There are universal processes every business has to build, refine, and perfect. Few are as important as a new hire onboarding practice. With new hires being a known constant, it’s important to develop a thorough and effective onboarding plan. This is what sets the wheels in motion. Once a new employee wraps up, they are turned loose and expected to perform their role. Understanding how much information a new hire is expected to learn only reinforces the need for a sound agenda. Let’s explore some onboarding best practices and carve out some necessary components when building out your own plan.
Starting Before Day One
There is a gap between the day a new employee signs their agreement with an employer and the actual day they start. Typically this gap is at least around a week or two as the majority of new hires need to provide a notice to their prior employer and finish up their previous job. Rather than wait until the new hire starts and waste this time away, there’s no reason to not start the onboarding process. Most new hires will be excited to begin and companies should be taking advantage of that excitement and the time to begin the process. This can include things like a discussion on the planned agenda, introductions to the future manager or team, and other items that can be done ahead of time to make them feel welcomed and excited,
This is by far one of the most important aspects in the overall onboarding process. On the employee side, there is nothing more frustrating than starting your first week with excitement and eagerness only to sit there for extended periods without a ramp-up plan. For the employer, this is the first taste an employee gets as well as the necessary tools and training to do their job. A thorough agenda for the initial onboarding period is essential to an employee’s success. A thorough agenda doesn’t just mean the schedule is full either, but filled with quality and purposeful sessions. This should include training on the tools required, resources to leverage within the organization for a variety of needs, company culture, expectations, and team/organization structure.
One of the most stressful things about starting a new job is not knowing anybody around you. During the onboarding process, it’s imperative to provide new hires with a network of people around them for the various needs they may have. Who do they contact for HR related issues? Who is their manager? Who is on their team and what is their role? These questions should be easily answered as a new hire exits the onboarding period.
Expectations may be implied, but setting clear expectations and reiterating during the onboarding process leaves no questions on the table when the new hire is turned loose on their own. There are numerous expectations for every employee, so it’s important to go through the variety of roles and expectations an employee will take on in their new role. This includes their individual roles and responsibilities, their niche within their team, and broader initiatives they’ll be involved in. Set expectations early and often to reduce questions and performance issues later.
Culture is what defines an organization. It represents beliefs and values a company holds and wants all employees to possess as they speak and engage with others and represent the business. It’s important to weave these into the onboarding training through various examples and activities, and to do so often. This should be part of the foundation for a new employee.
Spread out Paperwork
This one is simple. Nobody likes doing paperwork and dumping that on a new hire to complete in totality can seem like a burden. Not the impression a company wants to leave on a new hire. Try to spread paperwork out over the course of the onboarding process to lessen the blow and tackle in smaller chunks.
Stay in the Feedback Loop
A company cannot better themselves unless they’re eliciting feedback and addressing the issues that arise. During the onboarding process, as well as after, a company should collect feedback from new hires in regards to what went well and more importantly what did not. As trends emerge in terms of consistent gaps of knowledge, a company can tweak the onboarding process to include more of a particular subject or even redesign that segment with a different approach.
Nobody hits the ground running. As new hires work their way through the onboarding process, very few will absorb everything there is to know about their new job. That means a new hire will be stressed or not understand how to handle certain situations. As part of the onboarding process, a company should include some kind of post-onboarding training. A reinforcement session that focuses on going over any questions a new hire might have or to provide additional training on areas the employee feels they still aren’t strong on. This reinforcement will ensure the employee is comfortable and able to do the job they were hired for.