Onboarding New Employees: Six Steps to Success

Chris Young
October 9, 2009 — 2,766 views  
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The new employee team member has been brought on to the team.  The references checked out and the interviews went exceedingly well.  Onboarding new employees

Smooth sailing from here, right?

Not necessarily.  In fact - not likely.

After the hire, the new employee team member traditionally goes through something called, "New Employee Orientation" - or what we might call "normal onboarding".  If you want to call it "onboarding" the traditional process involves showing the new employee team member how to log into the company systems, HR shares the benefits package and sick leave policy, and the location of the office supplies are pointed out.

A strong suggestion...  Do not co-mingle the thought process of employee orientation with employee onboarding.  They are two separate strategies.  Employee orientation is tactical in nature - fill out the forms, log into company systems, meet with HR, and find the office supplies.  It is important. 

What is critical is strategic onboarding of new employee team members.   A strategic new hire onboarding process should facilitate and enable the new employee team member to understand how they will add value to the team.  Furthermore, the new hire should understand how they will "fit" in with the team.  A strategic onboarding process is critical to maximizing the "ramp-up" and long-term value of the new hire.

Successful, strategic employee onboarding involves the following key steps:

  1. Review Job Fit - Did I/we select the best employee team member for the job in the first place? Does the person fit the Job Benchmark well?  In other words, "How strong is the Job Fit of the new employee team member?"  If the new employee team member is a low Job Fit - no amount of coaching is going to help you help them.  Stop right now and do it over.  The pain of starting over at this point is very low compared to what is coming ahead.  If the new hire fits the job well - what are the areas they will have challenges in?  Create that Job Fit awareness.

  2. What is Success?  - Help the new employee team member understand - What is necessary to do the job well?  Make sure the new employee team member understands what is necessary to do the job well.  Obviously the tasks of the job are important.  Share what else is important.  This is an excellent time to begin developing a formalized coaching plan.

  3. Why them? - Help the new hire understand why you selected them in the first place.  What key Behaviors, Values, and Attributes were you seeking?  This is best completed through a one-on-one personality profile debrief - How does the new employee team member "fit the job" compared to the Job Benchmark?  What are the immediate coaching opportunities?  What can the new team member expect in terms of how they will engage with their new boss?

  4. How do they fit in with the team? - Start team member relationships on the "right foot" by sharing the team's communication do and don't list.  What are the Behavioral "hot buttons" of fellow employee team members?  What should the new employee team member do more of and refrain from doing behaviorally in order to best maximize their transition to the new team?

  5. Meet the team informally and formally thought a team personality profile debrief.  The new employee team member as well as the rest of the team should be a part of a formal 2-4 hour "get-to-know-eachother" session.  This is the opportunity to reinforce Behavioral Awareness and team member differences.  Team member Behaviors and Values need to be shared and understood.  The question needs to be asked - How does the new employee team member compare and fit in with the team?  The point of this exercise is to also create the opportunity for existing team members to re-aquaint themselves with the team's group dynamics.  It is always good to refresh one's memory about behavioral and value-differences.  Informally - each team member should schedule time with the new employee team member to get to know one another.  Lunch is a great way to achieve this important objective.

  6. Coaching Plan - In terms of what the new hire brings to the job...  What does the new hire need to be aware of and focus on in order to succeed?  How well does the new hire fit the job?  What Behaviors and Values may get in the way of performance?  What skills do they need to enhance their ability to do the job well?  What challenges are coming that the new hire should know right now in order to prepare themselves for?

Through a strategically thorough employee onboarding process, one can proactively start the new employee team member's employment and contribution to the team.  New employee team member on-boarding of this nature also helps mitigate future employee morale issues, creates emotional intelligence, and enhances personal accountability. 

Now go Maximize Possibility!

Chris Young helps organizations Maximize Possibility through talent management, cultural transformation, and strategic intervention.

Website: http://www.therainmakergroupinc.com

Blog: http://www.maximizepossibility.com

Chris Young


The Rainmaker Group is a human talent maximization company specializing in helping organization maximize their bottom lines by improving employee retention, hiring the best talent possible, and strategic talent management and coaching services. From the Fortune 50 corporation to the small medical office, The Rainmaker Group guarantees lasting organizational change via a unique blend of energy, insight, and science to maximize talent, transform organizational culture, and provide strategic intervention.