The first few weeks (onboarding) of a new employees’ life in your organisation are crucial. Within these early weeks habits and expectations are set – by them, by their new colleagues and by your organisation. If habits are set positively they will endure, likewise if the wrong pattern of behaviour is established it may be hard to move away from that.
New arrivals into a team can also change the whole dynamic of the team, rather like marriage, for better or for worse. A team of ten or a dozen colleagues can have its attitude and performance fundamentally altered by the arrival of a couple of new colleagues.
Onboarding can be an opportunity not just to get the new person quickly and effectively into their role but also to re energise the whole team, to step up its whole performance – If you get it right. Get it wrong you can end up dragging the whole team backwards.
It’s therefore crucial that you have an effective, consistent onboarding process.
Systematically checking with new hires that their onboarding has worked smoothly and effectively should not therefore be an afterthought but just that – systematic.
New hires will probably be busy learning the ropes, settling in and hitting the ground running. Whilst you don’t want to overburden them with questionnaires there are some key things you should be checking with new hires which won’t take you long to implement or new hires to complete:
You may use different terms, but if someone doesn’t understand what you want to achieve and the values that bind you together in getting there, they are unlikely to be highly effective in helping reach that goal.
This could be anything from the mundane – have you got your ID card, log in’s, keys – right through to complex operation of systems. It’s important from an individual perspective and an organisational perspective that new joiners rapidly get set up on these things so they can function properly. Check that this is all in place.
We said above if people don’t know where your organisation is headed it’s hard for them to help take you there. It’s equally hard if people don’t have a clearly defined role. Just because you had a job description to hire against and filled the vacancy, does not mean you have fully communicated the role effectively.
This covers: do you know who you report to for what. Is it one person, or for some reason multiple people. Is it different for different parts of your role? When do you need to report and when can you just get on with things. Unless a person is totally clear on this from day one they will struggle – and your organisation will too.
Habits, moods and expectations are set early on in most relationships. Once set they can be with you for a long time. Check that your organisation is helping get people in the right place right from the start. Download our free Onboarding questionnaire which has everything you need to get started.