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Many people play a role in making sure that onboarding is successful, however, none are as important as you because you're the new person's boss. So after all the pre-work is done, and they actually begin their job, let's think about how you can help them be more successful. Let's start with the first day or two. Typically, this very early period is less about the work, and more about the new person getting to know you, their work environment, and their colleagues. The goal is to show support, build rapport, and try to make them feel welcome.
To make that happen, consider these specific behaviors. First, remember that their first few days is very scripted with various orientations and introductory meetings. Each new scheduled activity can raise questions so it's a good idea to keep your eye on the schedule and stop in a few times over the course of the day to make sure they're clear about what's next and where it is. Some companies take this idea even further and ask the new hire's assigned buddy to be their escort for the day such that when they're about to wrap up one meeting the buddy is there waiting to walk them to the next meeting.
It's also common over lunch or when their day wraps to take them on a tour assuming it's not part of the normal orientation program. This allows you to continue building rapport while also educating the new person about your operations. Another useful idea is to email the entire group the day before the new person arrives reminding them that the new hire will be starting the following day. Ask them to make an entry in their schedule so everyone will find a quick minute to stop by and say hello.
Maybe there's no better way to have them say hello to their new team than to call a team huddle. Announce it electronically about 10 minutes before you walk out with the new person. Make your words short and sweet. Introduce the new hire and the team. It only takes a few minutes, but nothing substitutes for real group interaction when the goal is to build relationships. To follow up that same day, it's also typical for you to coordinate at least one team lunch or dinner to celebrate your new arrival.
Now, let's switch gears to your main focus after the initial few days. When the orientations and fun are complete, it's time to get to work. You have two big tasks to complete. The first is to sit down with them and talk about initial goals you have for them. They know the work they were hired to do, but now they need to start thinking about the calendar and different levels of goals. For the first round, most will be supplied by you. Of course, in the future this becomes somewhat more of a collaborative process.
If you'd like a more in-depth discussion of goal setting, feel free to check out one of my other courses here at lynda.com called Performance Review Fundamentals. In this discussion you're having is the right time to also mention the employee evaluation process. They'll want to know exactly how your group and organization approaches this process, when materials are due, etc. Be sure they now precisely how your organization evaluates new hires who haven't even been there for a full performance cycle when the next evaluation rolls around.
Don't let them be surprised. The other task is to think short-term about a great small win you can help them achieve. Target a task or project you can get them focused on immediately that will likely be completed within days or weeks, not months. You want them to be successful when they jump in and start swimming. So try to tailor their work just a little up front to give them good odds of an early win. They're the new hire with fresh new skills to be applied, but you're the coach orchestrating the process of getting value from those skills.
Remember the approach we just discussed, and you'll quickly help them feel comfortable in the group, and positioned to tackle their work successfully.
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