7 tips for onboarding new employees
What steps have you taken to assure yourself new hires make a successful transition into your organization?
Failure to adequately address this issue could result in the loss of a potentially good employee, a waste of training dollars or the threat of legal action from dismissals.
None are acceptable options.
Let’s review important steps managers can follow to provide new employees with a strong opportunity to contribute and remain employed.
1. Train to build the proper skills
Few employees come to the job with all the skills needed to carry out their responsibilities. Employers must educate before they terminate. Knowing what you need upfront greatly simplifies the hiring process. Consider testing prospective employees for skill level prior to hiring them.
2. Don’t abandon them after they are hired
If employed, don’t place them into the workplace and then forget them. Observe their work. Encourage and educate at every opportunity. The time spent early in the career chain has tremendous payoff down the line. Everyone likes a little attention and, for the new, nervous employee, this is especially welcomed.
3. Tell them now
Feedback is a critical growth process. Tell often and tell accurately how you feel. Fine-tuning skills builds employee self-motivation. Avoid accumulating your concerns until the annual performance review. That is a sure way to de-motivate and deflate.
4. Encourage lots of questions
The person with the most questions controls the conversation and learns the most. Ask employees questions and encourage them to ask you questions. That way, you both engage in control and learning. Any question is a good one. Be patient, kind and truthful as you address concerns. Encourage openness and support asking clarifying questions. This can be your greatest learning tool.
5. Design training around individual deficiencies
General training works well but customization is better. Employees are unique and have their own special needs. Design training to address these needs. Create a winning combination by raising expectations and providing customized learning opportunities.
6. Address training needs in performance reviews
Schedule a performance review at the end of the first quarter. Repeat a quarterly review as needed. Briefly discuss your observations of the quarter again, the training initiatives implemented and any progress or delays. Agree on any remediation activities needed or identify other skills to develop. This review can be a real attitude booster by offering attention and special encouragement — both powerful tools.
7. Document, document, document
I cannot overemphasize the importance of proper documentation of observations and conversations. Review your written comments with employees and have them sign the documents as proof they were told. This is a formal process, but it has great legal weight. Relying on your memory and some “karma” to pull off an effective review of employee progress just won’t work. Put your thoughts in writing and willingly share them with employees. Lastly, be open to their feedback and be willing to adjust if needed.
Doing your job right from the beginning prevents an ugly scene at the end. It’s a fair process that will serve you well. Can you afford to do any less?
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