How to improve your organisation’s onboarding process
There’s such a big focus and investment on recruitment and finding a new hire, it seems bizarre when managers forget about onboarding and don’t try to integrate that person into their business in a customised and meaningful way. First impressions matter and how much care and attention that is shown to your new hire can greatly impact their experience, opinion of your business as a place to work and whether they want to stick around!
If your company is growing and you’re hiring new employees pretty regularly, it makes sense to bed down an onboarding process so you don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel every time. It makes onboarding more efficient and consistent, and ensures that it actually gets done each and every time.
So if your business is looking to implement an onboarding process or improve what you’re already doing, we spoke with Felicity de Lang from Tilt Shift, who was kind enough to share some some tips and tricks to help you out.
Know that the process begins before day one
Trying to link the hiring activity to your new hire’s welcome to the business is really critical. Whether you do a couple of phone check-ins to keep in touch throughout their notice period, front load the paperwork to get all of the boring stuff out of the way or share key insights into the business to get them excited, make sure they don’t only hear from you 24 hours before their first day.
Manage the first day experience
Remember what it feels like when you start a new job! You’re a bundle of nerves and excited energy, so providing some expectations of what the day will look like is crucial. It might seem like small stuff, but clarity around these things can help to quell some nerves. Think about sharing:
- What time to arrive
- How to get there via public transport or details about parking
- The dress code
- Whether they need to bring lunch or not
- The structure of the day
If you have all of this information saved in a document, just attach it to an email and send it off every time you have a new hire join the team.
Ensure your team is familiar with what their role is in the process
Don’t just tell your team members to run your new hire through the marketing function or what your client service team does. Make sure they’re aware of exactly what they should be talking to your new hire about and when exactly they should be meeting and that they feel confident in doing it. If they’re confident, your new team member will feel more confident too.
Think carefully about the onboarding content
When putting together the onboarding and training, consider how engaging and interesting the content is and the variety of mediums you can use – for instance, consider face to face sessions, video content or written guides and blogs. Mixing things up means the experience is varied and engaging for your new hire. Plus, mediums like videos and written content don’t require as much effort – there’s the initial time investment to create it, but once it’s done, your team has minimal involvement and it’s all up to your new starter to consume it.
Make sure to think about the sequencing of your onboarding process too. Don’t send your new starter in for a chat or Q&A with a team member when they haven’t even learnt anything yet! A good sequence would be “read this guide, watch this video and then chat to X about it”.
Lay out clear expectations
It’s incredibly important for new hires to spend some time with their direct manager on the first day. It’s essentially a continuation of the hiring conversation, where they move from what the new hire can do into expectations for them going forward.
Be really clear about what exactly they’ll be doing each week and what milestones they should be hitting. Newbies always assume that they’re not doing enough when they start, so by being really clear about milestones (and you might have to remind them a couple of times!), it’ll help quieten any concerns they may have.
Get an understanding of how they work
Have an honest conversation with your new starter on their first day and get an understanding of the tools they’ve used, their preferred working style, how they like to be communicated with and how they want to be supported. Once you’ve collected this information, make sure to follow through! Also make sure the people they’ll be working with are across this as well, so they can also follow through.
Set them up with a buddy
Pairing your new hire up with a buddy (preferably someone who isn’t their line manager) to help them navigate their new job and workplace. Their buddy should check in with them regularly to answer any questions and make sure they have everything they need. If you pair them up with someone who does a similar role as them, it’ll give them a great sense of what the work they’ll be doing looks like. This also gives them a good idea of how they can contribute and provide value to the team.
Give them a mini project to work on
Before they start, come up with a discrete piece of work that your new hire can deliver that’s not high stakes, but is still a valuable piece of work that can help them navigate around the business and build their confidence. They’ll get some runs on the board, feel valued and know that they’re contributing to the team’s success.
So you’ve gone ahead and either created, or made improvements, to your onboarding process. How do you know it’s actually successful?
To get the point of view of your new starter, book in some reflection time a few weeks after they’ve started and ask them about their onboarding. Some great questions include, do you think you’ve made the right decision to join us? Have you felt welcomed and part of the team? Their feedback will tell you a lot about where you can improve the process. You should be constantly looking to improve the experience of your new starters so they feel welcome and a part of the team from the get go.
On the business side of things, look at the internal process for onboarding your new team member. Was it easy for your team? Did they know what they were doing or did they feel like they were making it up as they went along? Did they feel confident delivering the onboarding? If it wasn’t so peachy for your team, look at where they’ve highlighted some issues and come up with solutions to make the process smoother for all involved.
From there, fine tune your process based on the feedback. Make sure to keep reflecting, reviewing and fine tuning to ensure the process is the best it can be!
Felicity is a culture change guide, helping organisations explore and understand what’s going on in their teams and allowing them to see the landscape of their organisation with fresh eyes and a curiosity to understand what is really going on. Felicity works with teams to provide practical ways to make desired shifts and design experiences for teams (like onboarding, hiring, 1:1s, feedback cycles, coaching for leaders) that are right for them.
If you’re interested in utilising her services for your business, get in touch with Felicity at email@example.com.
And if you’re looking for a new hire, that’s our forte! Reach out today at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.