Further Steps in On Boarding

In our last post we looked at the foundational elements of a successful on boarding program – what to do before you’ve even met the person you want to hire.

The second touchpoint is the interview process. Walking through the reason for this role, the expected day-to-day as granularly as possible, and getting the candidate to talk through their view of a 30/60/90 plan (at second or final stage) as part of the interviewing process ensures alignment of understanding and acts as a catalyst for further distillation in conversation, and provides maximal benefit.

Taking informative and actionable references is also very telling, and should not performed just as a compliance exercise. Speaking to previous managers 1:1 you can glean highly valuable information about how to work with this new person, and improve how they are integrated and managed with your company. Shy away from the typical format of ‘Would you recommend Jane?’ or ‘Was Stephen good at X?’ because these are zero-sum questions that any referee is going to support in the positive and thus of little-to-no value. Instead questions that lead to discussion, “When Stephen was working on Z project, what were his specific contributions, and how do you feel he could have better delivered in retrospect?” are immensely more valuable. You should be using references as further elicitation, not a tool to provide shallow lip-service confirmation to a decision you’ve already made. This information can be pivotal in how you work with this person in future.

Once you’re ready to offer, making contact and talking through any questions and concerns they might have – or that you have – is also part of the on boarding. Like any relationship, it’s much better to have complete clarity and airing of any points of potential friction before getting hitched! Are there any contractual obligations with their current employer? Do they need any more information before making a decision? Are they clear on the remuneration structure and expectations/KPI’s for the position?

Before their start date reach out to them to let them know you’re excited about their joining, and ensure they understand key info; start date and time, dress-code, and what you have planned for their first few days. It should be mentioned, having new starts come in mid-week for their first day, not Monday. Why? Well, by allowing them to have the time to get the foundations for what exceptional looks like, what the everyday tools & tech are, how the teams tie together, and enough time to reflect, they can start to put together how to do their job in the best way possible, and kick off the ‘first’ new week with vigor and enthusiasm. Traditionally, the Monday start means they are overwhelmed, exhausted from excess hours trying to catch-up and impress, and come the weekend are already drained. This sets up the wrong attitude. With mid-week starts – Wednesday ideally – retention rates for the first 6 months are up nearly 15% with general performance metrics up over 10%. Not a bad thing given the zero down-side.

It should go without saying but sadly, no. Do they have a computer ready to roll with all their details and all accounts and logins ready to go? Do they have a clean and organized desk with the requisite stationary? And, yes, swag if you must. Branded mugs and tshirts and whatever else aren’t bad – in fact they’re great. They just aren’t the complete story to on boarding.

Once they’ve started, a clear education program around the tools and practices you use internally is a great idea. Do you use Jira? Cool – there are tonnes of resources out there you can utilize as training material so they’re at least comfortable with the fundamentals. Do you have specific workflows you can walk them through and corresponding documentation? Do you have regular meetings or practices? Good – put them in their calendar with clear requirements about what they need to do or expect. Is there a review period/practice in place? Document it so they know when and what success looks like, and meet with them regularly in their first week/month/quarter one-on-one to help them correct any issues or make adjustments, and answer their concerns. The more time and thought you put into these practices, the greater the rewards; an employer of choice, incredible levels of retention, and if the stars align, company growth and success. On boarding is an investment that pays dividends. Do it properly.

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