…Now Integrate Them!
Now that your ideal candidate has been hired and the ink is dry on the offer letter, it will be critical that your new employee lands on Day One hitting the ground running and feeling like they are welcome and fit in. It is proven that organizations who have a comprehensive Orientation Program (some call it On-boarding) see higher engagement levels.
Your Orientation/On-boarding Program is a powerful opportunity to create a feeling of “wow” and immediate engagement for a new employee. Whether it is their first job as a new graduate or the next stage in a seasoned professional’s career, the way they are welcomed and integrated into the organization sets the stage for how they feel about their employer and impact their performance over time.
If we place ourselves in the mind of the employee as they come through the door of our organization, can they say, “This organization wants me here, they knew I was coming, and I have a work space and an activated computer/phone/building access card to use right away”. The employee is also impressed by saying, “Someone took the time to discuss how I get paid, I know how my Company Benefits are administered, where are the Policies and Procedures and Mission/Vision/Core Values of the organization and how they relate to my position, I was provided direction who my resources are, where to find critical information when I need it, and all job-related and/or other training (I.T., Safety, Emergency, etc.) was scheduled and delivered when they said they were going to”.
So, let’s fast-forward to you as the Leader of this individual. After Human Resources, Payroll, Safety, etc. have taken the time to get the obligatory paperwork and corporate training out of the way, now it is your role to influence how the individual fits in your team and achieves the performance level that you need and expect.
We know that you have hired this individual as they possess the skills and characteristics that you feel will fulfill the performance outcomes that you need to meet the goals of your team, and the over-arching goals of the organization. You have also chosen them as you feel they will fit into the culture of the organization well. Throughout the recruitment process you have already had some discussion about their skills, experience, what they are looking for in their next role, and the work environment that they will thrive in the most. But now that they have started is the time to get into the nitty gritty at the same time as they get to start real work.
Get to know the individual personally. I get it, it’s time to get work done as you and your team have taken on the burden of this role while you have been recruiting. However, take the time to have a conversation to get to know them as people, i.e. their family, personal interests, how the transition has been for them while they have been anticipating their new role/company. This is not idle chit chat, this is building personal rapport that is the start of an honest and trusting working relationship.
How we work together. Now we work! Generally, your new employee will know what the role entails, and for those seasoned professionals, they already come with the understanding of what they need to do. But they don’t know yet how you need them to do it. Getting the work done is one thing, but the approach and associated behaviors is equally as important, and one can argue more so. I use this example with leaders that I work with, “an individual can bully their way to get the job done, but if they have alienated their team or others in the organization in the process, does that mean they have done a good job?”
- Establish the direction and communication flow under your leadership. Share with the individual what your accountability is to the organization, how you are challenged, positively and negatively, and your commitment(s) to your team, and what you expect in return.
- If your organization has a formal Performance Management program, introduce them to the process and what they can expect when participating in the review process. Ensure that the employee understands how their performance will be measured.
- If your organization has formal policies and procedures (many will be HR related and may have already been introduced during Orientation), have a discussion how you expect your team members to fulfill the provisions of the policies, and how they pertain to your team specifically.
- Establish team interaction quickly so that the individual builds team cohesiveness and understanding how the team will work together to reach the goals.
The individual is quickly performing the duties of the job. Every leader wants their employees firing on all cylinders right away as rarely you have unlimited time for an employee to get up to speed.
- What’s missing? If the individual needs specific training or coaching in to close the training and skill gap, identify the training required, co-create the commitment you both will take in the process. Now is a good time to establish accountability measures for both of you.
- Discuss the job or a challenging piece of work that the individual can get started on right away. They are most likely chomping at the bit to get to work and produce some quick wins.
Establish if the individual has the tools and resources that they will need to work effectively in their role.
- Are the tools and resources adequate? Understand if the tools and resources provided will support the individual to perform their best.
- Discuss, if necessary, how they may need to adapt to the current tools and resources, and how they can receive support if required. Hear from the individual what other tools and resources will be helpful for them.
Understand the individual’s motivations and aspirations.
- Understand what aspects of this role will they find enjoyable and challenging. Discuss how you will handle roadblocks if/when they encounter them.
- Seek alignment how you both will share information and give/receive feedback. Be honest about how you interact with your team and your expectations for information sharing.
- Ask the individual “What do you need from me?” This short but powerful question will open up communication doors in a big way.
Discuss how the individual must foster healthy and productive interactions with their team and others in the organization.
- Understand what their go-to style of communication is and discuss how they may need to adapt to the way this organization communicates.
- Now is the critical time to establish your expectations how the work gets done with others, and their role to influence improvement where possible. Be clear on the behaviors and protocols that you are looking for from your team.
- Share with the employee your view of the culture of the organization, and your contribution to developing, maintaining, or creating the culture. Don’t be afraid to share some of the challenges (the “blemishes”) the organization may be facing while establishing culture, fulfilling Core Values obligations, and surviving during tough times. These are the realities of business and new employees hearing it from their leader helps them to be a part of the solution vs. learning it on their own through the grapevine (accurately or otherwise), or shying away from it.
These are some highlights that organizations and leaders can take to incorporate a new employee into the organization. An effective Orientation/Onboarding Plan takes time, and some discussions and training components may take weeks to accomplish. I encourage organizations to take the time to do it right, deliver it quickly, and consistently over a short period of time, ie. 15-30 days, with an established follow up process at the 60 and 90-day time frame.
Please note that the outcomes of a successful Orientation/Onboarding is not entirely the responsibility of the leader. The drive, motivation and performance lands with the employee. We are the masters of our own destiny, and while leaders are integral to this process and create the environment for employees to be successful, employees must take accountability for their own satisfaction and performance outcomes.
Some things are more “wow factors” than others for some individuals, but ultimately if the new employee can say, “I have all of the information and support that I need to be successful here”…….
Done, check, great performance.
You have heard it before… I love to help!!
Always, we are here to help our colleagues. We want your feedback, comments and questions about your Performance Management experience. If you have any questions about how these Performance Improvement concepts can be applied to your work group and/or your organization, please let us know and we will be happy to assist.
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