#1 — GET BUY-IN FROM THE BUSINESS
As the hiring manager, it’s your responsibility to gain the support of the business. Explain to any direct reports, colleagues and senior stakeholders when they’re joining. Clarify what their role and responsibilities are.
Be transparent about why you hired them and the unique value they bring. Share the reasons you hired externally, rather than from within the business. Overcome objections or answer any questions to gain acceptance before they join.
#2 — HELP THEM BUILD CREDIBILITY
It’s a challenge for new professionals and leaders to merge into the existing culture. To be successful, they need to build credibility, trust and respect. This helps them develop confidence and come up to speed quickly in their new role.
To support them, identify the key stakeholders they need to establish relationships with. Be proactive about setting up meetings and making direct introductions once your new employee starts. Reach out to them on LinkedIn to welcome them to the team and urge their peers to do the same.
Encourage colleagues to introduce themselves, answer questions or take them for coffee. Match them with an onboarding ‘buddy’ outside their immediate team. This person’s role is to educate them on the company culture, people, systems and benefits.
Make it clear everyone has a role to play to support their new team member. I found out several weeks into a new job my company had set up an internal buddy system. My ‘buddy’ hadn’t even bothered to introduce themselves!
Let your team know this isn’t acceptable and you’ll be checking to see who is co-operating. It’s your responsibility to support your new employee, so lead by example!
#3 — CREATE + COMMUNICATE A CLEAR PLAN
One of the reasons people quit in their first few months is due to unclear expectations. To prevent this, take the time to create a 90 day onboarding plan before your new team member starts. Set out specific outcomes for each month, keeping the goals realistic.
Share the plan with your new-starter and refer to it regularly. Tweak it together as you go to incorporate your new employee’s goals too.
Clearly communicate your expectations and make sure they understand what’s required. But give them autonomy to figure out HOW to reach their goals and targets.
#4 — CHECK-IN REGULARLY
People leave when their boss is inaccessible or they don’t feel they have adequate support. I recommend checking in on your new-starter at regular intervals.
Do it daily for the first few weeks. Let them know you have certain windows in the day free to answer their questions. For example, thirty minutes at the start, end of day and lunchtime.
Set up a regular weekly in person catch-up and commit to it consistently. Don’t cancel — this is disrespectful and sends the message they’re not important. Investing the extra time upfront will be worth it in the long run!
#5 — PROVIDE MEANINGFUL FEEDBACK
When new employees don’t work out, it’s often due to a lack of communication and feedback. They feel the pressure to get results or want to make a good impression, so don’t speak up about any issues. This is why it’s critical to provide specific, meaningful feedback on a regular basis — and ask for theirs.
Offer on the job feedback in real time. Then, share more detailed feedback in your weekly one-on-one catch-ups. What are they doing well — and what are the areas for improvement?
Let them know it’s OK to ask for help or make mistakes. Normalise the fact it takes time to come up to speed and they’re not expected to know everything upfront.
Also, encourage them to share their feedback. What do they feel is working — or not working? Give them space to ask questions, share their insights and ideas.
It shouldn’t be a surprise if someone doesn’t work out or decides to leave! If you create open lines of communication and share feedback, you’ll be aware of and able to address any issues early on.
#6 — GIVE THEM RESPONSIBILITY
Once you’ve communicated expectations, let your new-starter take ownership of their role. Have them figure out the ‘how’ — or the specific steps they’ll take on a daily basis to reach their goals.
People leave jobs when they’re micro-managed or have a lack of autonomy. Ask for their input and ideas. Give them responsibility, the opportunity to contribute and take the lead on rolling out new projects.
It’s more important than ever to develop and retain your best people — and this starts the moment they join. These strategies will support you to effectively onboard your new hires. All so you can limit turnover and set them up for success long-term!