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  • Forbes Coaches Council

Onboarding A New Employee? Follow These 11 Effective Strategies

Originally Published on Forbes

Written By: Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Onboarding new hires is a crucial—and sometimes regularly repeated—process for businesses. Not having a concrete training plan in place can cause anxiety and confusion for both the incoming employees and those tasked with training them. You not only need to be sure you don’t overwhelm new team members in their first days, but also that you give them all the information they need—including the “small, everyday” details that can sometimes be taken for granted.

If you want your new team members to receive the best grounding for their roles, but you don’t want to sidetrack seasoned employees with complicated and repetitive training stints, you need to develop effective and efficient onboarding processes. According to members of Forbes Coaches Council, here are some aspects of your business that must be covered by a good training program, as well as strategies you can use to effectively and efficiently onboard your new team members.

1. Cover The Cultural Aspect, Too

The most stressful part of joining a new organization is not feeling comfortable, accepted and part of the tribe. It is important to share the unspoken office/team expectations, inside jokes and cultural norms for people to be at ease. Perhaps the most important anxiety to quell is “Who am I going to eat lunch with?" Onboarding for performance is important, but onboarding a new friend is key. - Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, LLC

2. Put Their Role In The Context Of The Big Picture

Onboarding is stressful because we try to get a great deal completed within a short period of time. It takes time and works best when the person has clear goals and knows what they are accountable for in the process. The process starts with helping a new employee see the big picture and how each of the parts fits together. Build context and help a new employee understand the culture. - Brad Federman, F&H Solutions Group

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

3. Treat Your New Employee Like A Customer

The key to onboarding is to have a customer mindset, as your employee is really a customer. Key things that customers look for are transparency, expectations of what they are receiving, lifetime value and customer support. When developing an onboarding program, keep these things in mind. Customers don’t show up for long orientations or a coffee mug. They show up to invest in you. - Kristy McCann, GoCoach

4. Have Multiple Employees Serve As Resources For The New Hire

When onboarding new hires, they need to get up to speed quickly on terminology, acronyms and important clients, as well as where everyone goes for lunch and the gathering place after work. Creating a diverse team of employees who can be a go-to resource prevents overburdening a single current employee while ensuring new employees have options to get the answers they need. - Stacey Gordon, Rework Work

5. Share Expectations Honestly, Openly And Directly

Ambiguity and lack of communication by the manager cause confusion as to what the requirements are and will only lead to more problems down the line in the new hire’s employment. Share key expectations of the role during the hiring process and again within their first week on the job. Allow room for questions and clarification to ensure you are both aligned on what success looks like in the role. - Aaron Levy, Raise The Bar

6. Be Clear And Consistent In Your Steps And Processes

There’s nothing more stressful for a new employee than to show up to a confused workplace with no clear assignments or office space. Document your onboarding process with clear, consistent steps to ensure your new hire feels welcome and valued. Disseminate the information to training teams, technical support services and new peers, as well as leaders several levels up, to eliminate confusion. - Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CIC, COPNS, CTTCC, An Expert Resume

7. Expose New Hires To Every Department

Onboarding new hires can be a tedious task when it comes to training and orientation. However, if new hires are required to spend “a day in the life” training in every department of the company, this would provide a better understanding of overall company operations. Additionally, each department may designate a point person to answer questions and provide tips and assistance to all new hires. - Lori A. Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group LLC

8. Give Them A Safe Space To Ask Questions

Often, the person doing the onboarding has a checklist of things they need to cover, but they can forget to check with the employee on if they “get” what they just learned. Make it a safe environment for them to admit if they haven’t fully comprehended something. This will give you the opportunity to explain it in a different way. Keep checking in with them throughout the onboarding process. - Elizabeth Pearson, Elizabeth Pearson Executive Coaching

9. Accommodate Different Learning Styles

Provide effective resources to address different learning styles for new hires to access as they begin working on their own. These will help support the verbal introductions given by the trainer. Invite and receive questions from the new hire in a positive way. Listen to understand from their perspective and ask clarifying questions. This will help inform the answer you choose to share with them. - Kris McCrea Scrutchfield, McCrea Coaching

10. Assign Them A Buddy

Intimacy is a key ingredient in successful attachment to a workplace. Assigning a buddy to every new hire with the explicit goal of helping this new employee feel seen, understood and helped is a highly efficient way to onboard them. Buddies are then readily able to customize onboarding support to meet the new hire’s needs. - Maureen Cunningham, Up Until Now Inc.

11. Share The Load And Take Your Time

Many companies and new employees both want to hit the ground running from day one. Instead, pace the onboarding process, and spread out the onboarding to help the new employee not only get to know their coworkers, but also better understand the company. Encourage the new hire to familiarize themselves with the role and the company and then start to introduce responsibilities.  - Billy Williams, Archegos

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