Tips to Improve Your Onboarding Process

David Swan David Swan | Tue, May 30, 2017

Onboarding new staff is an opportunity for to reinforce company culture or start the process of change. Whether bringing on a contractor or full-time employee, the onboarding process establishes the foundation for work and communication.

The Clock Starts With the Offer

Onboarding process begins when the offer letter is signed. The candidates becomes the employee and the pace of communications quickens. Gatekeepers who protected hiring managers are removed from the process as information flows two ways.  Communication topics increase to include ongoing projects, current issues, and objectives for the new employee.

The hiring manager reachs out before the candidate starts to touch base, confirm the offer, and let the now employee know that the team is excited for them to join.  This provides the new employee the opportunity to interact with the hiring manager and ask any questions (such as start time etc.), that may not have been provided or slipped through the cracks.

The process of making the employee feel included starts as soon as the contract is signed. Leaving the employee without communication can be a recipe for failure.

Planning the First Day

The first day in a new job should be an exciting time.  Hiring managers can do a lot to help them realize their hopes and assuage their fears.  For example:

  • Have physical logistics in place – a place to work, a workstation, system access and security.
  • Break the ice by scheduling introductions to the team and key stakeholders.
  • Provide someone to talk to by assigning a buddy, sponsor, or mentor as appropriate for the position and company culture.

Have an open and honest discussions about the nature of the work, an overview of work flow, and governance processes. These steps go a long way on the first few days on the job to building credibility and relationships of trusts.

Keeping the Momentum

Plan out the first few weeks of work and establish milestones. Some of these steps will be must do’s and others will be great opportunities. Include training opportunities and orientation meetings. Take time to explain the corporate vocabulary.

At appropriate points in the first several weeks, the hiring manager can provide feedback to let the employee know how they are doing.  Many time new employees are left to wonder how they are doing.  

On-going coaching helps smooth out employment transitions. Providing the new hire with immediate tasks that make a meaningful contribution while building a track record of success. Give the job candidate a chance to get their feet on the ground and establish working relationships.

Explain the Small Things

Far to often the small details of office life are overlooked duringn the onboarding process. Common mistakes including forgetting to explain how to record time or the process for expense reimbursement.  Often the simplest things – failure to provide entry codes, inability to use email – can create unneeded friction in the work place.

Employees represent your most valuable asset and greatest risk factor. Take time to leverage your investment by making your onboarding experience a great one.

David Swan

David Swan

David Swan, a technology consultant and executive specializing in digital transitions and change management.

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