We’ve talked before on the Artisan blog about starting a new job and offered tips on getting through the first 3, 6, 9, and even 12 months in a new role.  Many companies, however, do not have an established system for bringing new employees through that first year, and considering the stress those employees are feeling, it’s a good idea to have a plan for helping those new hires become more comfortable as quickly as possible.

An Onboarding Plan v. Orientation and Training

Every employer has some kind of orientation system and training in place if it is needed for a particular job.  But often, when a company hires someone with all the skills to do their job on day one, will stop after an orientation period and just set them to work with no definite plan to help them succeed.

It is important to make sure that a new hire understands the company’s expectations, is aided in setting short and long-term goals, and understands how and when he or she will be evaluated.
Another important addition to successful onboarding, however, is giving your new hire opportunities to talk to his or her manager about concerns they might have at the 3 and 6 month points in their new role.  Give them a safe space to discuss their own impression of the job, how it could be improved or changed to make them happier or more productive as well as ask questions.  Often, unless given an opportunity, a new employee will keep to themselves, fly under the radar, when proactive communication could improve a situation for everyone involved.
Tips for Onboarding:
  • Develop a real plan–Don’t assume that new employees will find a way to get what they need or want. Make a schedule to meet with new hires at regular intervals and stick to it.
  • Tell them about it–Make sure your new hires know that they will have chances to talk to you about how things are going for them.  Ask them to make a list of questions they have when they come up so that you can discuss them when you meet.
  • Follow through–Don’t let your onboarding plan fall through the cracks if a new hire is going well.  Even if you just get together to talk about how great it’s been so far, you can take the opportunity to let your employee know that they are valued and that you both that they are succeeding.
No matter how perfect a fit a candidate is into a company, he or she needs to know how they are doing, that they have made the right decision and that you are both on the same page.  Give all your new hires a chance to feel great about their role in your company and you will reap the rewards of a happy and productive workforce.
Wendy Stackhouse for Artisan Creative