5 Ways to Improve Your Onboarding Strategy

The first week on the job for a new employee is critical, both for the employee and the organization. From the employee’s perspective, the first week can often paint a clear enough picture of how the company functions. From the organization’s point-of-view, there is an opportunity to gain information and ensure the proper support system is in place for the new employee to be effective.

But so often the opportunities afforded by this “feeling out” period are missed. The same company that went to great lengths to hire the right person doesn’t put the same effort into making sure the new employee’s needs are met during the orientation period.

The article Missed Opportunities: Talent Intelligence During the Onboarding Process, by Dr. John Sullivan and Master Burnett, discusses how companies are also depriving themselves by not taking a more active interest in new hires from the very first day. Companies accustomed to using one way communication with their new employees diminish their chances of receiving more immediate benefits from that person, such as information about companies he or she left or former colleagues who could be potentially recruited.

For those who would like to maximize the results from their onboarding strategy, below is a list of 5 areas that Sullivan and Burnett recommend managers focus on:

  1. Accelerating time to productivity. Coming into a new environment can be stressful for even the most adept change seekers. Any delay in providing new hires with the guidance, equipment, and training they need to get started on what they will be held accountable for can slow the time it takes for a new employee to reach a minimum expected level of productivity. Each day of delay can frustrate the employee and may also mean the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue if product development or sales are impacted. During the intelligence-gathering process, managers should engage with the new hire to uncover his or her desired management style, perceptions of company processes (good and bad), and insight about how other organizations may have approached the new hire's role differently.

  2. Continuous recruiting. Having recently changed teams, the new hire has an innate interest in helping their new team succeed — and that gives both managers and recruiters a perfect opportunity to discover leads for other potential hires. By asking new hires on their first day who else is good at their former firm, managers can easily increase their supply of talent. New hires can also be asked (when appropriate) to directly help in recruiting their former colleagues.
  3. Competitive intelligence. By asking new hires about the best practices of their last firm, their new managers can gather some new benchmark ideas.

  4. Setting a manager's expectations. On the first day, it is important for the manager to make sure that the new employee knows the manager's expectations, the departmental goals, and what important contributions the employee can make to the product and the firm.

  5. Understanding the employee's expectations. It is equally important for the manager to find out what expectations the new employee has in the areas of training, promotion, and preferred management and communication styles.

Whatever onboarding strategy is employed, an effective one will “embrace programs that immediately create value for both parties.”


Read the full article: Missed Opportunities: Talent Intelligence During the Onboarding Process

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