Guide to Onboarding – Part 1

onboardingOnboarding, not paddleboarding! Image Source

Congratulations! You have recently completed an exhaustive job search and have spent countless hours reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates. You have painstakingly pondered over which candidate you feel will best suit your team, performed all the necessary background checks, and extended a great offer to your top candidate for a challenging opportunity with your organization. The candidate has accepted, begins next week and you are eager to get them in the door and contributing to the team. What can you do to ensure proper orientation and reaffirm to your new employee that they have made the right decision to join your team?

First day orientations and the obligatory “floor rounds” to make introductions to the team just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Employees expect and deserve more when it comes to welcoming and orienting them to your organization’s culture. Although onboarding programs vary in complexity from organization to organization, there are some key bases you want to be sure to hit. These include:

From Day 1 to Day 90

  • Arrange a first day lunch for yourself, the new hire and crucial team members the new hire will be frequently interacting with. Important introductions can be made and the team can begin to get to know each other in a casual and low stress environment.
  • Ensure the new hire receives proper orientation to HR programs including benefits, policies, organizational charts, performance management procedures and technical training. Additionally, provide an overview of the organization – its history, the products or services it provides and how the different teams work together.
  • Have a conversation about career progression and expectations with your new hire within 90 days of employment. Explain how their role fits into the bigger picture of your business and talk about potential career development opportunities that may be available to them in the future. Ask them what they are interested in and discuss how they can get that exposure at your organization, if possible. Let them know what your expectations are and allow them equal opportunity to outline their expectations as well.
  • Identify and introduce the new employee to a mentor within your organization and encourage the mentor to speak frequently with the new hire. A mentor can have important career development discussions with their new mentee and provide advice on how to navigate their career, with a wealth of knowledge stemming from their previous experience.
  • Conduct check-ins with the new hire on day 30, 60 and 90 (including a Probationary Performance Review) to ensure that expectations are being met and that there is no confusion in their role. Ensure that they are continually set up for success and have no boundaries in their way to do their job properly and succeed within your team.

From Day 90 to 180

  • Conduct a “how are we doing” survey. This will likely be completed through the HR department due to the sensitivity of some of the information. However you can follow up and ensure that you are receiving important information on crucial findings resulting from the report.
  • Continue to encourage your new hire to leverage company resources available to them including their mentor and various human resources programs. This helps the employee to stay engaged and committed, which in turn increases the likelihood of retention and overall job satisfaction.

Many people believe that the onboarding period ends after the first couple of months of employment. New employees transition into their positions over time, so onboarding efforts are critically important throughout the first six months of employment. In fact, some organizations that have been recognized for their successful onboarding efforts look at onboarding in terms of the first year or even two years of employment.

You may read the list above and think “I don’t have the time/money/resources to do all of that!” Yes, onboarding a new employee can be time intensive and sometimes costly. However, demonstrating to your employees that you value them and want to invest in their future goes a long way to establishing a team of healthy, longlasting, engaged employees.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we investigate the benefits of onboarding programs and discuss what improvements you can expect to see at your organization when following a program that is tailored to your organization.

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