Win-Win: Engaging Peers in the Employee Onboarding Process

The average time an employee gets up to speed in their role is about 6-12 months.

Christine Hardy Kaus
June 23, 2015

The average time an employee gets up to speed in their role, and feels both comfortable and effective, is about 6-12 months. This learning curve can vary, depending both on level of seniority of the role, complexity of the company, and if the employee is a new hire or transferring from within.

Whether formal or informal, new employees need onboarding programs in order acclimate to the company’s culture, learn how the company operates, and know who to go to for what. These are topics typically learned on the fly. Surprisingly, not many onboarding programs provide new employees with this lens. Having a manager who proactively connects their new hire to key people, as well as effectively utilizes buddy and/or mentoring programs geared towards new hires, helps build out their internal network. And being able to create opportunities for new employees to meet with peers outside of their immediate hiring group allows them to learn about the company at a much quicker and more intimate level, while also improving engagement for the incumbent employees participating in these programs.

In fact peer interaction accounts for 36% of the top drivers for engagement, according to research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board. Employees who are effective in peer interaction exceed revenue goals by 9% and improve engagement capital by 66%. Given this data, one might conclude that it benefits employers to provide avenues for new hires to build their internal peer network.

Surprisingly, companies are only focusing 7% of their engagement efforts on initiatives that seek to improve peer interaction. Developing a network whereby peers can discuss day-to-day responsibilities, seek feedback, and gain insight not only helps new hires get up to speed in their role more quickly, it also helps engage employees through the interactions and knowledge-sharing made through networking, which in the end can have a positive impact on business results.