How to Onboard new Employees?
A friend started a new job a few months. He was thrilled about the company, the job and salary. After three months working he was confused. He felt left alone and was disillusioned about the company. There was no structure, no plan or whatsoever. The first month he was sitting on a shared desk with another employee. This other employee needed to teach him the different computer systems they work with. It took the company three weeks to establish him access to his email and login credentials to the systems. The other employee said. Sorry, this is how it’s going here.
In the second month he needed to start talking with customers. The basic “training” was obviously not enough for him to answer all the questions. Customers where not happy and he started to get frustrated. His manager told him, in a peer review, that she expected more from him. When he pointed out that the training material was incomplete and that he did not get a proper training about the companies systems, the manager told him to ask more senior employees to help him. He tried to get in touch with some more senior employees, but that was not a big success. These senior employees where very busy and did not had time helping new employees. Also the manager from the senior employees pointed out that he should ask his own manager to get a proper training.
Long story short. My friend applied for another job and left the company.
What is the perfect onboarding?
In another blog I wrote already about expectations and perspectives. The example above is not an exception. This happens unfortunately too often. Nowadays with a shortage on staff, it is also very challenging to get new staff up to speed. Preferably in a very short time. It starts already when hiring a new employee. In an interview you should already point out what challenges there are. These challenges you could turn into interview questions. Let the new employee know what is going on, and ask how the candidate would comprehend with the situation. It is a great question. Also do a skillset assessment. More about this you find in another blog. But further more, an onboarding should be a very warm welcome into the family. Your goal, is that the new employee feels welcome, knows what is expected and how to get the information needed to be successful. The structure if very simple. It doesn’t matter if you run a business with 5 or 5.000 employees.
Before implementing a formal onboarding program, employers should answer some key questions to attain team and upper management buy-in, including:
- When will onboarding start?
- How long will it last?
- What impression do you want new hires to walk away with at the end of the first day?
- What do new employees need to know about the culture and work environment?
- What role will HR play in the process? What about direct managers? Co-workers?
- What kind of goals do you want to set for new employees?
- How will you gather feedback on the program and measure its success?
Once these questions have been answered, HR professionals and upper management can devise a plan of action to help new employees quickly assimilate company policies and workflow while getting fully acquainted with the organization’s culture. Below image shows a step plane for new employees.