TSP • @myTSPnet
There’s no doubt that onboarding new employees can be stressful. You hope the person will turn out to be a great success and thrive at the company. However, it’s difficult to tell who may not end up working out versus who will be there for a few decades. The hiring process oftentimes is about trial and error, but here are some valuable tips that, while may require some upfront legwork, will save time in the long-run, help you set up your new hire to be successful and ultimately scale the onboarding process.
ALWAYS HAVE DOCUMENTATION
Documenting everything in writing and keeping proof of those documents is key to creating a scalable process. By creating documentation and new processes, it allows you to save time and automate mundane tasks. Rather than trying to conduct all training and onboarding activities for everyone by hand, determine what time-consuming items can be documented and simply shared to take off your plate.
For example, rather than explaining the company's mission statement, strategic plans, and the requirements of the job in a long informational session, share those relevant documents with the new employee for them to read and process first. As we know, onboarding can be information overload so having documentation they can refer to as they get acclimated to the company can help them review and retain. Then the conversations that are had are answering any questions and helping them understand how their position fits into the organization.
Having processes in writing is also helpful because many people are visual learners. Also, some people may be shy and would rather refer to written guides than ask a question. Written onboarding guides are beneficial for newly graduated students as well, as they are trained to follow assignment-based instruction like they did in school.
It’s important to note that documentation doesn’t always have to be written. It can also be done through video recordings, screen recordings and annotated screenshots. Great documentation can take many forms but to ensure its success, it should be reusable. If the person you hire doesn’t work out, you should be able to easily share it with their replacement. But don’t forget to review it periodically and update it when necessary.
ALWAYS GIVE REAL EXAMPLES
Whenever creating instructions for training purposes, be sure to add as many relevant examples as possible. It’s helpful to give examples of the kind of work or outcome you want, but it's equally useful to show past failures or mistakes to avoid.
These examples could be anything from your personal work or samples from your company’s previous work. If the company is starting a new project or endeavor that hasn’t been done before internally, it’s okay to list outside examples. The best and easiest way to do it is to create a document that has links to all the samples. Be sure to include specific explanations of what you like or dislike about each example.
The hiring and onboarding of new employees is time-consuming for both the employer and the new employee. Starting a new job and adjusting to a company's workflow and style can take time, therefore, by providing relevant examples you are setting up the new employee for success. You’re also showing you are committed to providing them with the proper resources to ensure their success, which will increase their feelings of value and confidence.
ALWAYS ENCOURAGE QUESTIONS
When training new employees, channel your inner teacher. It’s important to know how to ask questions that will help you figure out whether the person understands what you are explaining or not.
Always stop and ask, “Do you have any questions?” or “Does this make sense to you?” It’s important to note that sometimes new hires can be shy and would rather avoid personal embarrassment than ask a question.
Engaged employees have an increased level of productivity. During training it’s important to continuously engage with your new hires by asking them questions and encouraging them to ask questions as well. This two-way communication will help the new employee grasp the most important information and enable engagement. Rather than talking at them, try having an inclusive conversation with them, this will make them more invested.
To ensure that the person is truly following and understands what you’re saying, the best questions are the ones that quiz your employees. The point of this isn’t to put them on the spot and make them feel nervous, you simply just want to check in and make sure they understand. Another way to go about this is to turn these questions into a writing assignment that gives them an opportunity to explain themselves. The more the questions use real examples and ask them for their opinion, the better.