Chatting about this topic with some colleagues last week there were some interesting comments such as “You should know what to do…” or “We haven’t hired a new person in 12 years and don’t know what to do”.
Onboarding is a process of welcoming, educating, connecting, and acculturating new employees. It helps assimilate them into work and team processes and into an organizational culture. It provides new employees with the necessary tools and resources to carry out their jobs and clear channels for ongoing knowledge acquisition and collaboration. It instills in them a sense of connection to individual, group, and organization goals and a drive to contribute.
Keep in mind the onboarding experience sets the employees perception of the organization they joined. Therefore it’s in the employer’s best interest to make sure the experience is positive.
The best examples I’ve seen of onboarding are as follows:
- Manager introduces employee to the team and persons they will work with directly.
- The usual tour of the office and its amenities.
- Provide laptop, IDs and access tokens as required.
- Office dress code – give examples. I mention this because the policy is so varied now in organizations. Older workers might prefer suite and tie while younger workers jeans and shirt.
- Mobile office policy/home office – provide employee with direction regarding policy surrounding working from home or mobile. Can they yes or no? If yes under what circumstances. Again this varies by company, some companies allow employee to work from where they need to as long as they meet their goals, some want butt in chair no questions asked.
- Connect employee with HR for payroll and benefits information and enrolment.
- Explain how their performance will be measured – the specifics prioritized. Such as utilization on billable projects, sales quota for services and products, winning proposals, project completion on budget and time.
- Establish the communication rules between the employee and new hire – for example, use email? meetings? face to face? Explain how you prefer to communicate.
- Highlights what’s in scope of the job and what isn’t giving real examples. For example, providing scope of services for the department, deliverables it provides and examples of the work the team does and doesn’t do.
- Outlines required reporting, tools he/she will use and training required to achieve performance levels. Such as time management and billing capture.
- Clearly outline demarcation points in the case of task handoffs, complex multi-owner scenarios and in writing notifies parties involved.
- Quickly address team disconnects regarding new employees role – should they occur. Provide specific examples, steps and behaviour employee should have taken instead.
- Help employee understand company culture and politics – makes employee mindful of landmines.
- Assigns a great mentor (Has people, technical skills, knowledge of environment and how to get things done) to help the new employee be successful.
- Establishes regular updates to provide feedback and coaching – use specific examples with background, not “I heard this…or someone said…”. Use actual job activities and peoples names. Provide both positive feedback on work and areas requiring improvement and how to improve.
When it comes to people, they can be your greatest asset and helping them onboard sets the stage for their performance. Some great examples I remember are those that helped the employee focus their strengths and gave them work that enabled them to achieve. Bad examples were micro management, not helping employee navigate land mines or directing them to enter a minefield for political reasons – this only creates distrust and demotivates the employee. The following is an example of a general onboarding checklist you can use as a basis.
Have feedback or stories to share? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org