Avoiding the Restart Button: Examining the Critical Factors of the Onboarding Process that Encourage Team Cohesion
Connell, Gregory James
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The process of onboarding new employees critically impacts a firm’s overall success. Previous studies have looked at the relationship between onboarding and outcomes such as employee satisfaction, turnover intention, and performance. One area understudied is the correlation between onboarding processes and team cohesion. The topic is relevant to the business sector because there is an increase in firms that are organizing employees into teams. Using a sample population of resident assistants and reserve officers’ training corps cadets from six different teams, this quantitative study implemented a survey to explore if there was a positive correlation between new team member onboarding experiences and team cohesion. Discovering what organizational efforts support team cohesion allows organizations to design and modify their onboarding processes to encourage team cohesion. Bauer and Erdogan’s (2011) proposed onboarding model is the theoretical model to guide the research. Their model accounted for specific employee characteristics and behaviors but there is also a section of the model that relied on the firm’s efforts in the onboarding process called organizational efforts. The organizational effort section of the model was the focus of this study because it is the section of the model organizations have the most influence over. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between organizational efforts in the onboarding process and team cohesion. It seeks to distinguish what steps organizations can take during the onboarding process to increase the chances that a team will be more cohesive. First, the results provided evidence that there is a medium, positive correlation between new team member onboarding experiences and team cohesion. A second finding from the study was that an employee’s relationship with his/her peers explained the most variance in team cohesion. Further, the researcher found this relationship was partially mediated by self-efficacy. The implications of this study are reviewed and suggestions for future research are recommended.