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How do you onboard an employee and tune them towards your performance expectations?

After tough rounds of evaluation, (which might include multiple rounds of tests, interviews, group discussions and so on), an organization chooses its new employees.   Now comes the next challenge of making them feel comfortable and happy, and at the same time help them to perform their job well.

As always, first impression stays the best ever. An organization needs to keep in mind the following facts about new joiners:

  • Initial 60-90 days are the golden opportunity for both employee and the organization.
  • Employees are wide open to prove themselves.
  • Organization can learn some of the best practices that the employees have seen elsewhere
  • Manager and employee have to build the rapport in the first 2-3 weeks or so.

I feel that HR and Managers play a critical role in making the employees feel comfortable and to help them perform as per the organization’s expectations.  Immediate or rapid attrition (within 3 months) is quite common in industries and this is mainly because the HR and managers did not make the necessary rapport with the new joiners during the initial period. No point in loosing hard-earned people and once again initiating the recruitment process.

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Now, let us see the action items of HR and manager to onboard an employee and to get the best out of them:

Role of HR:

It does not end with picking stars (employees) and dropping them in different places. The HR should ensure to place the stars in right place so that they shine as bright as they should be. Here are a few tips for HR during the on boarding program:

–          You are the First person of contact, so build good confidence about the Organization

–          Must make sure that the Organization provides  all necessary soft support in place

–          Have a one-on-one meeting within 3 weeks to make sure that the employees understand the organization, job requirements, etc. and they are able to match them.

–          If they are new to job skills, check if their training, inductions programs are started.

–          Introduce them to the performance management process.  In some organizations, new employees have to fill the goals within 30/60 days of their joining.  Some of our customers have requested to setup the escalation mechanism to HR in the performance management software for “set goals” process.  This gives the confidence to the new hire that the organization is transparent, new hires get the job definition and expectations clearly, etc.

–          And above all, “Be Available for them”.  Until they are familiar with the policies and adapt to their team, provide them good support.  There may be multiple questions such as benefits to leave policies to who’s who in the organization, etc.  It is important that the new hire gets comfortable as soon as possible.

–          They may also have questions on why something is done in certain way.  It is important to understand their perspectives and see if any of the best practices can be taken into your organization.

–          Several organizations have a clear on boarding process, videos / tutorials / intranet / etc.  While new hires will certainly go through this independently, it will be good to setup 30 minutes discussion to answer any questions they may have.

Role of the Manager:

It is the manager’s responsibility to make the new employees feel that there are people to whom they can go when they don’t know what to do or decide about workplace issues and work.

–          Make sure that the manager is well prepared for, onboard an employee.  This means follow up with your admin teams for the desk, computer, email setup, etc.  If there is a welcome note from the manager and team for the new hire, it will really give a good warmth feeling.   End of the day, manager has invested considerable time in interviewing, selection, etc.  This last mile in terms of getting the workplace setup for the new hire, will help a lot in sending the right message.

–          Introduce them to the entire team and have some one walk them through everything required, including where to find files and tools, where the cafeteria is, and when they can take breaks, etc.  Ask them if there is anything they’re unsure about.

–          Ensure necessary training and orientation is given to the new hires

–          Give them a clear Job definition

–          On boarding on the job – (eg. If somebody comes into Synergita, we make sure that they understand our business, performance management, product training, etc. before they start doing any work – be it development, testing or customer support)

–          Give them specific and action oriented goals, good if measurable.  Decide the timing accordingly.  You don’t want to overwhelm the person on day 1.

–          Try not to be upset when something goes wrong, make sure employees aren’t afraid to admit and learn from their mistakes.

–          Managers should have a formal meeting with the new hires every month (for the first 3 months) so that they can have a formal feedback review process.  This will help in understanding how the new hire is performing, any specific challenges and how to resolve them, etc.  For the 3rd month, involve the HR as well.

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Motivating and encouraging the new hires is the key to make them perform well and to help them to stay with the company for a long term. Relationship matters. Make it clear that your organisation is happy to have the new person on board, and you will see higher levels of productivity from the motivated new hires.

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