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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—œ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป

For many startups, people are the largest expense, the biggest investment in their future, and the most impactful for their success.

Knowing this, founders pour a ton of time and money into recruiting the right people. Sometimes, though, the valuable new hire arrives with no plan to get them acclimated and contributing quickly.

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’Š๐’๐’•๐’†๐’๐’”๐’Š๐’•๐’š ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’„๐’“๐’–๐’Š๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’„๐’†๐’”๐’” ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’š ๐’„๐’๐’๐’•๐’“๐’‚๐’”๐’• ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’†๐’‡๐’‡๐’๐’“๐’• ๐’•๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’–๐’Š๐’๐’… ๐’‚๐’ ๐’†๐’‡๐’‡๐’†๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’—๐’† ๐’๐’๐’ƒ๐’๐’‚๐’“๐’…๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’„๐’†๐’”๐’”.

If you want new employees to make an impact immediately, they need knowledge, tools, and understanding efficiently.

A thorough orientation will reinforce the vision, culture, and values which should hold in perpetuity during success and hard challenges.

Through your onboarding program, employees will quickly learn how serious the business is about their development. If the company cares about their success, employees will want to match that effort.

Some tenets of a strong onboarding process:

๐˜›๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ โ€“ Whether walking around an office or a virtual tour, show them around, share some kind of organizational chart, and introduce them. I like when new employees tell a few facts about themselves to help other employees make a connection and start a conversation.

๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ต โ€“ Consider pairing a mentor with the new hire so they have someone to ask any questions as they get started. Also, the new hire may not resonate immediately with their manager or co-workers, so the mentor can help them navigate faster.

๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ต โ€“ Allow access to different teams so the new hire can understand their work and make connections to their own job. This view helps getting projects done, innovations, and efficiencies.

๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜บ โ€“ Explain the companyโ€™s past so new hires realize what current employees went through and learned from those trials. We should not be limited to our history, but also, we should not be ignorant. Telling those stories promotes resilience.

๐˜™๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜จ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ โ€“ It feels good to be celebrated, whether itโ€™s some swag on the first day, the team taking you out to (virtual) lunch, and/or a event or meeting where the new hires can socialize. Youโ€™re excited the new hire joined your company, so reinforce the message.

For new hires to hit the ground running, consider this checklist adapted to your business needs.

๐—•๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐—น

  • Paperwork is all done; ask them to get documents needed (e.g. I9)

  • Get them a laptop, email, and logon information for all platforms

  • Manager sends a welcome email to the team and copies new hire (includes professional background and some personal information)

  • Provide them with information on payroll, policies, and benefits

๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜ ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜†

If the person is physically arriving, make sure someone greets them. I usually have them arrive a little later so everyone is there already.

Other areas to cover:

  • Physical or virtual tour of the office

  • Introductions to as many people as possible with some version of organizational chart

  • Discussion of first week of onboarding

  • Complete any final paperwork

  • Documents about the role and the company. Ideally, you have an evolving knowledgebase for people to learn and contribute updates

  • Any collateral, information on recent accomplishments, client information (if relevant), and press releases

๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ช๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ

  • Set up logins, email signature, and other details for communication.

  • Make sure the new hire joins the appropriate team meetings

  • Join other team meetings if possible to learn how they operate

  • One-on-one meetings with the team

  • Finalize onboarding schedule for first month

  • Shadow people on the team as they work

๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜ ๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต

Schedule time with the founders to explain the vision, values, and history.

Meet team leads to explain how departments best work together, recent accomplishments, active projects, and any challenges.

Also this month:

  • New employee is introduced in a team meeting or social event

  • Complete Daily Recitations (will be covered in the next post)

  • Complete Onboarding Project (also in the next post)

  • Discuss progress at least weekly with manager

This schedule can be added and evolved to suit your needs. The keys are to have a plan and to engage new hires from the outset.

๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐˜‚๐—ฝ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด:

๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜™๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด โ€“ For the first couple weeks of onboarding, I want new hires to send an email about what they accomplished, learned, and want to understand better tomorrow.

This encourages new hires to process information and gives others a chance to add or clarify anything.

๐˜–๐˜ฏ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ซ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต โ€“ Each new hire can contribute a worthy project, in the process learning more about how work gets done and improving the company for future new hires.

๐˜“๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜Œ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ โ€“ At around week 8, there should be a loose evaluation - not on the work, but on the future - any challenges to completing work, upcoming projects, and effective communication.

๐˜๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ โ€“ At the end of onboarding, seek the new hire's thoughts on what went well, could be better, and the next Onboarding Project. You may want an executive to conduct the meeting to know the new employee and to get impressions on the onboarding process.

๐—œ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ง๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด

The new employee needs to get up to speed in their area. Some thoughts on how to best run this process. Leadership should take a direct role in part of the training to ensure quality and to reinforce quality and cohesion.

Recognize that everyone learns differently, some by reading, some by watching, and some by doing. Incorporate all three in training. Ask the new hire which materials and approaches resonated the most with them and then double-down on what worked best.

As a hater of micromanaging, Iโ€™d encourage you to emphasize ๐™จ๐™ช๐™˜๐™˜๐™š๐™จ๐™จ๐™›๐™ช๐™ก ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™š๐™จ and provide limitations to new employees (versus listing every detail about how you get work done). As long as quality work is getting done, that's fine.

The new hire may have ideas. Be open that the right solution for yesterday may not remain the right solution today. A confident manager will embrace ways to improve the system.

With so much invested in recruiting and so much depending on your employees, onboarding is crucial to efficiency, productivity, and growth.

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