08 May The Importance of Onboarding – You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression!
The US economy continued to add jobs in April, despite some emerging signs of slowing. Unemployment remains at historic lows, and millions of people are still quitting their job, confident they’ll be able to land somewhere better making more money or finding either a better job fit or work culture fit. If your organization is hiring, remember the wise words of Will Rogers, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The onboarding experience for new hires IS your organization’s first impression and should be tailored to truly welcome each individual to your work family.
For most organizations, onboarding includes everything from the paperwork and policies to email set up and their workspace assignment. Many entities handle much of this in advance of the new hire’s first day on the job, but if you do it all the first day, remember to take breaks (for example, to tour the building) so they aren’t overwhelmed by the administrative minutiae.
Onboarding includes helping a new person understand their job’s responsibilities and how those are to be done, introductions to the rest of the people on their team along with an overview of the larger organization, and potentially meetings with leadership. Orientation often includes the history of the company and a presentation on its vision, mission, and values. To really succeed at your onboarding, Business Results recommends demonstrating those values in your actions with the new hire.
It’s a good idea to have an onboarding agenda, not just for the first day, but the first week, and include notes as to the longer-term success milestones over the next few months so that everyone is on the same page. Done right, this will help that new hire become more productive quicker and will help them stay with your organization longer.
Anyone can benefit from an “onboarding buddy,” typically a peer to answer some basic questions and show the new person around. The ideal onboarding buddy should complement your new hire’s behavioral strengths. Managers should also look at their new hire’s behavioral motivating needs and tailor training to that person. For example, high dominance individuals want to know what they individually can control, whereas someone with high formality appreciates specifics about expectations of the job.
Remember that everyone learns at a different pace, so it’s important to have different methods of training and plenty of review time so that the employee is clear on what their keep performance metrics are, their individual contributor goals, and how those relate to larger organizational goals. Also, encourage them to ask questions to ensure both the employee and their manager are on the same page. Managers can facilitate that conversation by asking if the person needs additional information? Do they have a clear understanding of how to be successful in their job?
Don’t forget the other people the new hire will work with, particularly those whose work is dependent on or related to the output of the new contributor. To help build trust even before their first day on the job, consider sending a welcome postcard from the existing team members. All new hires need to know who they are working with as well as a tour of the organization. New employees with higher extraversion tend to want an opportunity to meet others on their team. If working remotely, set up a virtual social or lunch with online icebreakers. Someone with lower extraversion still wants to meet their peers, but may appreciate individual one-to-one hellos or individual introductions over the course of a few days. Short online meetings for those individual interactions can be beneficial here for those working remotely. And it’s ok to ask the new hire for their preference!
For all employees, remember it’s important to really make an effort to help the person feel welcomed. Business Results teaches managers how to best manage, communicate, and coach each person on their team every day. To learn more, contact us today!