Recently taken on new staff? Then you’ll want to get them as productive as possible, as quickly as possible. Onboarding new staff is a critical part of the hiring process and shouldn’t be underestimated. But why is proper onboarding so important? And how can you do this as quickly as possible? Here’s how!
Why proper onboarding is so important!
Onboarding new staff is a critical part of the hiring process and shouldn’t be underestimated. Proper onboarding and its long-term effects are often overlooked and worsened by hectic schedules and a lack of time to assist new hires.
Yet the advantages of doing so are numerous, for example:
- Staff who’ve received a thorough onboarding are more productive sooner because they learn the relevant knowledge and skills for their new role early on.
- It also means that new hires get better acquainted with the company culture sooner.
- This results in a better ‘click’ with the rest of their team.
- Oftentimes, new hires leave prematurely because their onboarding is chaotic, incomplete, or simply unpleasant. This is detrimental to your staff turnover figures!
- Providing new hires with a thorough onboarding also serves as highly effective word-of-mouth advertising. New hires who have positive experiences during their first weeks in a new environment will talk about this with their friends, family, and business acquaintances. Obviously, this serves as free advertising, which with a bit of luck will spread of its own accord.
Tips for onboarding new staff
How should you go about onboarding new hires properly? There are countless ways to make the most of your onboarding period – for your new hires and your organization alike. Take advantage of the following tips and tricks!
1. Create a thorough onboarding plan
Start by making a full plan for your new hires. This could be a generic blueprint or a more personalized program tailored to a particular job or role.
Define the key objectives, duration, and structure for your onboarding period. What will you expect of new hires at each stage? How long should tasks take and for which tasks will they be receiving extra assistance? When and how will you start reducing this assistance and be throwing them in at the deep end? A solid onboarding plan answers all these questions.
2. Start as soon as possible
Most people think that onboarding starts on a new hire’s first day at work. This is actually too late! It’s far better to start involving them closely in a pre-boarding phase. Doing so forges an intrinsic and professional bond far more quickly.
For example, invite your new hire to join you on a team outing. Or send them a heartfelt welcome letter well before their first day at work. Conversely, why not have them draft an introductory blurb for your internal newsletter in which they say hi! to the whole company?
3. Appoint a fixed ‘buddy’
Appointing a buddy gives a new hire a firm foothold in their new working environment. The ideal buddy would have a similar work profile and be familiar with the new hire’s tasks or roles. The buddy can also help familiarize the novice with the informal side of the company, for example its culture, lunch arrangements, after-work activities.
4. Familiarize new hires with the company culture
Make sure your onboarding process doesn’t only address tasks, job requirements, and productivity, but also familiarizes thems fully with your organization, its culture, and its values. Explain how to interact with clients and business partners (both formally and informally) and clarify the house rules that all employees are expected to adhere to.
5. Implement on‑the‑job training
Preliminary training programs are fast becoming an old-school approach to learning in the modern-day workplace. Especially where practical skills are involved, on‑the‑job training is far more effective and gets your new hires up and running much faster. They can start learning and applying their newly learned skills in practice and start building confidence based on real and successful learning experiences.
6. Use performance support
Performance support ensures that employees get exactly the information (and only that information) they need to perform the job at hand. This involves creating learning opportunities at regular intervals.
Tools used for performance support purposes include infographics, micro-videos, how-to videos, mobile apps, interactive PDFs, ebooks, webcasts, and podcasts. To present information most effectively, it’s important to break it into bite-sized chunks throughout their onboarding.
7. Look at options to use TWI
Training Within Industry (TWI) is a highly effective way to onboard new hires, both quickly and affordably. TWI standardizes an approach that enables experienced employees to impart their knowledge to new or younger co-workers, helping them find their way within their new working environment more quickly. Find out more about TWI and its benefits.
8. Tell an inspiring story
We all love a good story! A convincing and inspiring story about your organization’s origins or way of working helps create a bond and gives new hires a sense that they’re part of something special.
The most successful companies all have inspirational backstories that associate their brand with a particular experience. Take Bill Gates’s journey, for example, from Microsoft’s garage-based origins to billion-dollar company owner to one of the world’s richest and most generous philanthropists. What’s your company’s story?
9. Make work meaningful
Work, these days, is more than just carrying out a series of tasks to earn a daily crust. Most professionals are looking for meaning in their work. Studies have revealed that 64% of millennials would rather a fun, meaningful job and a salary of $40,000 than a dull, boring, meaningless job and a salary of $100,000.
So, focus on the bigger picture during onboarding. What impact does the new hire’s work have, both inside and outside your company’s walls? And why are you the employer that ambitious professionals would want to work for?
10. Set up a fully operational workspace
Make sure that your new hires’ workspaces are ready and waiting for them from the get-go, for example a fully installed computer with all the important applications, programs, and intranet access they’ll need. This may seem like a simple gesture, but it sends out a very powerful signal. It also means your new hire can hit the ground running.
11. Cultivate and nurture team spirit
Your new hires will be joining a team. So, start talking to them about the role they’ll be performing as early as possible and explain clearly how the team functions. Establish a dialog in which new hires also have the freedom to express their views on teamwork and collegiality.
12. Minimize the paperwork
The last thing new hires want on their first day is to be deluged under a pile of paperwork. Make sure everything you need from your new hires has already been filled out in advance. Or even better, go paperless, for example use digital forms and electronic signatures. These days, there are countless options available.
Use skills matrices to visualize progress
If you want to track the progress your new hires are making, then skills matrices are the perfect tool for the job. A skills matrix presents a full picture of all your employees’ skills at a single glance.
Advantages of using skills matrices
Skills matrices have a lot of advantages, especially when onboarding new hires.
- They display everyone’s skills at a glance so that everyone knows who’s capable of doing what, or not! This benefits both management and staff alike.
- Skills matrices give you greater insights into critical skills and requirements and form a solid basis for training and recruitment policies.
- They also make finding replacements or extra personnel a lot easier during peak periods, as they provide a clear picture of who can do what.
- You can use skills matrices at any level – team, departmental, or organizational.
- What’s more, if you keep your matrices up to date, they allow you to see the progress individuals or teams are making, for example in terms of professional development, productivity, and growth in the number of skills acquired and mastered.
Excel & AG5
There are many ways to create a skills matrix. For example, you could use a spreadsheet such as MS Excel. Although Excel is a good start, spreadsheets are incredibly error-prone and a minefield when it comes to version management. In other words, not ideal for long-term use. AG5’s skills management software offers far more flexibility and versatility and neatly avoids all the pitfalls associated with spreadsheets.
Make onboarding a priority
Proper onboarding has so many advantages. New hires feel more welcome, can get started more quickly, and join their team sooner. Use the tips in this article to give your new hires a flying start so that they can get the most out of their new job as quickly as possible!