Are You Scaling Up? Then You’d Better Design a Good Onboarding
Most of my experience has been in working with small companies and early-stage startups, usually with small teams (not more than 20 people) where all the members were working practically hand in hand, with founders being available to answer questions. Lots of people had been there from the very beginning and, because of that, had a good understanding of the business, the products, the goals and the vision. When companies are at those stages, communication and idea sharing is relatively easy. Almost everyone knows how to get things done, whom to ask or who to talk to, what is important and what can be put aside for later. If the value proposition is good, chances that the company will grow are big, and with that growth comes the challenge of keeping everyone aligned.
The good news is your company is growing, and there’s something you can do to facilitate that alignment for every new hire that joins your company.
Let’s Talk About the Onboarding Process
An onboarding process is a combination of information, activities, and people that helps a new hire better understand the goals for the business, the composition of the company, the culture and the role that they are playing. It also gives them the necessary understanding of the business, the tools and people connections they need to succeed.
For their first few days (or weeks, depending on the size of your organization), every new hire will have to learn how to act to have a huge impact during their time with your company. If you do this right, new hires will be able to jump into their roles more quickly and channel their excitement and enthusiasm into doing their best work.
Onboarding Best Practices
Research has shown that team members who receive an effective onboarding are more likely to feel highly committed to their organization, integrate better into the company culture and can make better contributions in a shorter period of time. From my experience, I can tell you that an effective onboarding experience starts before you start looking for the new hire.
Before Day One
First of all, define why you need this new position, what you want them to solve, how this person will be bringing value, to whom they will be reporting, and what success looks like for that person. You will need all of that for the hiring process, but also for the onboarding process.
Once the perfect candidate accepts your offer, keep in constant communication with them and tell them all about the different aspects of the onboarding process: technology delivery (laptop and monitors but also different tools they might need for work) and meetings related to the onboarding process. Assign a person they can talk to in case they are not understanding something or in case they need help with navigating the organization.
The First Week
Introduce the new team member to their team: managers, coworkers and reports (if any), and also clarify the possible ways they will be interacting and the communication channels that are better for that communication.
Communicate the company mission, vision and values. Those three things are the backbone of the company and should help the new hire understand the company’s priorities, how they make decisions, and will also help them build a sense of autonomy.
Facilitate training materials on job duties, company policies, and culture. Even if you select the best candidate for the job, you can’t expect them to be ready to work on day one; they will need to understand how to do their job and learn about the environment where they will be doing it.
Communicate clearly the goals and KPIs for the position. To effectively communicate to someone the value you want them to bring to your organization, the first thing you have to do is to establish some metrics and goals and be sure you communicate those to the people doing the job.
Monitor the process, have a check-in at the end of the week and verify that the new hire has read all of the materials, has completed all of the learning sessions, and has understood all of the different content they were provided with for the process.
First Month Check-In
Collect feedback from the new hire’s teammates and candidly share it with them. Design an action plan for all of the aspects that are not working well and celebrate the wins.
Also, ask the new hire for feedback about the onboarding process and ask if they need any additional tools, information or people connection for their job.
In many cases, the first three months of a new hire determine if they will stick around with their new employer so don’t forget to touch base as often as possible. Managers should ensure new hires have all of the tools they need to succeed in their new roles.
Remember that creating a strong onboarding process for new hires is imperative if you want not only to retain talent, but also get the best out of them.