Successful On Boarding
For any “newbie”, no matter how experienced, starting a new role should be an exciting experience, but it can also be a daunting one. I never cease to be amazed by the ‘first day’ stories I hear from people I meet, ranging from the old classic of being asked to read the health and safety manual, through to being told we forgot you were coming today and were expecting you next week. The list is endless and I am sure you could add your own tales … please feel free to do so by the way!
I have also heard some amazing stories where people have felt included and part of the team right from the get go. But this blog isn’t just about making sure new starters have a memorable first day (for the right reasons!). It is about ensuring there is an impressive on boarding process in place that reaches far beyond the first few days of employment.
Before we get stuck in with some practical tips, let’s start with the reasons why this often overlooked part of the recruitment process is so crucial. And frankly, the reasons are very straightforward:
A well thought out on boarding programme will reaffirm that your new starter has joined the right Organisation.
From the very beginning, your new starter will be aware of their accountability, the need to deliver results and the standards expected of them.
So what does a good on boarding process look like?
Here are some top tips:
1. Pre recruitment planning – As we have mentioned in previous blogs Tips for an effective recruitment process and Getting better results from a recruitment agency it is so important to consider on boarding before you even think about selecting a candidate.
What exactly is it that you want the new starter to deliver and by when? How will these results be measured and how will you and the right candidate know when they have achieved these results?
Now consider whether the right tools are in place in order to get the very best out of somebody, or in reality, are they being set up to fail? Change for the sake of change isn’t always necessary of course, but neither is doing it this way because ‘it’s the way we have always done it’.
2. Get the housekeeping right - It sounds so obvious but getting things like a workstation, passwords, usernames, car, telephone and stationery ready and waiting for your new starter will make a huge difference. Your new starter will know that their arrival has been anticipated, and that they are not an afterthought or an inconvenience. It also removes any barriers from them starting as you mean them to go on from day one.
3. Orientation – So this is the part where getting the first few days planned and ready is crucial. Who are the key stakeholders for this person going to be, both internal and external? Without overwhelming them, introducing your new starter to these people will be vital. These meetings should be planned in advance with an agenda beyond simply saying hello. This is an opportunity for them to learn about that particular individual, their background, role and their preferred method of communicating.
Don’t forget culture either; the largely unwritten rules about the ways ‘things are really done around here’, ranging from working hours to what and where people eat.
4. Documenting progress – One of my favourite and most successful clients introduced me to a very effective method for documenting progress and expectations. Each new starter is presented with a book on their first day that contains a three month plan, divided into weekly sections.
Very much in the vain of a running plan that an athlete may use to train for a marathon, each week contains a list of targets that the individual will be tasked with achieving, increasing in challenge as the weeks progress. Each week is then signed off by the line manager, prompting regular, brief and meaningful conversations about progress.
The best part about this process however is that the new starter will know exactly where they stand in terms of progress, and whether they are over or under achieving. This sets the tone for the remainder of their career with your Organisation and will inform line managers where they need to push, address or support more.
It is recommended that you benchmark your top performers in order to identify what measures should be included on a weekly basis. It is also worth talking about this process with candidates at the recruitment stage so that they know in advance how their performance will be managed.