It is not difficult to hire new employees who can accomplish the work they were assigned to do. However, being successful in what you do demands more than doing what you were asked to do. Success comes from an understanding of the real operations of the organization. Assimilation is therefore an element in the human capital cycle that is critical for job success. It ensures that new employees are integrated into the organization. Assimilation helps employees to understand their roles, adapt to the working environment, and learn how to be productive and successful. When implemented well, assimilation consists of formal orientation and training, as well as informal information sharing and peer interactions. Together, these assimilation practices offer new employees with cultural insights, communication pathways, and operational protocols that reduce the stress and confusion created by a new working-environment. This essay examines how a new employee can be assimilated into an organization’s culture.
Assimilating to the Organization Culture
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Organizations have different cultures. According to Griffin & Moorhead (2011), organizational culture refers to those underlying values, beliefs and principles that serve as a basis for the organization’s management system, and the set of management practices and behaviors that both typify and strengthen those principles. Organizational culture determines the content of what a new hire needs to understand in order to belong to that company. New employees should publicly live and articulate the values of the organization (Burkholder, Edwards & Sartain, 2003). These values are usually unveiled during the interviewing process, and those applying for the job must determine if they will live up to those values and promote them. New employees require organizational documentation, which entails history, stories, and internal customs that make the company. One of the ways of ensuring new employees quickly fit into the organization’s culture is by offering assimilation coaching. This will help them because sometimes employees may have the professional qualifications for the job, but lack the organizational knowledge for the new company (Lawson, 2002).
In many organizations, assimilation is taken for granted. The process is usually administered by individual departments and managers who perform it without any standard practices. Effective assimilation of employees takes premeditated intervention on the part of the hiring organization (Cox, 1994). A streamlined and successful assimilation process designed to most effectively integrate new employees consists of a number of processes. One of them is an orientation that clearly defines the operating culture, the business environment, and the organizational policies. Another element of the assimilation process is a clear explanation of the path to success so that every employee understands expectations and how to grow within the organization (Burkholder, Edwards & Sartain, 2003).
The assimilation process can also include executive-level sponsorship whereby high-level managers display visibility and interest in new employee participation, productivity, and success. Peer-level coaching is also instrumental as it helps ease employees into their new roles and guide them as they start cooperating with new colleagues. Role clarification is also important in order for the new employees to understand how they fit within the greater organization. Managers and peers should also conduct multiple checkups to ascertain that new employees are getting a decent start. The assimilation process should also entail job-specific training to ensure that the job is done correctly, and skill gaps are managed quickly (Lawson, 2002).
In addition, timely and constructive performance feedback and coaching to aid employees continuously improve their performance and increase productivity. The assimilation process helps new employees become more productive faster because they establish a comfort zone within the working environment (Burkholder, Edwards & Sartain, 2003). The more quickly employees are comfortable in their work environments and are able to function, the more likely they are able to find contentment in their jobs. Job satisfaction will increase retention and give the organization an opportunity to build employee loyalty and develop more skilled personnel within its own talent pool (Cox, 1994).
Learning the Organization’s Rituals
When employees are being assimilated to the culture of an organization, they are taught concerning the company’s dos and don’ts. For instance, the culture of the company may dictate that employees are supposed to hold a weekly early morning or late evening meeting in order to review the company progress. The new employee may or may not be told this during the interviewing process. However, through peer conversation and interactions, the new employee learns such rituals and they become part of the weekly procedures (Lawson, 2002). Many company’s rituals are covered in the new employee orientation program. The orientation program helps the new worker to get to know the history and context of the organization, compensation and benefits, as well as the company’s policies and procedures. The policies inform the employee concerning such elements as work hours, attendance and tardiness, rest and meal breaks, and emergencies. This implies that a new employee orientation program is crucial and should be dealt with like any other effective training program (Burkholder, Edwards & Sartain, 2003).
Addressing Workforce Diversity Attitudes and Communication Skills in New Employees
New employees require assimilation because they may come from a different cultural background or working experience. Employees’ conceptions of work, expectations of rewards from the organization, and practices in relating to others are influenced by the diversity (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011). New employees may harbor some prejudices and stereotypes about the new organization. Although assimilation is crucial, new employees may tend to view it as a way of reinforcing the standards of the dominant groups. The dominant group makes decisions based on their values and beliefs, while the minority group, in which the new employee may be a member, has little say in decision-making (Cox, 1994). The new employee may quickly get the idea that to succeed in the organization; one should be like the dominant group in terms of its values and beliefs. Since success depends on assimilation, employee differences are thwarted (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011).
Dominant groups are usually self-perpetuating. Communication tends to be limited to people in the dominant group; thus, those who are not in the dominant group may miss out on the informal communication opportunities in which office politics, company policy, and other issues are often discussed in detail. This derails the process of assimilating the new employee, and failure to pay attention to diversity can be detrimental to the organization (Cox, 1994). It can block minority participation in communication and decision-making result to tensions among employees, reduced productivity, increase absenteeism, employee turnover and harassment suits, and lower motivation among the employees (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011). Therefore, an organization should value diversity. New employees should have the right attitudes towards diversity and understand that the organization truly values them. This will make them more creative, motivated and productive. It will also lead to reduced interpersonal conflicts because workers understand each other, have a greater sense of teamwork and are deeply committed to the organization and its goals (Burkholder, Edwards & Sartain, 2003).
When addressing the issue of assimilating new employees and dealing with diversity, it is also vital to inculcate professional communication skills among the new employees. New employees should be told to consult whenever they have any problem, especially if the problem entails a matter that was not included in the orientation program (Lawson, 2002). Further, they should be taught the appropriate channels of communicating with their peers, supervisors, and senior management. Professional communication entails informal and formal communication; thus, new employees should learn the appropriate form of communication befitting a situation in order to avoid being unnecessarily formal, or vice versa. Nevertheless, the communication will be guided by the organization’s culture (Cox, 1994).
It is clear that the process of assimilating new employee is important. It will determine how fast the employee will fit into the organization’s culture. This will in turn determine his or her satisfaction on the job and lower cases of absenteeism, attrition, and turnover. New employee assimilation programs should entail orientation programs that teach the employees the company rituals, and how to harbor positive attitudes concerning diversity. Communication skills should also be taught as effective communication also speeds up the assimilation process.
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