You found a new hire. Great! What do you do with them?
“Well, we really want to hit the ground running.” What does that even mean?
The onboarding process sets your new hire’s expectations as well as determines how effective they’re going to be as an employee. Even the most qualified worker in the world still needs time and training to learn how any given office works. Many, many workplaces brag about “Throwing you in the deep end”, not realizing that setting up new hires for failure is only good at filtering out people who are honest about they don’t know. If you don’t have an effective onboarding process, you’re going to force your employees to guess, to “fake it til they make it”, and to lean on those in your office who come across as mentors, regardless of whether they’re truly an effective or altruistic teacher. As you bring in new people, teach them both your processes and your culture.
It goes to materials, training, and schedule- organize the proper materials and training, and have a first-week schedule, that makes all the resources they need available. We help companies onboard all the time. Those companies that have a standardized onboarding process, and really invest in integrating people into their office, can rightfully expect much more productive and much fewer problems. Employees stay when they feel valued, a part of the organization, and like they have a stake in the company. People leave when they don’t feel connected and not heard.
The Right Onboarding Materials
Employee handbooks are key. They are vital. They explain everything you need someone to know about your company and significantly reduce their stress.
How many times can you ask someone simple questions before feeling annoying? My maximum is 3. If I have to stop someone’s who’s working and ask them stupid stuff like “where’s the bathroom”, “when do we clock out” or how to login to my computer, I begin to feel like a bother. And that keeps me from asking more questions- questions that I may really need to know, but not enough to override my desire to not come across as an idiot.
New hires get a ton of information all at once, and some of it may slip through the cracks. If they need to remember the name of the accounting manager, or what the dress code is, an Employee Handbook helps immensely. They should have a copy at their desk they can thumb through when no one’s around. People, certainly people who are feeling insecure in a new environment, don’t like to appear as though they don’t know things. Making sure every new hire has a handbook allows them to maintain that facade and their perceived dignity.
We’ve explored handbooks extensively, and there are a few elements to found in each decent Employee Handbook;
- Legal Assurance
- Your anti-discrimination policies, your anti-harassment policies and your workplace relevant safety notices should all be present. This protects the employees from unlawful or unsafe behavior and your business from potential lawsuits.
- General Policy
- Tell people what they can wear. Tell people what holidays are observed. Tell people where to go to solve problems X, Y, and Z.
- Workplace culture
- Some companies have set excellent examples on how to do this. Essentially, the Employee Handbook should explain how and why you work. Share your vision.
Finely-Tuned Onboarding Training
Regardless of credentials, make sure that each new hire knows how to their job, and how the job they do needs to be done at your business specifically. The way documents get handed-off, customer privacy protocol, and a slew of other processes may be slightly different from where they’re coming from. Obviously.
Keep them updated. As you use new sales tools, your sales force is going to have to evolve and adjust. Financial software, heavy machinery, and even the copier are constantly updating. Your new guy may be coming from a place that only did business through fax (it happens and it’s terrible), so they may be great at what they do, but their process might not mesh with your own. Obviously.
Not obvious- it’s often a good idea for people to know what the tasks are of the people they work with on a daily basis. If your salesperson hands off numbers to finance, he or she should know what finance is looking at and be able to tell you. If you have someone loading a truck, they should know how the driver unloads at the next stop. This allows people to work around each other’s needs and keeps everyone from hating the other departments. Cross training like this facilitated communication and fresh eyes on a process are never a bad thing.
The Important Onboarding Schedule
Job hunting is scary. Not having a job is scary. Interviewing is scary. Starting a new job is scary. Fear is the mind killer, and you should do everything you can to decrease the uncertainty your new hires are experiencing.
Your new hires should know what they’re doing every day for at least the first week. On Wednesday morning, they could be sitting with accounting. Afterward, they could set up their desk with IT. Get them into a rhythm and make them feel like an important new part of your organization.
By the way, this is what “Hitting the ground running” looks like. Without knowing what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and when, you can hardly describe someone as moving forward. If they’re sitting at their desk, with the vague idea that at some point, a manager’s going to come by and train them on…. something, “running” doesn’t really come to mind.
If you’re looking to onboard new hires or just looking for new hires, ConnectedHR absolutely has what you need. Give us a shout, and tell us what your difficulties have been bringing on and training new staff.