Onboard with a Plan

onboard with a planHave an official strategy for onboarding new hires? An estimated 80% of companies today don’t have a definitive onboarding plan beyond their basic hiring, interviewing and training practices. Yet it’s a critical tool in securing a new employee’s long-term success. Ideally, a good onboarding plan is structured by benchmarks of 30, 60 and even 90 days, with each 30-day period tied to definitive activities, goals, requirements and reviews. While the overall onboarding objective helps your new hires to learn processes and procedures, it also empowers them to integrate effectively into your company’s culture.

Lee Froschheiser, one of MAP’s top coaches and author of “Vital Factors: The Secret To Transforming Your Business And Your Life” thinks onboarding is such an important aspect in company success that he’s created workshops specifically dedicated to the topic. Here, he shares a few nuggets of golden advice from his treasure trove of helpful information.

Make the effort. It’s hard to pinpoint why so many businesses don’t take the time and do what’s required to create a solid onboarding plan, but it’s usually because they don’t know how to do it or don’t place value on this aspect of the hiring process — period. Those who do will save time, money and other resources in the long run. It sends the message to fresh recruits that they’re valuable and you want them to succeed; sets expectations, regarding what you want them to be focused on and doing; forces you as a leader to think through what’s necessary to train new hires for long-term success; and allows you to define “success” (different from expectations) for these employees.

Give the plan definitive structure. Don’t just tell new hires about your plan, but write it out in detail, including all key aspects: responsibilities, timelines, goals & controls, etc. Then, make sure you conduct some type of regular reviews, where you and your new hires can communicate on performance, expectations and more. Use these more formal meetings to provide and receive updates about how they’re doing, addressing concerns or needs they might have.

Stick to it. Consistently enforcing your onboarding plan among new hires will boost the odds that it works. After all, you can’t expect these folks to succeed long term if you’ve failed to set them for success from the get-go. The onus is on you as the leader to show that this is really important, making sure the plan is introduced and followed from start to finish — even if you think a new direct report is so accomplished, competent or skilled that he/she doesn’t need to complete it. Doing so keeps things “fair and square” and ensures that you’re a good match for one another particularly once the hiring honeymoon and high have come to an end.

What tips do you have for great onboarding plan practices?

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