Optimizing onboarding: strategies for integrating new engineers

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master's Thesis
Learning and leadership (MPLOL), MSc
Elvira, Arnstrand
We can all recognize the situation of being new at a job, feeling nervous and excited at the same time. The onboarding process of a new hire can either be well-managed and a quick way to achieve employee contribution, or an inefficient and costly entry. Many engineers enter organizations without the experience to locate their technical knowledge. This often results in anxiety and uncertainty regarding their roles, tasks, and carer prospects. Onboarding has shown to be a critical factor for organizational commitment, long-term performance, job satisfaction, and intentions to remain. Therefore, this case study aims to identify different key factors for a successful onboarding process for new engineers. The research was set out to answer how their current onboarding process was organized, any issues that arose, and possible actions that could be implemented to improve their onboarding and make it more customized after each department and role. The study was conducted by qualitative semi-structured interviews with managers and new engineers in three technology departments in a refinery based in Swe- den. By comparing a theoretical framework of organizational socialization with the manager’s and the employees’ ideas, several recommendations were presented. The results showed that the department that had the biggest need of improvement also had the most individual approach, where a mix of institutional and individual tactics seemed to be the most effective way to onboard new engineers. The two information types and adjustment indicators that seemed to be the most important during this study were referent information (role clarity) and relational information (social acceptance). Social aspects and relationship-building were considered to be extra important where the most satisfying learning experience came from forming a mentoring relationship. In addition to this, a customized and role-specific education plan for onboarding was designed to clarify what knowledge is required for different facilities at the refinery. This was also showed to increase the use of institutional tactics and strengthen the role clarity.
Onboarding, Organizational Socialization, Organizational Entry, Newcomer Adjustment, Socialization Tactics, Engineering Integration
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