4 Tips to Make the Most of Your Onboarding Process

4 Tips to Make the Most of Your Onboarding Process

After years of unemployment numbers tipping the scales, we’re finally seeing a glimmer of hope when it comes to hiring. Employees are seeking opportunities in new industries, planning to head into early retirement, leaving their current job for higher pay, or even reentering the workforce after taking a hiatus during the pandemic. No matter what the situation, companies are scrambling to fill their vacant seats. With an influx of hiring comes an influx in onboarding needs, as well. By onboarding, we mean the process by which a new hire is brought into your business—this can include anything from showing them the coffee machine to showing them how to work a register. Onboarding new employees is oftentimes the least favored job of anyone at a business, which is why the processes surrounding it can tend to be a bit wishy-washy. If you would like employee onboarding to be less of a headache and more of a well-oiled machine, we’ve got 4 tips to help make the most of your process.

Get Aligned

It’s critical that you and your new employee are on the same page about their role. While this may have been covered lightly during your interviewing process, be sure to devote some real time to hammering out the details of what’s expected of them. Get it in writing so there are no questions or ambiguity. You might also think about scheduling regular syncs for the first few weeks to go over any concerns, roadblocks, or questions that come up while your new hire is getting up to speed.

Involve the Whole Team

It’s tempting to want to assign your new hires to an “onboarding buddy,” which is absolutely a great course of action—for the most part. But often we skip the part of onboarding that includes introductions and deep dives with other members of your team (or even members outside of your team). Consider giving several of your staff the task of taking your new hires under their wing for a couple hours each day, whether it be shadowing them in their role or training them on a program your business uses regularly. Each person on your team likely has a unique skillset, so why not use it to your and your newbie’s advantage? This also benefits the wider team, who will feel more included in the onboarding process and overall success of their new colleague.

Learning is Paramount 

Hiring managers are often saddled with their own heavy workloads, and devoting a ton of time to onboarding a new hire isn’t generally a luxury they’re afforded. That being said, we can make the process a bit easier by encouraging new staffers to take advantage of as many learning opportunities as possible. This could be through shadowing, watching company training videos, reading through process documents, etc. There is also “on the job” learning, which might involve you giving them an assignment or two and having them tackle it solo. Have regular touch-base meetings to see their progress and offer in-the-moment feedback, too.

Set the Stage Up Front

You don’t necessarily need to adapt your management style based on the employees you hire. For instance, if you prefer to deliver feedback face-to-face rather than over a phone call, make that clear from the get-go. If you have a regular cadence for 1:1s with your other staffers, do the same for your new team member (although in the beginning, you may want to meet with them more regularly for check-ins). Help familiarize this new team member with the way things are done under your leadership—what tools do you use, what is your preferred method of communication with the team, how do you like to receive progress, and things of that nature. Setting the stage for your new relationship up front will help ease the discomfort of those awkward “that’s not how we do things around here” conversations.

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