at which point we will all hunker down in front of our TVs, count electoral votes and wait.  The next day is certain to be a flurry of activity based on the outcome.

Okay, here comes the tie in . . . weather . . . political climate . . . Onboarding.  (You just knew it was coming, didn’t you?)

When a company hires new people there is plenty of activity to prepare to make the hiring decision.  “The event,” in this case, is the acceptance of the offer.  Now, here comes the big problem, many companies do not finish the process. There is no activity based on the outcome of the event.  Or, there is activity after the new hire starts, but it is not planned activity, it is chaotic and consequently less effective. Imagine the scene if there were no plan in place to deal with the aftermath of the hurricane.  Imagine if the country elected a new president and they had no idea of what to do next.  Advance planning of the post event activity is crucial to a successful outcome.

Days before Hurricane Sandy hit land, emergency crews were crafting plans.  Sixteen thousand men and women in our national guard were on alert.  People had time to evacuate.  The areas in danger all had plans to protect people and property during the storm.

Republicans and Democrats already have plans in place for action immediately following the election results.  Activity on November 7 is planned, win or lose.

The key to a successful outcome is the planning that happened far in advance of the event and the action taken after the event.  Onboarding is no different.  Those who plan in advance how they will handle the outcome are calmer during the storm.

If you don’t know what you will do to help the new hire acclimate to their new role, environment, social support, it will take longer to clean up the messes they create in their confusion.

It takes more than one person and more than one sandbag to stop the destruction from a storm.  It will take more than one person and more than one week’s worth of activities to stop the destruction from a new hire gone wrong.

Merit Gest is President and Founder of Merit-Based Development, a Denver based firm specializing in Onboarding top talent.  For information about Merit’s virtual course designed to guide executives through the process of creating an effective Onboarding program, call or email Merit at 720-980-1286 or


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