Yes, onboarding should be ongoing because when it’s not, it’s forgotten. Onboarding is a trendy term with multiple meanings, but most people aren’t sure what it means. Let me clarify by sharing my definition. Simply put, it’s preparing a new hire for their position. Not all onboarding is equal. Yes, giving a new teammate a handbook is a form of onboarding, but it’s far too little if that’s where it ends.
I want to talk about expanding onboarding beyond the first day of employment. I’ll share some of what is essential on the first day, but I want to take it further; I want you to stop and consider your first day at your current position. Were you onboarded, was it comprehensive, and how much did you retain a week or a month later? Or were you asked to sign for a handbook and that was about it?
Why Onboarding Should Be Ongoing
That’s my point. Whatever information you share during the onboarding process must be followed up and repeated. Most of us aren’t one meeting people. I need to hear, see, and do things several times before it sinks in. How about you?
The First Step
Prepare the employment candidate during the interview by sharing the positives of the position as well as the pitfalls. Talk about expectations, the company’s mission, and the candidate’s part in that mission, and leave the candidate with information about the company and the position.
Next, prepare for the employees’ first day on the job.
- Put up a welcome sign on the front door or, better yet, on a digital screen
- Have their direct report meet them at the door
- Clean their work area, desk, and stock the workstation with supplies.
- Set up an email account
- Have all tools, computers, software, etc. up and working
- Conduct orientation
Go for a Walk
Take the new hire on a tour, but do more than point out departments and introduce them to team leaders. Discuss how their position relates to and affects every department.
Next, show them where to park, the copy machine and how it operates, the nearest restrooms, the cafeteria, and the breakroom. Any part of the workplace, from workout facilities to daycare, that the new hire might take advantage of, should be part of the first-day tour.
Get to Know Them
So, how do you get to know someone? To begin with, you ask them questions. You can begin to learn who they are, what they want, and how they think with a few questions. Here are some examples:
- Ask them what motivates you. The first key to motivating anyone is to understand what motivates them, not what motivates you. Too often, well-intentioned leaders attempt to motivate their team with what works for the leader. What motivates the leader seldom motivates every individual on a team. And to complicate matters, people combine motivational factors.
- Ask how they learn. Too many trainers only teach how they learn, Too often, when a trainee does not grasp the information, we think less of them. Consider how to adjust your training to their learning style.
- Find out what their goals are. Where do they see themselves in one, three or, five years?
- Follow up by asking what questions they have about the company, department, or the job.
Follow Up and then Follow Up Some More
There you have it; repeat all the above and everything else you do during the onboarding process. Follow up by checking how they’re adapting to new software, if their email is properly set up, and do they know how to use their equipment. Repeat orientation, take them on more tours, and survey them at one week, one month, and ninety days. When onboarding isn’t ongoing, it’s not on target. Want more? Read this, How To Improve Employee Training Retention.
How Can I Help You?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
So, does your business have a management training plan? Because if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out. It might help you stop putting off what you want to do.
If you enjoyed this post, try 5 Surefire Ways to Retain New Employees.