You’ve recruited top candidates for your open position. Assessed the resumes. Held the interviews. Made your selection. Finalized the hire. That empty gap on your team is filled! With a huge sigh of relief, you wipe your hands of the whole complicated hiring process and get back to your real work. Right?
Wrong. If you want that new hire you spent so much time and effort finding to be a success, you’d better not walk off the course now – you’ve got a few more laps yet to do. Those laps have a name: onboarding.
To properly onboard new hires, you need to give them:
Information. The person needs to be systematically given a wealth of data about the organization, the culture, the team, and their role. Note the word “systematically”: a random brain dump is not sufficient, nor is pointing the person to an internal SharePoint site or intranet resource center. Information needs to be delivered in an orderly fashion, with the opportunity for questions and appropriate checks for comprehension.
Support. Few things are scarier on the job than being tossed in at the deep end and left alone to swim or drown. As a leader, you should assign a “buddy” or “onboarding colleague” to each new hire to help them settle into their new role. The “buddy” can help the new hire make connections with internal and external network partners, understand company processes and procedures, and get comfortable in their position.
Clarity. The person you just brought on is going to come with tremendous enthusiasm and drive. That motivation will quickly dissipate, however, if you do not give clear direction in the form of expectations and goals. Be sure not to assume that the person knows what you want: check for understanding during your conversations.
Time. This is often where leaders fall down: the new hire needs your time. The best support “buddy” in the world is no substitute for your time as the new hire’s boss. The new hire needs to hear from you, interact with you, and dialogue with you if he or she is to excel in the new role. At the outset, it is recommended that you have a check-in every week at the least. You can eventually move to 30-, 60-, and 90-day check-ins, but don’t rush to get this “off your calendar”! Spending sufficient time with the new hire in the short-term is what ensures that they will be able to work independently in the long-term.
Yes, onboarding is a task that takes organization, effort, commitment, and time. But getting onboard with good onboarding delivers a multifold return on that investment! Your new hires will be equipped and empowered to shine – and isn’t that why you hired them?