Employee Onboarding: Three Critical Components for Success

New Employee Onboarding Critical Component: Clarity

You’ve just moved mountains to get that critical position filled. Months spent posting to job boards, soliciting employee and network referrals, interviewing the highest-potential fits and – finally – finding someone about whom you’re truly excited. You’ve made an offer, and they’ve accepted it.

The hard work is just beginning.

Your hiring process doesn’t end with the acceptance of a job offer, or even the new employee’s first day on the job. In fact, you’re only about fifty percent there; your job now is to get your new hire ramped and integrated as soon as possible.  Is your company’s onboarding process up to the challenge?

Employee onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective members of your organization.  To optimize this process for your company, ask yourself whether or not you’re covering these three critical components of a new employee onboarding program.

Are you providing organizational clarity?

Many new hires are thrown into the deep end of the pool, without a full understanding of how their role fits into the larger mission of the organization.  Missed here is the opportunity to connect the dots for your new team member: what’s the big picture, and how do they play a role in the achievement of the company’s long-term strategy.

To provide organizational clarity for your new hire, make sure they can answer the following questions:

  • What is management’s long-term vision for this company, stated in 30 seconds or less?
  • What is management’s financial strategy to ensure the company is resourced properly to achieve its long-term vision? (VC financing, debt, reinvesting profits, etc.)
  • What’s working in the business right now?
  • What’s not working in the business as well as it could or should be?
  • What is the high-level organization chart of the company? (by function/department, by role)
  • What will the next three years look like if we are successful?
  • What are management’s top priorities for this year, and for this current quarter?

Are you providing role clarity?

 Too often, managers at high-growth companies take for granted that their new hire truly understands the role for which they are hired.  Furthermore, the job that’s described to the candidate during the recruiting process is often different in meaningful ways from the actual day-to-day of the job once the person is hired.  Making sure your new team member “gets it” with respect to their role is the second critical component of your new employee onboarding program.

To provide role clarity for your new hire, make sure they can answer the following questions:

  • Why does my role exist in this company?
  • What part do I play in helping the company achieve its mission? Its operating targets?
  • What part do I play in helping the company achieve its operating targets?
  • Which other team members will I need to rely on to achieve my goals?
  • What are the “known obstacles” that management acknowledges will present a challenge for me, and what’s the plan to remove them? (lack of documented process, antiquated systems, understaffing, etc.)
  • What is my career path here at the company?
  • What specific, measurable outcomes am I accountable for?

Are you providing social clarity?  

New hires should be educated as to the cultural and social norms of the company. In this third critical component of your new employee onboarding program, you’ll teach and reinforce the tenets of your company’s culture, and you’ll also ensure that the company and management build trust quickly.

To provide social clarity for your new hire, make sure they can answer the following questions:

  • What are the company’s core values?
  • How are these core values reflected in the real day-to-day in my role and team? (Examples of your core values in action)
  • What time and attendance expectations does the company have of me? (What does a typical work day look like?  When do most employees get to the office? Can I work from home? How do I take time off? Etc)
  • What regularly scheduled meetings exist within the company and my team? (Town halls, all-hands meetings, team huddles, etc.)
  • How does this company reward results?
  • Who is someone other than my manager that I can turn to with basic questions as I get up to speed? (A buddy, a mentor, etc.)

By focusing on these three critical components of your new employee onboarding program, you’ll increase your time-to-productivity and decrease your six-month attrition rates.