Integrating New Hires into Your Organization
No matter how experienced your new hire is, they don’t know your organization. They have to learn the culture of the organization, who the players are, and who has the hidden power even if they aren’t “in charge.” Then they have to learn their new job and how they fit into the scheme of things. This can be a lot to take in as they join your company. So how do they figure this all out? And how do you help them?
It can take a lot of time while they flounder and make some mistakes as they learn how to get things done, or you can assist by on-boarding them so they can be productive faster. And by doing so, they will make less critical mistakes, make better judgement calls and be more highly regarded within the organization. It will help your new hire to adjust faster and make greater contributions to their department and project teams. The first six months of a new hire’s work life is the most important when they decide whether to stay or leave. How you make them feel is integral to your ability to retain talent.
Five Easy Ways to Successfully Onboard New Hires
1. Start Before They Do
You’ve hired a wonderful new person to finally relieve the stress that has been shared among your direct reports while you interviewed multiple people. Now the time is almost here when your new hire will show up for their first day.
The first step is to send an announcement email to your staff and the stakeholders who they will work with about your new hire. Include information about their background, why they were hired, what role they will fill and the project teams they will be on. Your current staff will be able to greet them knowing something about their background as a starting point for building a relationship with them.
2. Orientation Onboarding
When football season opens, players are handed a playbook in training camp, football’s version of orientation. Each team, like each company, has a different playbook and if a player is cut, they must hand it back to the coach. As the Philadelphia Soul football team arrived for training camp in 2008, the cover to their playbook announced that they would be Arena Bowl champs. On July 12th of that year, they were. They did it again in 2016 and 2017. That’s an example of the importance of proper onboarding and orientation. When players believe they can do it, they will.
It has the ability to engage your “players” at a time when they are eager to learn about your company’s rules of success. They will have questions and may ask things that no one has thought about for a while. That is a good thing – it will make you think and make your organization better as you decide how to answer their questions.
So if you want to instill excitement in your new hires, take advantage of your opportunity to create your own employee playbook with the important things new hires need to know about being successful.
3. What’s in Your Playbook?
Start with a simple overview of your business or organization. If you have a overview business plan, share it. Include an organization chart that lays out where everyone sits in the organization. Want to really engage them? Include their department and their name on your organization chart. Make them feel like they are already part of the team… because they are.
You can also create a list of the most important people in the organization that she will need to know. What do they do? What are their titles? Who reports to whom? When would they go to those people and what will they need to know to be successful when they get in front of them? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then go ask those important people when they want to be in the loop, when they don’t have to be, and answer the questions posed here.
Next, how does your organization function, formally and informally? Both are important. You might want to create note pages in your playbook for new hires to write in some of this information. Taking notes help people remember what you say. Your playbook can have the prompts. You can even make this an interactive exercise by setting time aside for each new hire to interview their manager and teammates to find out how they work and what the company culture is “here.” Be sure to communicate to their manager that this is part of your onboarding process and when it will occur.
Many companies plan their onboarding sessions so that all people hired in a particular time period attend a new hire orientation together. If you do that, you will want to have a discussion with this group after they complete the exercise above. If your company doesn’t do that, consider with your business teams how valuable that would be to them and to their manager. The business teams will tell you what they want their new hires to know so they hit the ground running.
4. Set Attainable 30-60-90 Day Goals
The new hire’s manager should discuss the goals they would like their “successful new hire” to achieve in the next three months. Coming in, new hires should have asked the question, “What are the most important goals you want to see me achieve in my first three months if you hire me?” So both the new hire and their manager should already be thinking about what those goals should be.
Then you can include the goal section in your playbook. Goals should be broken out by month and they should be achievable. Create “SMART” goals that are:
These are the goals that will drive the new hire’s focus for the next three months, so don’t overload them with a lot of them. Three to five goals are plenty to start. As they achieve them, their manager can add more, mutually. This way, both the manager and the new hire will have a detailed plan of action for the first 90 days and the new hire will know what is expected of them and when. It also allows the new hire to “bond” with their manager.
As the HR professional, coach the manager on how to deliver feedback, both positive and instructive to your new employee. Don’t let a manager criticize a new hire. That could lead to the new hire’s decision to quit, thinking that the environment is not one in which they can function. Many managers are promoted because they were good at their former job, but leading people is a completely different skill set. Help managers be productive leaders and guide them on how to coach their direct reports and their new hires.
5. Make Introductions
This single act may be one of the most important and powerful things the manager does when a new person is hired. You won’t believe how impactful it is to have the manager introduce their new hire to company employees and, if appropriate, its customers. Failure to do this will leave a negative taste in the new hire’s mouth for a very long time. It will permeate their thoughts and disengage them so fast that anything you may have done up to this point could, and most probably will, take a back seat when they think about how they were treated. Be sure to introduce them to the team.
Your new hire should have an opportunity to view the organizational chart while the manager explains what everyone does and how things work. Next, introduce them to their colleagues and to the stakeholders they will be interacting with on a daily or project basis. Their manager can tell the new hire how their role will interact with each person and how they will all work together.
Also, if the new hire is in sales, arrange for them to meet or talk with any customers they will be responsible for handling. The manager, or if possible, the previous sales person if they are still with the company, should plan turnover calls with the new hire to do this introduction.
On the first day, the manager should take the new person to lunch, either one-on-one or with other colleagues in the department so they can get to know one another in a more informal setting.
Conduct an office tour and point out the small, but important stuff: where the restrooms, kitchen, conference rooms, and copiers. Show them how to use the phone, set up and retrieve voice mail, and how to dial out. These small but essential things make a lasting impression with your new hire.
BONUS: One-On-One Time with the Manager
Be sure that their manager sets up on-going one-on-one time with their new hire to get and give them feedback. Today’s employees are hungry for feedback about their performance. Managers should be aware of this and be ready to set up one-on-one time to provide their new employee with a forum to ask questions, get directions and receive feedback on what they have accomplished so far. This will give the new hire the opportunity to ask questions and learn what is important to their manager.
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