10 Things To Make Sure You’re Not Disappointing Your Employees On The Onboarding Process
Change is exciting as well as scary. Get this wrong and everything else will crumble.
Change is exciting as well as scary.
New employees are hyper-aware of their new workplace, especially in the first few weeks. We’ve all been there and we all remember the hype of starting something new, somewhere on a fresh land of opportunity for professional development and personal growth. It’s a make or break moment.
Nobody enjoys being disappointed — but even more importantly, you don’t want to lower the bar for your new team mates.
This is the best chance you get to win their loyalty and keep them involved, so I’ve listed below what experiences would immerse the new hire best into a role of responsibility, dedication and ownership over his/her own work.
The same person can be extremely efficient in providing their best work, or thoroughly efficient in dodging work — don’t take their passion for granted, it has to be grown from a fresh slate and nurtured throughout. It’s not an easy task and most companies fail to do so.
🎯 On a mission
Everybody talks about the mission/vision of the company and their team. That happens for a reason, and the reason being that people only do stuff they see the point of doing.
Get this wrong and everything else will crumble.
Nobody does anything for free, we’re not wired to waste resources. We’re wired to conserve energy and time. Unless we know exactly what we’re spending them on, we’re not spending any.
For example: let’s say you’ve got Joe. A new hire whom you drip feed tasks like, “change the font to something more modern but not too serious-looking” and “the colours need to be a tad brighter” and even “we need fluid animations on buttons, but they shouldn’t be too fast.”
And let’s say you’ve got Alex to whom you say: “We are building a chat app that is just like slack but serves a specific niche. We want to incorporate the same playful and friendly style so that it doesn’t look daunting. Find us some fonts and colours that you feel would fit that product vision and add in some animations.”
So, which one is better?
Obviously, the latter.
And that is because Alex is aligned with our vision and has the full picture of what we need, while Joe is on the downward spiral of bringing forth separate pieces that won’t fit together.
We put Joe on a trial-and-error type task and he has no way to know what will suffice.
What we are doing to Joe is cruel.
The takeaway from this is that the best thing you can give people when managing their tasks (NOT the people themselves) is Clarity. With a capital “C”.
And they will surprise you. Or at least, give you desired results.
If people feel invisible they will be become afraid of being seen.
By this I mean that they should, from the first second of day 1, be part of the team. Not just on paper, but actually interact with their peers and have an impact on the outcome of the day.
The reason why this is important is because this is the way things will go, either way. It’s up to you to do this consciously and welcome them into the role of team-member and help them embrace their new job with everything it brings — responsibilities, standards they are held up to, targets they need to reach, team dynamics, fun, professionalism, attention to details, work ethic, rewards and incentives, etc.
They will connect best with their job when everything will feel like a game to them. But the first step is to understand the rules, requirements and incentives. Don’t forget that people’s default setting that they always return to, over time, is to do only the important things. As fast as possible and with as less effort as possible.
This is not a bad thing.
This is actually the most powerful asset of your employee — self agency and self-improvement!
They just have to be set in the right direction and put in the best place they fit in the company, where they thrive most and are the most productive.
Take this, for example: would you prefer Joe to keep on trudging on work that he dislikes but has to do, or would you prefer to give him some totally different work, which he’s great at and happy doing — even if it changes his initial job title.
You will get results out of people, not out of job titles and tasks-to-be-done.
Children are rewarded for doing good deeds, like getting good grades on tests.
This is the attitude that most people are brought up with. That good work brings good outcomes for them, therefore they will happily do good work. And if they don’t know what “good work” is, they will adjust by how much or how little they are appreciated.
We come back to the rule of saving our energy on things that are not worth it.
Make it worth it!
Happy team members, or sad and bored team members? Which one do you thing is prone to produce better work?
Focused team members with a clear vision of what achievement looks like, or confused workers who have to be there? Which ones will make the most of their time?
I am not suggesting to give them expensive prizes every time they show up for work. I am suggesting, however, to take note of their successes and have a type of rewarding system, when the company gets past hurdles and they contributed. Having a face-to-face conversation with a manager on what they have done is usually enough. Being “called in” into their office should not make them think that they’re in some kind of trouble.
Appreciation goes a long way.
Add in some competitivity.
Monthly awards for the person who made the most sales. A special award for the person who made the most calls. Maybe calls don’t translate into sales — but it will incentivise people to make more calls! More calls will be made, undoubtedly. Maybe making as many calls as possible doesn’t fit your business — find something that does fit it and incentivise it!
You, as a company, have so many things that you can use as rewards.
Give the winners an extra day off this month! If they boost up their Monday to Thursday activity, it will make up for a lazy unproductive Friday. And they get an extra weekend day!
This is how you win their loyalty. By making it worth it.
If people do not feel any instant change in their lifestyle, they will see no point in going an extra mile.
People have an inherent need to grow and improve.
It’s a basic human trait to seek and find ways to develop our skills and understanding of the world. If someone feels like stagnating, then they will feel unmotivated and will search for better places and activities which would actually have an impact on their lifestyle.
But the best part is that your new hire is surrounded by experts in the field. And those experts are out and about doing their jobs everyday alongside your new hire.
Pair them up!
Put the new guy or gal in the same team with someone who can show him/her the ropes.
What’s the point of having the new hire invent the wheel by himself?
He can assist the more experienced colleague, while the colleague shows the new hire how things work, what’s relevant, what is not and what does makes an impact on their work.
The new hire gains experience and guidance. The experienced colleague gains help and support. The business gains efficiency, faster results and a better-skilled new hire in a couple of weeks/months.
It’s a no brainer.
Let the top dogs teach the newbies!
There is a very common phenomenon that pierces most people when starting something new with already established experts in an established industry.
And when it does strike, there is no way around it. The only way is straight through it.
So your new hire, after getting to grips with his duties, will have to perform well. But there is no way that he could know that what he is doing is actually making a dent or whether he‘s just wasting everybody’s time.
It’s scary to receive responsibility. To be held accountable and to have to deliver and not drop the ball. But you don’t get much done by not taking necessary risks.
Give them a project to lead. A task to manage. Put them in charge of something that should be their domain of expertise.
Allow them to prove themselves.
To your company, but also to themselves.
Let them be important and feel accordingly.
Prep talks and celebrations can only go so far.
Your people need to feel achievement and grow, so be sure that they develop their skills well enough that they can contribute to their department and lead when there is an aspect of the business that they have to take control and responsibility for. The term used around is “ownership”.
It’s not about property.
It’s about owning the consequences. Good or bad.
I’ve seen people being “handheld” all the time and even “micromanaged”.
Your employee is an adult.
If you shelter him too much, he will start believing that it’s out of his place to reach out for more and take matter into his hands. So don’t cradle him!
Your employees are capable and will surprise you if you let them!
But you have to give up control, hand over trust, expect mistakes here and there AND be aware that the bottom line is all that matters in the end.
If mistakes shape your people into better skilled employees then — in the long term — mistakes might be worth it.
As I said before, people have an inherent need to grow and develop.
And also, monotony gets boring quick.
So raise the heat every now and then!
By bringing the excitement of a challenge, you push your employee forward. You force him to take matters into his own hands and use his brain to find solutions.
This is what you actually want if you’re in it for the long term.
People who sometimes make better decisions than you would yourself.
All of the previous points orchestrate themselves perfectly around the employee development. Each business is different and hence we cannot create a streamlined employee development path. But pretty much all businesses understand that it is an important element and that most businesses implement one. It gives employees a direction and a personal vision.
Don’t let them come to “work”. Instead let them come to a place where they develop their career in their industry while doing meaningful work.
If the previous points are implemented properly, your new hire will feel at home in no time.
But there is the slippery slope of getting tunnel vision and focusing 100% only on work.
What else is there that we should focus on, you ask?
Your employees feeling heard and seen. Because they are independent adults first of all, and secondly they are members of your team. Which they love being a part of (if the previous points are spot on within your company).
To cater to this need is actually much easier than you might be thinking.
No, we don’t need to celebrate everybody’s 5th week at work and their first morning meeting with a new colleague. And you don’t need to pamper them with stuff they probably don’t care about but are too polite to tell you.
What you CAN do to make them happy is to provide them with a workplace in which they can socialise, get their mind off work for a moment and get to know each other better.
The rest they can do themselves.
Everybody can socialise, make friends and enjoy themselves in the company of their colleagues.
Do you have a breakout rooms? Do you have a cafe? Do you organise small events?
You don’t need to overdo it. Just ask yourself whether your employees would get along outside of the workplace. If you don’t know, that could be a sign that they don’t have space within their daily schedule to be themselves and view their work life from a more relaxed perspective.
Workplaces don’t necessarily need that to be run well. But employees wouldn’t see the company as anything else than an amenity for getting paid by doing work. And they will leave to find someplace where they can get paid more or do better work.
Or just because they got bored and needed a change of environment.
The most important thing for proper communication is clarity.
And it applies to the employees’ personal vision as well. They need to know where they are heading towards. They need to know what will change if they stay with you for one year. Or two years. Or more.
It’s part an incentive mechanism and it’s also a way to put the best skilled people to do the jobs they do best. And you want that, because you want the best out of your people.
Use it in your advantage!
Give them a clear path. If it appeals to them, they will walk it.
But they need a destination to arrive at.
Some people want to become managers, others want to specialise in a non-leading role because they enjoy the work more than the prospect of climbing a ladder.
Give them a framework to follow and a timeframe. Let there be no unclarity.
There is nothing more dodgy than hearing that a colleague has been promoted because he’s been with us for a year. And some other colleague has passed that 1 year threshold and has not been promoted. Maybe there is a reason behind it. But if things are not clear, trust is crumbling and people start looking for alternatives.
And if you can take time to understand each new hires’ ambitions and where they want to be within the company in X amount of time, talk to them and let them know what your expectations are of him/her. And how both of you can align your goals.
But don’t give generalistic or vague expectations. Craft a roadmap for them, and when they tick off all of the requirements, promote them because that was the (clearly laid out) plan!
💰 Paid well
Needless to say, the employee roadmap implies increases in salaries.
They become better assets for your business. They output better work than they did before. They trained to become better and more productive for your business.
If you want to keep them and — even better — have them be motivated to become even better trained, more involved and produce an even better output, incentivise them with better pay!
…or you could start from square 0 again with someone else, when your well-trained, experienced people start leaving towards better-paid opportunities.
If you lose them, you usually can’t get them back. And if you try, you might succeed, but it doesn’t look good when you start asking them not to leave and making them offerings to convince them to stay.
Have them stay and give their best, because they know their being taken care of!
Use the points in this article to craft yourself a checklist for new hires!
This article is comprehensive and contains all of the things that employees need in order to attain long-term satisfaction within their workplace.
They will find their work meaningful and their schedules and roadmaps clear enough so they know what they have to do and what to expect in return. At the same time they will have the freedom and flexibility to find the ways in which they can contribute best and rise up to the challenges that will enable them to grow and be the most effective at their job
Good luck! 🥂