Employee Onboarding

Start Employees Off On The Right Foot

For most companies, onboarding is an afterthought. They put all their time and effort into hiring a great candidate and then just expect them to show up on day one and start performing. That’s not a recipe for success.

Onboarding needs to be much more than just a job description and a first-day handshake. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Onboarding starts the day that your new employee accepts their offer. And it’s your one chance to make sure they get off on the right foot. Your one chance to make sure they are set up to not only survive but thrive at your company. We believe onboarding should address three different areas: Culture, Role, and Growth.

Culture is pretty straightforward, giving them an introduction to the culture of the company.

This includes Core Values, Core Purpose, and Core Competence.

Core Values are the DNA of your company. They make you who you are. Your company’s Core Values help align behavior so that everyone knows how you expect them to act and interact with others and with customers. They are the handful of rules defining your culture. Core Values act as a guide to how you want things done at your company.

Core Purpose is why you do what you do. Why what you do matters. Generally, it’s bigger than just to make a profit. It’s your perpetual mission in the world that is guiding and inspiring, both you and your employees. It gives everyone at your company something to believe in, to unify around, and to strive to achieve. Your Core Purpose should be inspiring, but relatable. It should give everyone a line of sight as to why what they do matters.

Core Competence is what you do. Specifically, what you do better than any other company. It’s similar to Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept. What can you be best at in the world? It serves to focus your efforts, keep you in your wheelhouse, and keep you away from shiny objects that distract you and split your attention. By focusing on your Core Competence you can stay intentional and organized. Your Core Competence will serve as strategic guardrails to keep you on the path to success.

Role is the traditional approach to onboarding.

Tell your new employee what is expected of them while they’re with your company.

The first step is to give them a detailed job description. In order to excel in any position, an employee must have absolute clarity about role expectations. It comes down to communication. You need to be able to share with extreme clarity what it is you expect from your new hire. Part of that role clarity is also helping them connect their role to the larger company. Giving them an understanding of why it matters that they show up every day.

Then you need to introduce them to their team and their collaborators. Create a schedule for them over their first week or month to sit down with each of their coworkers and have a meaningful conversation. Not just in staff meetings, but one-on-one. It’s not your job to make sure that everyone is best friends, but you need to ensure that team members are building strong enough relationships that they can work together effectively.

And last, but certainly not least, you have to get them the training and resources they need to perform their job. You can’t just hand someone a job description on day one and expect them to perform. You need to create a training schedule that ensures they are properly trained on how to execute each item in their job description. And don’t just trust that they know how to do something because they did it at their last job. They may have a completely different understanding of that task than you do. Take the time to review their role and how you expect them to get everything done.

Growth is probably a new one for many of you.

Focusing on growth starting day one, lets the employee know that you care about them as an individual, not just as a cog in the wheel. It starts with a discussion about their current strengths and weaknesses and leads to a discussion about where and how they would like to grow while with your company.

Using Behavioral Assessments is a great way to kick off this conversation. You can have an upfront discussion about where they will be a great fit for their new role and where they might find things a little more frustrating. It gives them the opportunity to speak to their strengths as well as let you know what type of work they really enjoy doing and what keeps them excited and engaged.

As you’re discussing their potential weaknesses, you should also ask how they prefer to receive feedback. This is a conversation that most managers don’t have with their employees. Which is a real missed opportunity. Having this conversation early on in your relationship sets the stage for continuous feedback. It lets the employee know that you plan on giving them constant feedback on how to improve and it shows that you care enough to ensure that you’re delivering it in a way that they can receive it and act on it.

Once you’ve discussed their current strengths and how to give effective feedback then you can talk about their hopes and dreams. What do they want to get out of this job? Out of life? And how can you help them along that journey? Understanding their goals, both personal and professional, will help you better tailor their role and future opportunities to keep them engaged and invested in the company.

Simply put, investing in your people on the front end, pays off on the back end.

Onboarding is often an overlooked part of the employee lifecycle, but it has a huge impact on the longevity of your employees. If you invest time in them from the beginning, they will be happier and more engaged throughout their time with you. Taking the time to make sure they are set up for success in more ways than just knowing how to do their work will go a long way. Start focusing your onboarding on Culture, Role, and Growth and you’ll see an improvement in staff satisfaction and retention.

Eure Consulting