Everything has a starting point. When a new employee joins the team, no matter the size or style of work, a process of “onboarding” begins. The following will highlight the value of this practice in retaining new employees, and by extension, strengthening the foundation of any organization.
As we have detailed in recent Newsletters, identifying and hiring quality job applicants is more difficult than ever. As David Smith noted in the E.A.S.I-Consult® February newsletter (https://easiconsult.com/2022/02/27/dont-disregard-your-silver-medalist-candidates/), it is essential that companies look beyond a candidate’s experience, job skills, and knowledge, and endeavor to evaluate a candidate’s “soft skills,” or attitude-related capabilities. After the hiring administrator has completed this type of assessment, and their preferred candidate accepts the job offer, what comes next?
In retrospect, many new employees often criticize the experience they had as they began a new job. Dori Meinert, in SHRM Magazine (June 2016) compiled “Winners,” “Losers,” and “Game-Stoppers” for Onboarding.
Of the nine “winning” approaches that Meinert listed, we have seen three of them be quite successful.
- Welcome Sign
A sign welcoming the new employee, providing some basic information about them, such as job title, department, etc., is always important. This simple, yet impactful, introduction not only makes the new employee feel valued but also connects this employee to his/her new colleagues. Current staff members are kept up to date when new team members arrive, speeding up the introduction phase and helping them integrate more easily and with greater efficacy. In today’s virtual workplace, posting this information on an internal company website, or on an initial page of the videoconference system, works very well.
- Partner/Mentor for New Employee
Since all new employees have many questions, an experienced employee from the same area/department should be assigned to be the new employee’s “partner,” or “mentor.” This partner does not take the place of their new leader but should be prepared to be available to answer questions, show the employee around, accompany the employee to lunch/breaks, and assist the person in any way necessary to maintain a strong connection to the organization. In addition – and this is crucial – this partner should be available for at least the first month of the new employee’s time at the company. It is also important for the partner to regularly “check-in” with the new employee to ensure a smooth and successful transition into their new job.
- Prepare the New Employee’s Workplace
Whether the new person will be at a workstation, office, or even working from home, the company must make sure that everything is set up so the employee can begin to work and learn, from Day One. The lack of computer access to all applicable files and/or internal sites, an ill-equipped workstation, or not providing any other necessary work/safety equipment, always leads to immediate frustration. This mistake sends the message that “the company is not ready for you,” or “the company isn’t truly prepared to have you in this position.” Unfortunately, not having everything prepared is the most often cited complaint from new employees.
- Alone at Lunch or Break
It is often challenging to begin working with new colleagues, but to be left alone for lunch or breaks, etc., can make a new employee feel forgotten. Although an effective partner should never allow this type of thing to happen, it is also nice to have different people scheduled for each day during an employee’s initial week or longer. In this way, the new employee gets to know many colleagues quickly, while also feeling involved and valued.
- Not Removing the Previous Employee’s Information
Whether the new employee is replacing a person who left the company or simply transferred to another job, all information from the previous employee should be removed. Not only does this ensure that no personal information is accidentally shown to a new employee, but it also removes the signal that perhaps the company would prefer to have the “old employee” back.
- Manic Partner/Mentor
Assigning a partner/mentor person who cannot be available, or stays focused, can ruin the entire Onboarding process. It is vital for the new employee’s leader or H.R. manager to check in with the mentor and the new employee to confirm that this partnership is working well. If it is not, a new partner/ mentor should be provided immediately.
- Inappropriate Initial Work Assignment
Meinert noted examples of new employees who were assigned to attend initial training that was poorly presented, or not completed. Other situations were noted where the new employee was abandoned while in a large conference or meeting. Or worse, the new employee was given an assignment that was not related to their new job.
In today’s competitive employment environment, it is crucial for companies to assess/evaluate all candidates with a comprehensive – and validated – process. It is equally important that all newly hired employees are effectively onboarded. Remember, a person who is starting a new position has been looking for a job. Their resume is up-to-date, and they may have even had several job offers. It would be quite easy for this new employee to quickly move on to another job. If your organization does not want to be forced to fill the same job opening twice, a superb onboarding process is essential.
About the Author
For years, E.A.S.I.-Consult® has been helping companies identify employees who are most likely to succeed in a variety of jobs – both the individual contributor and leadership positions. And, then helping these companies to establish processes that will maximize the opportunity that each of these new employees can excel. As a leader in researching and identifying key capabilities necessary for many positions, we assist organizations to reach their full potential.
Joseph Gier, Ph.D. is Vice President – Consulting Services at E.A.S.I-Consult and is a licensed Psychologist. E.A.S.I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized organizations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. Utilizing scientific approaches, E.A.S.I.-Consult provides superior results to Business – Driven by Science. Our specialties include leadership and leadership potential assessment, online employment assessment, customized skills assessment, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. To learn more about E.A.S.I.-Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com, or call 800.922.EASI.