How to Organize Onboarding Process for New Hires Correctly & Effectively?
Today we have a very important and interesting topic for a conversation that will make you take a fresh look at the process of onboarding new employees. This article does not have a target audience. We have specially compiled it in such a way that it would be interesting and useful for both recruiters and novice specialists and top management to read this text.
IT Experts We Talked to About Onboarding
We spoke with some experts in the field of recruiting, as well as with specialists who are directly responsible for onboarding, for training staff in the first months of a talent’s work. As a result of communication, we made some general conclusions and formed tips on how the onboarding process should be arranged and why it is important at all. We will talk about this in this article. If this article seems useful to you, share it, we are doing a great job, and we are pleased when you read it.
Tip 1: Generate Homework
About 60% of the experts we spoke to on Linkedin are sure that the initial training process for employees would be much more effective if the employee had optional, but additional homework (at the request of the employee, of course). Anything can be included in the concept of homework.
Most often, in our conversations, we talked about communicating with members of the team or department in which the employee works for a time distracted from work - about sports, music, films, travel, or simply sharing a funny (or not so) meme with a colleague, about anything, but not about work. This approach aims to break the ice between strangers and in case a newcomer needs help, he or she will not hesitate to ask for this help.
For example, at my first place of work, in a small startup, where the CEO of the company worked behind a nearby sofa, and not in a high-rise building, on the top floor, I, as a "homework", had the task to form business questions to the top management of the company about the development strategy company, or about anything in general - you could ask how often the CEO surfs or why he doesn't like cats. In a word, to establish communications and feel that everyone in the company is equal, you should not be afraid of a huge number of new people.
Tip 2: Multiple Broadcast
By this confusing concept, we mean onboarding not only by a special employee whose duties are training newbies but also by team members, team leads, and even project managers. Thus, the newcomer has another opportunity to talk with the team in which the newcomer will work, as well as listen to every opinion of each individual employee. Thus, the beginner will form a holistic picture of the company's activities, where information will be taken from everyone in small pieces.
Onboarding Thread on Reddit I Recommend to Read (source)
It's like a meeting of residents of an apartment building, where everyone is worried about their own problems - someone has unpainted benches in the yard, and someone is worried about the excessive congestion of the only road with personal transport. The chairman of this private initiative of the residents, in turn, forms a common opinion about the current situation.
While still a student, I worked part-time at a pizzeria where each pizza maker was responsible for a different type of pizza - for example, we had a guy who was responsible for all pizzas without meat (he was a vegetarian), and then there was a guy who was in charge of all pizzas with chicken (strange hierarchy, but that's how it was). As a beginner, I was taught by all the cooks at once, and I learned something from each of them, for example, how to make dough preparations correctly or in what order to put the ingredients.
Tip 3: Provide More Time
Very often, the experts with whom we spoke drew attention to the fact that a lot is required of beginners in a very short period of time, and this is a problem because apart from additional pressure, this does not create any other effect. If you are the type of person who does or has anything to do with onboarding, then think about how long it would take you to master this material and how well you would do.
Let me give you an example from my own career path. It was my next startup (yes, I'm a big fan of startups), where I went onboarding + probation. I won't go into details, but it turned out that onboarding took the same amount of time as my trial period - 3 months. For all 3 months, new information was pouring into me like a waterfall, which is simply impossible to remember, except to go all this way on my own experience.
For several weeks, 10 hours a day, I was loaded with information, as if on a drive, and then released to full-time work, abruptly, as if they had poured cold water on me. I failed the trial period because I was not able to cope with such a volume of information, and judging by the fact that this company has been looking for such an employee for more than a year, their approach to onboarding has not changed and, naturally, they have not found a robot for themselves to work.
Tip 4: Theory + Practice
It is very important not only to teach a beginner the theory that you are fluent in, having worked for many years in one place, there will be no sense in this, but to competently integrate it into the workflow. In other words, do not teach a beginner something new throughout the entire working day, week, or month, but devote 3-4 hours a day to learning, and supervise the beginner the rest of the time.
Onboarding Meme - r/ProgrammerHumor (source)
It's the same principle as teaching programming. If you understand the logic of the loops, then it's time to try writing the code yourself. Returning to our reality, you can attach a curator to a beginner for a day, so that the beginner helps an experienced employee deal with those tasks that he or she is already able to handle. Let at first it will be simple tasks, such as preparing reports or dashboards on the database, but then such a newcomer can easily be integrated into the team and no one from the other team will even understand who is new here and who has been working for 10 years.
So the onboarding process took place at my first place of work (which I already talked about). Before lunch, I talked with team members (every day with different ones) - they told me how it works, about the main software product of the company, how this project is monetized, and so on, and after lunch, I started working with simple tasks, like technical support, because I already have general information about the work of the company, which means I can help clients understand this as well (such a logic).
Tip 5: Think Wider
Truly effective and correct onboarding leads to the fact that the newcomer after him can perform simple tasks of the team, thereby facilitating the work of his colleagues. Therefore, very often during training, a beginner is taught only what the team does exclusively. This is correct because 99% of the time this newcomer will spend time and work with his team - to solve problems with his team members.
24 Shocking Employee Onboarding Statistics. Highly Recommend to Read (source)
This is logical, but not entirely correct. Some (not many) experts we spoke with concluded that it is useful for a beginner to know and understand how the mechanism of the company works, and not a single gear. So, the beginner will have a general idea of the company's work mechanisms, how certain processes are arranged - how the project is monetized, with whom the company cooperates, what other departments and teams there are, who the CEO is and what he did before, what the department does developers, what programming language they use and why it and a million other questions.
In my experience, the onboarding process did not cover this, however, I put together the general puzzle on my own - I communicated with the developers myself (because I planned to become a developer in the future), I myself tried to talk with the CEO, I myself communicated with adjacent teams with whom I most often had to communicate and to interact. It didn't help my work, but it helped me realize what I was doing and what role I was playing in this gigantic and complex mechanism.
Tip 6: Issues Notes
This tip is from me personally - we haven't talked to the experts we selected on Linkedin about it, but I still think it's worth looking into. The onboarding process is, first of all, learning, a very complex learning, difficult initial period of any career, so it is important to make sure that the questions that you have accumulated over the entire working day evaporate the next morning so as not to load your head with them in a new one.
Employee Onboarding Meme
If on the first working day, you have a lot of additional questions on the workflow or technical things, do not accumulate these questions, but write them down and at the end of the working day ask these questions to colleagues from the team - I always just sent the list to Slack. Be sure that the next morning you will be answered 100% by colleagues, and you will eliminate all questions, thereby freeing your clipboard and getting ready for a new stage of learning.
As I said in my experience, I saved up all the questions for the day and simply sent them to colleagues in a Slack chat. It has become a daily tradition for me. Feel free to ask questions, because your onboarding just means that you will ask these questions, and this training was invented for this. Gradually, your questions will be fewer and fewer, and somewhere in a few months, they will not remain at all. This is what we should strive for.
As you know, our site is dedicated to educational resources and materials for newbies in the field of IT, so it was also important for us to talk about how onboarding should go for newcomers, how the training process should go for new employees, what is right and what is wrong. Our principle when writing this article was simple - when you know what you want, you know what to require. Now you know how the learning process should go when hiring for a new job for you, and therefore you know what it is worth demanding from this process.