Every employer today should be thinking about what the process looks like when a new hire comes into your business. What consistently takes place and is it effective? Start with examining your current process and then ask yourself, “What should successful on-boarding look like?”
Onboarding begins before the new hire walks in the door. Think about your first correspondence to the new hire. If you’ve ever signed up for Disney vacation, you’ll remember receiving a beautiful package in the mail with customized rubber bands and your name displayed on everything. The package sets up clear expectations and makes you feel special that you just spent a lot of money! Imagine that from a business perspective. How can you make new hires feel special about the money your organization is about to spend on them?
Your structure should include tasks for specific people in the onboarding process. For example, the hiring manager should be triggered to call the new hire with congratulations and details of what they should expect on day one. And it’s important the hiring manager be there to greet the person as they walk in the door before turning them over to human resources.
On the first day, it’s wise to introduce the new hire to a mentor. It could be someone who happens to be in the same job role, but if you have a person who started in a similar job role but has advanced, that’s a great person to select as a mentor. With proper guidance, a mentor program gives you the opportunity to begin setting up expectations and will go a long way to making the new person feel welcomed and engaged. This is a great time to bring your top talent into the mentor program. It will help them feel valued – even if they don’t have a direct “dotted-line” connection with the new hire.
You should be spending time in onboarding talking about culture. This is when you should promote behaviors that are most valued in your organization. You should be very specific about those behaviors and show how they apply to their job role. Talking about culture also gives you a great way to transition into setting expectations for 30, 60, 90 days, and longer. You can show the new hire exactly how they’ll be judged when it comes to performance reviews and possible salary increases.
Once you’ve built the onboarding structure and you’re driving connections and stressing culture, you need to make sure all of this actually happens! There is nothing worse than having some leaders who don’t follow the onboarding program. I could argue inconsistency is almost worse than having no onboarding program at all. Make sure you have systems in place to ensure follow-up to measure the effectiveness of your effort. For example, talk with new hires at the 90-day mark and again at six months to get their feedback. If some portion of your process wasn’t followed, this is the time to regroup and revisit what may have been overlooked.