You’ve been one of the fortunate ones — you have new hires to onboard at your organization. But business is moving fast, and you have metrics to hit. How do you integrate your new employees into your established team? The best teams know how to onboard successfully, and with these six tips, you’ll be among them.
1. Create a Plan
Just like any effort, a plan makes your chances of success more likely. Review your existing onboarding experience to identify adjustments you’re interested in implementing. Develop a timeline, identify key stakeholders, and create goals.
Use onboarding templates and checklists to create a uniform experience for your current and new staff members. Reinforce their use to keep the experience consistent for team members. Offer feedback opportunities and review cycles to ensure they continue to serve your needs.
2. Understand the Employee You’re Onboarding
The needs of a call center representative will differ from those of a developer. Create specific paths for departments and job types that provide the right support for the job. While certain overarching details like company policies and procedures will be relevant for every employee, job-specific onboarding is key.
Meet with managers to identify technology and internal information that need to be included in the onboarding process. This effort will require time and thought, as some information can be hard to convey, especially from long-time team members. Dedicate time to discuss the details of each role to create a great onboarding experience.
3. Introduce the Team in Formal and Informal Settings
Identify team members your new staff member will interact with regularly. These individuals will include direct team members as well as cross-functional partners. If you’re in-office, walk around the workspace and introduce folks in a low-stress environment.
If you’re remote, set brief introductory meetings with your new employee and assign them an onboarding partner. The partner will be able to provide introductions to other team members and nudge the conversation along.
Consider taking the team out to lunch early on in your new employee’s tenure. These off-site events can allow people to relax and incite lively discussion. As your team members get to know one another, these casual encounters can bolster trust, which is a long-term advantage.
4. Take Time for Tech
Tech can be one of the biggest headaches for employees. Review the new team member’s tech needs. Ensure that your IT service desk has access to the right equipment and software before the employee’s first day. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to be productive when you sit down at your new desk. Avoid this productivity killer by creating checklists for IT needs unique to each job description.
If your organization struggles with procurement and licensing, work with your team to address these issues. Build-in time to get needed equipment and for training new colleagues. Create a training schedule for tool usage and brand guidelines. Your recent hires will be more confident and productive thanks to your efforts.
5. Prioritize Culture
Culture, when done right, is more than just a buzzword. Integrate your new team member with your company culture, affinity groups, and purpose. Their onboarding partner can support them in learning the culture. You may even want to designate an individual who is outside of the newbie’s core working group. A cross-functional partner will help build relationships outside of their usual team and can expose them to different ideas.
If you have groups that might interest your new team member, give them a tour of the offerings you provide. Take a leap of faith and proactively assign some of your more general groups to give them exposure. Ask about their experience and make it easy for them to explore what else is offered.
6. Check In Often
We’re all busy, and it’s easy to assume that others pick up new information in the same way we do. Don’t make this mistake with your new team member. Poor onboarding experiences can sometimes make or break an employee’s perspective on your organization. Avoid disengagement or a quick exit by checking in often.
Set expectations for managers, onboarding partners, and other team members on how and when they check-in. Train them adequately to inquire beyond “How are you doing?” Instead, encourage them to learn about their new colleague and ask questions that invite thoughtful answers.
Suggest walking meetings or off-site chats that make it easier for both parties to share their thoughts. Sometimes, team members may be hesitant to provide constructive criticism or honest feedback about disappointments. Work to establish trust and a safe environment that will elicit the most transparent feedback possible.
Intentional Onboarding Can Improve Engagement, Productivity, and Retention
It’s easy to decide to leave a party when you don’t feel included. The same holds true if an employee doesn’t feel welcome or wanted at their organization. Talent today has a wealth of options when it comes to employment, so it’s essential to get your onboarding right.
Work with your HR team, leaders, and staff to understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Create a feedback protocol for new employees to share their experiences and provide suggestions for future improvements. With good intentions and clear communications, your colleagues and new employees can begin work on the right foot.