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How to make onboarding easier and more beneficial

Onboarding new employees is often an afterthought for most teams. After all, the purpose of hiring it to get someone onto the team and working, not to fill out paperwork. However, the onboarding process can be essential to setting that new hire up for future success. According to Boston Consulting Group, it is the second-most important HR function after recruiting. Below are a few tips on making the most of onboarding.

Why Good Onboarding Is Important

Onboarding is more than just completing forms and introducing people. It is the process of integrating a new hire into the organization. Without this essential process, your new team members will struggle to find their place within the team.

It is worthwhile noting that orientation and onboarding are different. The former is an event that takes place as part of the latter. However, the onboarding process should stretch beyond the first-day orientation.
Getting new hire up to speed will help them to become productive members of the team faster. Even more significantly, it can set up the tone for their entire experience at your organization. Someone who’s onboarding is disorganized and poorly planned is less likely to be invested in their work. After all, it seems to them that no one else is invested.
Conversely, a great onboarding sets the person up for success. They begin to understand the work and the team right away.

1) Keep Things Organized
Paperwork is a necessary part of onboarding. However, it can also be cumbersome and disorganized. Making sure that everything is completed properly can be a serious drain on time and energy. So, having the right tools and processes to keep things organized is important.

Often, the key problem with onboarding is that there are too many competing interests. The new hire wants to get situated, the hiring manager wants to get work done and HR needs to get its paperwork completed.

Self-organized employee onboarding is a powerful way to improve this process. Using technology, HR and the hiring manager can create a list of everything that needs to be completed. Then, the manager and team can help guide the new hire through the process with him or her taking the driver’s seat on paperwork. It is a great way to simplify onboarding/

2) Inspire Knowledge Sharing
Your team and your new hire have useful thoughts and experiences to share with each other. Rather than focusing on traditional ice breakers, consider having a brain-sharing exercise. This is a great way to introduce the new hire to how your team operates. It is also a good way to let them reveal a little more about what they are bringing to the table.

During this, you can ask your new hire to talk about what drives him or her. This is a good way to learn a little more about the person outside of the hiring process. After all, these types of questions often receive practiced answers during recruitment. This is an excellent chance to learn a little more about how to manage the person.

3) Connect Them With a Mentor
Humans are social creatures and benefit from working with others. Try assigning mentors from your team to work with new hires. It is a good way for everyone to connect and to help make the onboarding process more productive.
Mentoring is a useful tool for business managers even outside of the onboarding process. These are a few of the benefits:
● Improved interpersonal relationships
● Greater self-confidence for the mentee
● Opportunity to take more control
● Education opportunity
● Insider look at how the team operates

These benefits are more are why managers should encourage mentoring on their teams. This technique is most effective when a more senior peer on the team acts as the mentor. It is less ideal for the manager to take on the mentor role. New hires already get plenty of input from their managers. Mentoring is a chance for them to get a different perspective.

4) Create Opportunities To Learn
Professional development is an important part of the workplace. Team members appreciate when they are given chances to work on new skills outside of their regular work. Additionally, helping people learn is a great way to build stronger, more capable teams. It is a win-win situation.

Get started early with new hires. Learn about what their long-term goals are and plan some professional development opportunities around those goals.

The new hire will appreciate your early dedication to his or her success. This is especially significant if the new person is a recent graduate. Investing in professional development early can help ensure that the team member will stay with your organization longer.

5) Focus on Purpose
It is easy for onboarding to become focused purely on processes. However, how things are done is often less important than why they are done, especially in high-skill jobs.

Talk about purpose and vision with new team members. This can be a challenging conversation to have because sometimes purpose is relatively abstract. Consider involving your team members and asking them to share about their perspectives on the group’s purpose.

Professionals, especially young professionals, want to work in places that have a purpose. They want to see that their inputs matter. Setting this up on day one is important to having a productive long-term relationship with that new hire.

Knowing the purpose of the team can also be very motivating. Again, people like to do work that is meaningful. So, helping team members to connect their efforts to the overall direction of the organization is essential to effectively motivating them.

6) Start With Projects Early
While there is plenty to be done during onboarding, getting to work is also important. New hires need to get their feet wet promptly. The best way to do that is to give them a project to work on that will be manageable but still challenge them to learn.
People want to make a difference with their work. They don’t want to be waiting around until they are assigned something.
Help them get started working and they will begin to understand the team and the work better. This is especially true of young professionals who have a lot of energy and drive. They will jump straight into their work given the chance.

7) Have a Plan
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make the most of onboarding is to have a plan. Using onboarding software, you can layout a task list to be completed. This is a great way to keep everything organized.

However, even beyond a list of tasks, you should have an idea of what is going to happen in the onboarding process. For example, you should know what you want the new hire to learn on day one, two, three etc.
The onboarding process can be a slow and frustrating process for the new hire and for your team. Having a solid plan in place will help you to keep everyone engaged and satisfied with the process.

Onboarding is an important process for any business. Learning how to do is well can help you make the most of your new hires. It is a chance to show them how your organization gets things done. So, invest time into creating a process your whole team can be proud of.

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