Thursday, August 14, 2014

Organization's role in newcomer stress reduction

In the last byte, we looked at what a newcomer could do ro reduce the stress and make the establishment phase as smooth as possible. It today's byte, we look at what role the organization could play in the scenario.

Careful recruitment and selection is definitely the first step that the organizations can take to ensure that new recruits are in tune with the organization's culture and the expectations are rightly set.

The early job assignments that are given to new recruits could be those that t new comers can experience success in, this helps improve the self-efficacy and adjust to the new job more effectively.  Research has also found that new comers who face early job challenges successfully tend to be higher higher performers.
Feedback and encouragement during this phase form a crucial ingredient of the smooth relationship. The immediate circle of the new recruit, i.e the immediate supervisor, peers, other newcomers, support staff are important sources of support during this encounter.
During the change and acquisition phase, rewards play a major role. Organizations should tie the newcomer's rewards as explicitly possible to to performance. Feedback as mentioned earlier is crucial, and it is advisable that the new comers should received daily, consistent feedback. This also communicates that the organization is concerned about their progress and wants to help them learn the ropes along the way.

Individual actions to reduce stress when joining a new organization

In the last byte, we looked at the sources of stress during the socialization process during the establishment phase. In today's byte, we begin our discussion on easing the transition for a newcomer from being an outsider to an insider to the organization.

Making a transition from being an outsider to an insider in an organization smooth involves both the individual and the organization to take up certain set of actions. We begin with the individual actions in this byte and move to the organization in the next. 

A newcomer could ask for the negative side of  the job if they are to get a more realistic perspective of the same - specifically the stressful aspects involved. Other employees too could be a good source of such information. It is often the case that newcomers underestimate the stressfulness of job demands and don't adjust well. Additionally, providing those around with a honest and accurate information about ones own weakness is also useful from the newcomer's perspective.

During the encounter phase, newcomers must prepare for reality shock - realizing that slight depression is natural when adjusting to a new job can help reduce the distress felt there in. This could also help the newcomers to plan ways to cope with job stress ahead of time. 

Newcomers should focus on seeking feedback and improving their job performance during this phase. 

We next look at what organizations can do to reduce the stress felt by newcomers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Socialization Stress in Establishment Process

In the last byte, we discussed about psychological contracts. In today's byte we discuss about the stress that comes along with the initial socialization during the establishment phase. We also leverage on the discussion on socialization we had earlier - link here.

During the anticipatory socialization phase, the new comer to the organization is seeking information from various sources about the job and organization - ambiguity is one of the major sources of stress during this phase; this could be resolved by providing access to accurate information. It is during this phase that the psychological contract mentioned earlier is formed (so both the parties involved should approach it with good intentions of living up to their end of the agreement).
The anticipatory phase creates expectations in the mind of the newcomer, and during the encounter phase these expectations are put to a reality check.  The demands of the job in terms of role, task, interpersonal relationships and physical settings become apparent. It is possible that when the expectations aren't validated to be true - the newcomer experiences a shock.
An approach that a few organizations take in this scenario is to allow the new comer to adapt - say two, three months for them to reach certain level of independence. If the adaptation to the settings hasn't been possible for the newcomer they would begin receiving negative feedback from their coworkers.
In the last two phases of the socialization process, the newcomer begins to master the job demands and gains control over the job.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Psychological Contracts during the establishment phase

In the last byte, we began our discussion on establishment stage of career-stage model. In today's byte, we look at the concept of psychological contracts in a bit more detail.

A psychological contract refers to the implicit agreement between and individual and an organization that specifies what each is expected to give and received in the relationship. 

Expectations of receiving salary, status, advancement opportunities, challenging work etc that meet an individual's need is what he/she expects. Organizations on the other hand, expect to receive time, energy, talent and loyalty from the individuals they employ to meet their needs.

Psychological contracts form and exist between individuals - during the early stages, newcomers form attachment relationships with many people in the organization. Each person they meet is a potential source of a psychological contract.

The psychological support that a newcomer looks for could be any of the following types.
  1. Protection from stressors
  2. Informational
  3. Evaluative
  4. Modeling
  5. Emotional

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Establishment Stage of Career Stage Model

In the last byte, we looked at the description of the various stages in the career stage model. In today's byte, we begin understanding the Establishment Stage in greater detail.
As mentioned earlier, during the establishment stage, an individual begins his/her career as a newcomer to the organization (he/she joins). The period involves a great dependence on others as the individual begins learning about the job and organization from those around him/her. Most often this face occurs between the age group of 18 years to 25 years.
During this period, there is also another transition that happens in the individual's life - one finds himself/herself moving away from being dependent on his/her parents and becomes more emotionally and financially independent. It is often considered a stable time of exploring the adult role and settling down.
The transition from a school to work is also considered part of the establishment stage - this is clearly a memorable experience for many individuals. (Dont we recollect many films depicting the joy around this event!)
Given these transitions, the establishment phase is definitely a significant phase in every ones life - there are three major tasks that the organization's newcomer would go through:
  1. Negotiating effective psychological contracts
  2. Managing the stress of socialization
  3. Making a transition from organizational outsider to organizational insider.