Finding Margin in Business and in Life

Five Steps for Effective Employee Onboarding

Every day thousands of people start new jobs.  It is an anxious, exciting time.  We dream of the possibilities with our new employer and hope to make a positive impact in our new role.  Unfortunately for most, this  eager anticipation is trampled by the realities of an unprepared work environment, where little or no effort has been made to prepare for your arrival.

 Oh, you’re here…uh, what’s your name again?   Right…Charlie.  You’re working for Susan, right?  Well,  Susan isn’t going to be in until 9am.  She has a dental appointment.   So, why don’t you sit in her office until she gets here.”

Oh!  Hi Charlie!  I’m sorry!  I forgot you were starting today. Ugh!  I knew I forgot something.  Listen, I, uh…I need to get a hold of IT and let them know to get Lois’ old computer set up so you can access it, Charlie.  In the meantime, why don’t you just wait here.  It’ll only take an hour or two, I’m sure.   Wait just a second… I need to make a call real quick, then we can get with IT.   Why don’t you sit tight, Charlie.  I’ll get to you soon.”

As owners or managers of a business, we have the responsibility to prepare for a new employee well in advance of their first day.  To not do so, guarantees we will be rehiring the same position in the near future.  To increase the likelihood of long-term employment and employee job satisfaction, here are five steps to effective employee onboarding:

    • Create a Job Description.  Preparing a job description for a new employee is critical.  It provides them a framework to understand what their role is in the organization and creates the foundation for job performance expectations.  This is as valuable for the employer as for the new employee.   O*NET OnLine is a great resource for job descriptions which can serve as a reference to developing one of your own.  Carefully go through this document with your new hire on the first day.  Answer the questions and set the performance expectations.  You won’t regret it!
    • Prepare the Workspace. Don’t wait until the last moment to find a space, clean up the space or prepare the necessary resources for your new employee to get started.  Overlooking the workspace communicates a lack of care that will certainly dampen your new employee’s enthusiasm.  Instead, make a checklist of the necessary paperwork and tools for this position (including the workspace) and ensure they are in place and in order for the first day.
    • Give a Tour.  When your new employee walks in the door, you need to be there to welcome them, show them where they will be working, then have a plan in place to introduce the new employee to his/her new environment and coworkers.  The new employee may not remember everything or everyone, however, they will certainly feel valued and appreciated by your efforts.  Check out this link for a great sample New Employee Orientation Checklist.
    • Create a Training Plan.  No matter who you hire, he/she will require training.  Each business has unique characteristics and processes that require orientation and training, no matter the skill set a new employee brings with them.  Frankly, this applies whether you are hiring for a low or high level position within your company.   Creating a training plan requires looking at the position and the organization from a new person’s perspective and laying out the steps required for one to fully understand and fulfill the various aspects of the job description.   There will be a temptation to skimp on time here.  Resist it and take the time. It is far easier and efficient to train once…and less expensive, too!
    • Give Immediate Feedback.  When going through the training process, it is tempting to hold back on critique and praise.   New employees want to perform at a high level for the new employer, so they are looking for performance feedback from you.  Without it, most will be lost as to what is working well and what is not.  Don’t starve them of that information.

Like transplanting a flower, onboarding a new employee is a delicate process which requires the new employer’s best efforts to nurture the development of strong roots that will ultimately serve to support the organization for a long time to come.

As a manager or employer, what is the most challenging part of onboarding a new employee for you?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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