Research Article
Abdulrasheed Oyakhire*, Samuel M Adodo and Grace Clarence Ataha
Corresponding Author: Abdulrasheed Oyakhire, Department of Human Kinetics & Sports Science, Faculty of Education, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.
Received: 19 November 2022; Revised: 27 November 2022; Accepted: 30 November 2022 Available Online: December 20, 2022
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The paper examined the importance of onboarding to employee performance in sports organizations. Employee conflict was also highlighted as a likely setback in an employee performance with respect to the attainment of the objectives of an organization. Onboarding was identified as key in the introduction of a new employee in any organization, as it will acquaint the employee with the prevailing organization culture and behavior. The two popular models, theory of tactics and the four C’s most often  adapted in the design of onboarding process in organizations were also discussed. It was therefore, concluded that sports clubs or organizations have a major role to play in the management of employee conflict through the process of onboarding of new employees. Consequently, it was therefore recommended that organizations must prepare onboarding plans for their new employees.

Keywords: Onboarding, Employee, Organization, Employee conflicts

There is a growing increase in the competition of organizations for the comparative advantages, which new employees are likely to bring to an organization. It is therefore important for employers to discover quicker ways of integrating these new employees, to enable them optimize these advantages quite early enough. It worthy of note that organizational leaders must understand the synergy between how new employees are integrated into the organization and the overall success of the organization in the attainment of set objectives.

According to Lombardi, 2011 organizations keep searching for avenues to bring about growth and no doubt that human resource is a veritable tool in these regards. However, it is common knowledge that Olympic Sports Organizations (OSO’s) would be in a hurry to harness the knowledge, knowledge, skills and abilities new employees are bringing to the organization. Those organizations that can harness the power of their new talent faster can create a significant competitive advantage (Bauer, 2015). Bauer & Erdogan, 2011 reported that there is an increase in the number of persons leaving their old jobs and taking up new jobs in organizations. In the same vein, Johnson& Senges, 2010 posited that 90% of new employees decide whether to stay or seek another job, within the first six months of their employment.

There are several Sports clubs in the Metropolis of Benin City, Nigeria, and it has also been well observed that employee conflicts amongst the new and old employees is almost a peculiar issue amongst all of them. This is mostly as result of the emerging need to expand the human resource capacity of these clubs, to meet up with the simultaneous growth in the number of young person’s participating in sports and physical activities across the metropolis.

However, as much as the recruitment of new employee has brought about observable optimum performance in some of these clubs, it has also led to some employee conflicts in the clubs. This paper is based on the general assumption that employee conflict is an everyday organizational challenge amongst the different sport clubs in Benin Metropolis, it is important to state, that the way it is managed could either lead to employee optimum performance or lead to poor organizational outcomes.


It is common knowledge that onboarding is a vital tool in the adaption of a new employee to any organization or work environment. Onboarding is a systematic and structured process which is expected to facilitate an employee’s acquaintance with the culture of an organization. The Harvard Business Review, has earlier stated that part of the functions of organizational onboarding, was the teaching of the new employees, how things work in the organization.

It pertinent to state that one major purpose of bringing employee onboard in an Olympic Sport Organization should be retention. It enables the organization to create a kind of synergy between the new employees and older employees in the organization. This synergy could help in so many numerous ways in the management of future conflicts between the new employees and the older employees.

No doubt, in the fact that the way new employees are integrated into the organization may have effect on their short/long term success. Interestingly, Bethany & Joseph, 2019 reported that only 32% of organizations organized a formal onboarding program for their new employees. However, Existing literature according Badshah & Bulut, 2020 has identified four key functions on onboarding, which are as follows;


Organizations should target specific programs on board that will help increase employee confidence (Bauer et al., 2007).

Role clarity

Role clarity enables performance management and ensures that all team members contribute fully in terms of their capabilities.

Social integration

For an effective working relationship with their peers and superiors the new employee need to feel comfortable. A high-quality relationship with their direct supervisor is related with job satisfaction and performance. According to Lalwani, 2019 insufficient leadership support and poor engagement of front-line supervisors are two areas where onboarding fails. There is evidence that 70% of a person's satisfaction on the job comes from their relationship with their direct supervisor.

Understanding organizational culture

Understanding an organization’s goals and values is associated with commitment, satisfaction and low turnover (Bauer, 2010).

Furthermore, the general principles underlying onboarding programs are consistent with research on socialization which increases retention, unmet expectations, and sources of job dissatisfaction which could be the likely source of employee conflict in an organization. The research showed that new employees who attended a well-structured onboarding orientation program there are more likely to remain at a company for up to 3 years and the organizations that apply onboarding process experience greater new hire productivity and hire retention (Badshah & Bulut, 2020).

What is Onboarding?

Every new employee in an OSO must as a matter of necessity learn the skills, knowledge as well as the behaviors needed to succeed in the organization. The process of new employees learning these skills, knowledge and behaviors to enable them become effective or productive members of the organization is termed onboarding. According to Bauer & Erdogan, 2011 onboarding is the process of helping newcomers to succeed and become effective members. An organization with an intentional and clear onboarding plan could be predicted as likely to have higher retention of employees, increased employee job satisfaction, and time to productivity. Time to productivity according to Snell, 2006. Ebers & Karlsson, 2022 is a newcomer’s level of performance, meaning the time needed for a newcomer to become fully productive. However, it is important to state that despite its overwhelming importance in the success of an organization, only a fifth of companies engage their newcomers in a proactive and organized onboarding plan (Bauer, 2010).

Although, according Ebers& Karlsson, 2022 contemporary literature tends to create a dichotomy between onboarding and socialization. Whereas, these Literature defines individual’s learning and job adjustments as socialization, onboarding has been used to describe the processes involved in bringing about these learning and adjustments (Klein, Polin & Sutton, 2015). Therefore, it can be emphasized that a successful onboarding is an important in every organizational human resource management attempt. An onboarding process usually occurs within a limited time frame, starting from when the job offer is made and proceeds up to twelve months (Chillakuri, 2020). However, as onboarding deals with the efforts made by the organization, the time frame can vary a lot.


Bauer (2010) identified two types of onboarding, which are

Informal onboarding

In this type of onboarding a new employee learns the job without a detailed plan. This type of onboarding has been described as the sink or swim onboarding. It is suggestive, that such an approach to onboarding instills in the new employee, learning to work independently (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979).

Formal onboarding

On the other hand, formal onboarding is described as "a written set of coordinated policies and procedures that assist an employee in adjusting to his or her new job in terms of both tasks and socialization" (Bauer, 2010).

Theoretical Models of onboarding in Employee Conflict Management in Sports Clubs

Basically two major theoretical models have been proposed by researchers to justify successful onboarding process, these are the theories of tactics and the four C’S. However, for the purpose of this paper, the focus will be on the theory of tactics as proposed by Van Maanen & Schein, 1979. However, an attempt will be made to elucidate on the four C’s model to further deepen our organizational understanding of these theoretical models of onboarding.

Maanen & Schein, 1979 introduced a six socialization tactics, which organizations could deploy to develop a strategic onboarding plan for new employees. According to Ebers & Karlsson, 2022 the theory of tactics provides an organization with a set of strategic choices (tactics), which is aimed at influencing the settings a new employee that is introduced in the organization. When a new employee enters an organization, there is likelihood that he or she might experience unexpected behavior and responses; this no doubt could likely set the stage for futuristic internal conflict and external conflicts with respect to the employee. It is therefore necessary for employees to have a purposeful and clear understanding of the specific culture of as well as the work ethics of the organization. This will help douse the levels of uncertainties that often accompany employee adaptations to a new workplace or organization. There organizations have a role to play in helping employees seek answers to some perplexing behaviors by applying tactics (Jones, 1986).

According to Bauer, 2015 the four core aspect (four C’s) of onboarding are as follows:


This refers to the on-the-job basics, or better put, what is basically needed for the new employee to function effectively. These could include stop watches, canvass, practice uniforms, computers, writing pads, office or work stations etc. It has been observed that employees of clubs or organizations, who practice the culture of compliance, tend to have a smoother adaption than those who do not.


This involves the acquainting the employee with the details of the job, as this will no doubt facilitate an employee’s understanding of the tasks, norms and context with respect to the job. It is important for any good onboarding plan to ensure that the employees are promptly clarified about the nature of their jobs to bring about optimum performance within the earliest possible time.


This involves the employee learning the prevailing culture of the organization. The earlier an employee understands the culture of an organization, the better the chances of the employee making meaningful contributions towards the attainment of the organization’s objective.


This is basically the interpersonal relationships between the new employee and the older employees. It enables the employee to develop a network of support systems and synergy between the new employees and the older employees.

It must be emphasized that each of the four C’s according to Bauer, 2015 is important, although, there is likelihood that some aspects could have higher possibilities of better outcomes than others. Furthermore, those organizations that are able to creatively manipulate these four aspects of onboarding are better positioned to achieve better new employee outcomes such as consistently higher job satisfaction, higher productivity, and lower turnover than organizations that fail to deliver across these four onboarding dimensions (Laurano, 2012). Furthermore, Laurano, 2013 further submitted that organizations considered in the top 20 percent in terms of onboarding had 91 percent first year retention, and 62 percent of new employees reached their first year goals-compared to the bottom 30 percent of organizations, which reported only 30 percent retention and 17 percent goal completion for the same time frame. However, in organizations that practice the “sink or swim” haphazard approach to onboarding, a majority of their new employees fail to achieve goal completion.


Organizations have a major role to play in the management of employee conflict; this must be done through a deliberate onboarding plan. It is important to note that for any onboarding plan to yield the expected outcome of managing future and contemporary employee conflict, it must be planned in a manner that will bring about a synergy between old and new employees.

Therefore sports clubs in Benin Metropolis must ensure that they organize an onboarding programmes for their new employees as this is more likely to influence the future optimum performance of these employees in driving the club towards the attainment of their organizational goals.


There is an emerging need for sports club to ensure that new employees are introduced to every member of staff in the club.

Old employees must be sensitized on the need to be welcoming with respect to attitude and behavior towards new employees, as this will create a feeling of assurance and confidence in the new employees.

Onboarding should be done within the first few days of resumption, as delay could impact on the effectiveness of the onboarding program.

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