In this week’s blog, we revisit a previous blog looking at the onboarding process of new employees and how important it actually is for a business.
Now, in 2022, onboarding is still a much talked about topic as it was a few years ago, being at the forefront of employers’ minds as an important part of commencing a new job. The goal of onboarding should be setting new employees up for success and decreasing the time it takes for them to become comfortable in their new role. This only works if the onboarding process is designed strategically and tailored to the individual. Onboarding has become even more challenging with the increase of remote and hybrid work. In a 2020 survey by Workable, respondents in HR reported that remote onboarding/training was the biggest hiring challenge during the pandemic, and it continues to challenge employers now. Poor onboarding can leave your employees with lower confidence in their new roles, low levels of engagement, and a higher risk of jumping ship when they see a new and more exciting position elsewhere.
Onboarding a new employee is often harder than you initially think. Getting it right is an investment of time and effort; an investment well worth making to help set your new team member up for success. We’ve recently been onboarding some great new Inspire HQ team members and it prompted this blog topic. If you had of asked me a couple of months ago about our onboarding process, I would have told you I thought it was pretty good. However, after rolling it out a few times over recent months I’ve realised that we do some parts really well, but we also have some room for improvement.
I truly believe that you can run the best recruitment campaign and secure a great new team member, but you can undo all your great recruitment work in a matter of hours, days or weeks if you don’t invest the time and effort in a rigorous onboarding program. It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses take the onboarding phase for granted. Horror stories include your new employee having to wait days or weeks for their computer to be set up or to get logins; being forgotten about on their first day, not being introduced to team members, and being left to their own devices with no training. The list could go on and on.
It’s critical to remember that first impressions count and that goes for your new employee’s first day, first week and first month. These first impressions will set the tone for the relationship and as we all know, you don’t get a second chance at making a first impression.
Here are my top 5 tips for getting the onboarding phase right and setting your new team member up for success; some of which I have learnt over the last couple of months!
- The onboarding process needs to be tailored to the individual.
We all have different learning styles, different behavioural styles and different skills and experience. Hence, no two onboarding programs should be exactly the same. DiSC is a great tool to help you adjust the onboarding programs to the style of your new employee. Some employees will want lots of details, others won’t want as much, some will prefer structure and others will prefer jumping in and having a go.
- Feedback is critical.
This is not just you giving your new employee feedback about how they are transitioning in (that is of course important), however, I’m referring to your new employee giving you feedback. Is the role what they were expecting, what’s working, what’s not, what are they enjoying, what do they need more help with, what systems and processes do and don’t make sense. Creating an environment where your new employee feels comfortable sharing their thoughts from day 1 is critical for you to be able to best support them. Remember to listen more than you talk when gathering feedback from your new employee.
- Onboarding takes months.
Sometimes when I talk onboarding to a business, they think onboarding is the 30-minute induction they give their new employee on their first day. True onboarding takes months and requires frequent communication, ongoing training and regular check ins to monitor progress and set expectations.
- Involve multiple employees in the onboarding process.
I am, by far, not the best person at Inspire HQ to deliver the onboarding program. Just like it takes a village to raise a child; it takes a village to onboard a new employee. I think I’m pretty good at explaining our Why, sharing our Values, explaining each person’s role in the success of Inspire HQ and what success looks like. I am definitely not the best person to teach someone our CRM system or a detailed work process. I’m not detail orientated enough and without realising it, I miss bits and skip over sections. For the onboarding phase, involve many team members and play to their area of genius (their strengths). Someone will be good at teaching the CRM, someone else will be great at communicating the big picture stuff and someone else will be awesome at the work processes. Play to everyone’s strengths for success.
- No one will be harder on themselves than your new employee.
I believe that no one comes to work to deliberately do a bad job or the wrong thing. In my experience, new employees are often harder on themselves than a manager will ever be. Communicating expectations and where you expect them to be at various time intervals will help your new employee measure their development against realistic timelines and hopefully, they won’t end up being too hard on themselves.
Onboarding can make or break a new employee’s experience in a business, so don’t fall into the trap of under-estimating the significance of the onboarding period. Invest the time and effort now into making your newest addition to the team feel welcome and valued, and provide them with the training and support needed to set them up for success and reap the long-term rewards; your new employee will thank you for the investment down the track.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.