What Most Managers Miss: The Insights of a New Hire
I am constantly surprised at how many companies and organizations miss or under utilize an important human resources tool: onboarding. It may be one of the most overlooked yet most important steps in creating a productive workforce.
While most organizations have some form of orientation, even several layers of “organizational socialization,” onboarding is somewhat different.
Of course, you must orient newly hired employees on the company’s mission, vision and values. Certainly, you want to introduce them to the organization’s history and the “ins and outs” of their department, operations and procedures. They need to be enrolled in the benefits plans and get set up for payroll. All of that is orientation. Onboarding, however, is a little different.
Most orientation involves giving insights and information to new hires. Onboarding is more about getting insights and information from the new hire.
Although it’s often overlooked, a new employee has very valuable information to share that management needs to get. That’s where onboarding comes in.
It does take some focus. Onboarding takes at least 6 meetings in the first 90 days of hiring. There should be regular, one-on-one meetings with the new hire. The new hire’s immediate supervisor and the supervisor’s superior need to be part of onboarding.
What information are you looking for?
When any finalist candidate is being interviewed, there is an element of “selling” the candidate on coming to work with the organization and what it will be like working at the organization.
In onboarding, both the immediate supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor try to learn if there is a variance between what candidates are told and what they actually find once they are on the job. That variance is important to know and understand, and getting it within 90 days is critical.
Bosses need to know if their are variances between what a new hire thinks it’s like to work at the company and what they actually think it’s like working there. Both management levels need to know that, so they can make adjustments in their “sales pitch” to new employees and/or make adjustments in the internal operation (as needed or appropriate).
Asking within 90 days is important, because the new hire is still objective, has “fresh eyes” on the organization and probably will give an honest answer because he or she is not invested in the “old ways” of the organization and has not been indoctrinated into withholding information.
Additionally, the boss’ boss will be asking the immediate supervisor for an evaluation of the new hire’s performance. If improvements are needed, having it come from both levels of management will reinforce the urgency for the new hire to see the wisdom and make the changes.
If the higher level of management hears from the immediate supervisor that the new hire is doing well, that can be passed on to the new hire. Praise is always good.
Onboarding is about communication up and down the organization. It is about finding out what is good, as well as what needs improvement and then dialoging about it. New people should not be “thrown in to sink or swim”. Recruiting and hiring are too expensive for this.
Onboarding is the effort made to make sure the new hire is connected to management, assimilating to the organization and providing upper management with insights into the effectiveness of mid-management. It’s about making the organization better.