On Boarding: Why the Bother?

on boarding employees

There are as many approaches to On Boarding an employee as there are employers.  Some have a methodical process that slow rolls the employee into their new position while others apply the sink or swim technique with a steep curve right to action.

Wherever your business falls along the On Boarding continuum, there are a few fundamental On Boarding process elements that pay large dividends in contributing to the success of your employees.  Technical skills and ongoing training are beyond the scope of this post.  Here we are covering the general steps to ensure a new employee integrates into your work environment well and as intended.  I recommend your check your current process to confirm the following are included.

1. Employee Files.

All required employee data, forms and signatures should be checked and completed as step 1 upon employment.  This may sound obvious, but I have seen employers allow employees begin work without I-9 documentation; thinking it is ok for the worker to bring it in later.  I have other examples but this one makes the point.

The data and form requirements to hire an employee all have purpose.  Any missing form, data or signature imposes risk to the employer, employees and customers.  Under the example of missing I-9 data, an accident involving the new employee may not have insurance coverage.  Employer liability normally protected may fall squarely upon the employer without the protection of insurance you pay for.  Any medical expense to the new employee may also go without medical benefit protection if they are not proven legal as an employee.

Step 1 in the On Boarding process is to review and confirm all required data, forms and signatures are complete and on file with the employer.

2. Orientation

Once you have confirmed that any new employee is properly processed and documented into your work environment, you should provide an Orientation session.  Orientation should be designed to communicate what the employee should expect, how they can seek help and what you are looking for from them through the On Boarding process.

Employees who are comfortable and confident in their surroundings are better learners. Your goal as an employer through Orientation is to ensure the new employee learns what you need them to know as effectively and quickly as practical.  Help the employees by making them comfortable and familiar with where they are, what they should be doing and what you expect of them through the On Boarding process. Smaller businesses don’t often have well organized Orientation programs for new hires but the needs are the same in small or large organizations.  The costs of new employees stumbling and bumbling through their first few days or weeks on the job is as negatively impactful to a small company as it is to a large company, maybe more so.

Make Step 2 of On Boarding a clear Orientation including:

  • • Familiarity with the physical environment
  • • What the employee should expect
  • • How the employee can seek help
  • • What the employer expects from the new hire through the On Boarding period

3. Supervisor One on One.

Every job is a distinct but a common need amongst employees is they benefit from a coach.  Whether a high level professional position or a line level worker, we perform better when we have someone to lead us in the right direction and talk us through obstacles.

The Supervisor One on One is a great time to take Orientation to the details of the individual job requirements.  Have the Supervisor or Manager position themselves as the “Coach” who is there to lead and ensure the success of the new employee.  The Supervisor One on One serves a dual purpose regarding establishing accountability.  The Supervisor One on One establishes the accountabilities of the new employee while also making the Supervisor accountable for the success of their individual team members.

Step 3 of the On Boarding process is to establish the relationship between a new employee and their Supervisor or Manager as one of mutual accountability.

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, every situation is unique and On Boarding processes will vary widely by company and role.  I recommend you review your On Boarding process if you have one or create one if you don’t.  Take the time to maximize the likelihood that your new hires come up to speed safely and confidently so you and they wind up being successful.

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