Basics of the New Employee Onboarding Process Every First-Time Manager Should Consider
Imagine you are going on a trip. You arrive at the airport, but there are no signposts and no one to ask. The place might be full of opportunity, but it leaves you clueless and confused.
This is, to me, like a new employee onboarding process that is either poorly designed or non-existent. What do you think this leaves your new starter feeling like?
According to studies, only 12% of new starters are satisfied with their new company onboarding. That leaves a lot to be desired. The worst thing I have personally seen was a manager unaware that his new employee was starting that day and had no equipment or induction. So much about first impressions.
There might be the impression that the new employee onboarding process is the sole responsibility of HR. I'm afraid I must disagree with that. HR will take care of contracts and company processes. That's it.
My desire as a manager is to get my new employee productive as soon as possible. Leaving them clueless and unprepared doesn't do that.
Here are my new employee onboarding process considerations to help you on your journey as a first-time manager.
New Employee Onboarding Process: A Timeline
Before the new starter’s first day
Here is the kicker, good onboarding of new employees starts with a clear job description in the hiring process. Yes, it is a separate process but imagine your new starter arrives on their first day and their expectations of responsibilities are not met. I have seen that happen, which is profoundly demotivating and confusing.
One month before the start date
Get in touch with HR and IT and ask what needs to be arranged by the manager. Equipment, access to facilities, and system access are what you should be thinking about. Also, is there a formal probation process, and what are the submissions necessary for you to do?
Please start thinking about what the new starter should do in their first week, the first month, and during the probation process. Write a plan that will be shared with the new starter. This will be a big help to your new employee to understand what is expected of them.
1-2 weeks before the start date
Follow up at least once between the signed contract and the first day with a personalized email and the offer to clear up open questions in a phone call. It shows that you care.
A week before the start date, I strongly recommend asking the new starter if they received instructions for their first day. I have been in a situation where the HR process changed without notice, and the hiring manager was made responsible for making arrangements for the arrival on the first day. Glad I had checked in with my new starter.
This is my favorite tip. Write a checklist for the probation period with tasks to complete for you as the hiring manager. This should be for essential duties the week before the start date, the first day, the first week, and the first month. You will be surprised how many things need doing, including essential work-related items, up to trivial things like how the canteen works.
On the day
Even if induction is handled by HR, take the time to meet and greet your new hire on arrival.
Arrange lunch with the team, or at least a welcome video call in our new world of working.
Ensure the new starter’s equipment is ready to use and help them with the initial IT setup. Ensure the new starter has access to all critical IT systems, including email!
Take time to talk the new starter through the probation plan and objectives. Share a copy with them. Explain how the probation will be evaluated and how problems will be addressed.
Hand the new starter a list of important contacts and shortcuts to company sites they will use often. It would be even better if you had a team manual.
The first month
Start every day with a 15min check-in. This allows the new starter to ask questions, and you can help them to set objectives and plans for the day.
I strongly suggest you be physically present with the new starter by sitting next to them in their first month. That will allow them to resolve problems immediately, which makes the transition into the new job smoother.
End of probation
Complete the probation and schedule regular 1:1s as with every other team member. Set annual goals in line with the company’s performance review process.
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