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Unleashing Potential: 5 Steps for Onboarding New Employees to Ensure Long-Term Success

June 26, 2023

By: Keather Snyder

Picture this: you’ve just gone through a long recruiting process and found the perfect individual who is talented and possesses all the skills and potential to contribute significantly to your organization. Now the question arises, how do you ensure that this fresh talent is seamlessly integrated into your team, fits into your culture right away, and is set up for success. The answer lies in the art of onboarding, an intentional and well-structured approach that sets the stage for a productive and fulfilling journey for both the new hire and your company as a whole. Let’s dig in and explore why onboarding a new employee the right way is critical to unlocking their full potential, fosters loyalty, and ultimately propels your organization toward success.

First, let’s talk about why it matters. A recent BambooHR survey revealed that 89% of employees surveyed said an effective onboarding process helped them feel very engaged at work. The survey also showed that employees who had effective onboarding feel up to 18x more commitment to their workplace, compared to employees who feel their onboarding was less effective. Unfortunately, in spite of the critical importance of getting it right, only 12% of employees believe their employer's onboarding process is adequate or successful.

The good news is it doesn’t take much to get it right. Here are 5 steps to take to create a great experience and ensure success for your next new hire.

1. Set Clear Role Expectations and Goals

Setting clear role expectations and goals is crucial to successfully onboarding an employee and ensuring their long-term success and productivity. By clearly defining the responsibilities, tasks, and objectives associated with the role, managers provide a roadmap for the new employee's performance and progress. This clarity minimizes confusion and ambiguity, allowing employees to align their efforts with organizational goals. It also helps managers to evaluate performance accurately and provide relevant feedback, which should be done immediately after a new employee performs their first major assignment in the new role, and regularly from that point forward.

While setting expectations at the onset, it’s also important to be sure there’s alignment.  During the recruiting process, both the hiring manager and the candidate can gloss over some fine details while getting caught up in the task at hand –finding a job or finding a great candidate fast. A behavioral assessment is a valuable tool for understanding the employee's traits, strengths, and areas of development and how well they fit with the new role. If you used a pre-employment assessment for the hiring process, and I sure hope you did, share the results now with your new hire. You both can use this insight on your new hire’s personality, communication style, work preferences, and problem-solving abilities and where there is alignment in the role expectations and where there may be challenges.  This information allows managers to tailor their onboarding approach, assign appropriate tasks, and provide support where needed.

2. Implement a Comprehensive Orientation Program

A comprehensive orientation program is vital to successfully onboarding an employee and setting them up for long-term success. This program is crucial in acclimating new hires into the company's culture. It serves as a foundation for their integration into the organization and helps them understand their role within the larger context.

The orientation program should include an overview of the company's mission, vision, and values, ensuring that new hires align their efforts with the organization's objectives. Another critical aspect of orientation is employee development. This enhances productivity and fosters a sense of loyalty and long-term commitment among employees. Furthermore, an effective orientation program should facilitate networking and relationship-building. Providing opportunities for new hires to connect with their colleagues and leaders encourages collaboration and establishes a support system within the organization.

3. Conduct Regular Check-Ins and Provide On-Going Feedback

By conducting frequent check-ins, managers can gauge the progress and well-being of their new hires, ensuring they have the necessary resources and support to excel in their roles. During these check-ins, managers should create an open and comfortable environment where employees feel encouraged to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.

The Omnia Development Report can be a big help here to understand your new hire’s unique personality type and communication style. Some employees prefer direct feedback, while others may prefer you soften the approach and deliver feedback in writing, so they have time to process it before a discussion. Managers should tailor their feedback and coaching techniques to suit the employee's personality type. Some individuals may be more receptive to visual aids, while others prefer detailed explanations. Recognizing these differences and adapting your approach can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the onboarding process.

It’s also important to keep feedback balanced – delivering positive, affirming feedback regularly, while also giving straightforward and constructive advice on how the employee can improve and see more success. Keep it specific and actionable. Managers should guide new hires in areas where improvement is needed while acknowledging their strengths and achievements. This helps employees understand their performance expectations and motivates them to strive for excellence. Regular check-ins and constructive feedback foster a culture of continuous improvement and provide employees with the necessary guidance to excel in their roles. It instills a sense of support and motivation, making new hires feel valued and appreciated, which increases their productivity and encourages them to stay with the organization for the long term.

4. Assign an Onboarding Buddy

Assigning a mentor or buddy is crucial to onboarding a new employee and fostering long-term success. By pairing them with seasoned team members, managers can provide the necessary guidance and support to navigate the intricacies of the organization and its team dynamics. A mentor or buddy acts as a trusted advisor and sounding board for the new hire. They can offer insights into the company culture, unwritten rules, and team dynamics, helping the employee acclimate faster. This relationship goes beyond formal training and provides an informal avenue for the new hire to ask questions, seek advice, and share concerns. The mentor or buddy can offer practical guidance on collaborating effectively within the team, building relationships with colleagues, and understanding the team's communication style and expectations.

They can also provide feedback and advice on the new hire's performance, helping them identify areas for improvement and aligning their efforts with team goals. This pairing accelerates the learning process and fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie. A supportive mentor or buddy creates a safe space for new employees to voice their ideas, share challenges, and receive constructive feedback. It also helps in building a strong professional network within the organization.

5. Provide Resources and Support

Throughout the employee lifecycle, managers should provide adequate resources and support to not only facilitate a successful onboarding process but also ensure the employee's long-term commitment and productivity. Managers can empower new hires to perform their roles effectively and efficiently by offering the right tools, information, and assistance. From day one, managers should provide access to the necessary technology, software, and equipment required for employees to carry out their responsibilities. This includes granting them appropriate system permissions, providing login credentials, and ensuring their workspace is appropriately set up. And make sure this is all set up before the new hire’s first day.

In addition to tangible resources, managers should offer comprehensive training programs that align with the employee's role and responsibilities. This can include on-the-job training and formal learning opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge. Managers should also be readily available to address any questions or concerns during onboarding. Regular communication and check-ins enable employees to seek guidance, clarify expectations, and gain support to overcome challenges. Moreover, ongoing support beyond the initial onboarding phase is vital for long-term employee success. This includes offering access to mentorship programs, professional development initiatives, and resources for continuous learning and growth.

Effective onboarding requires managers to adopt a proactive and collaborative approach. By combining these five strategies, managers can build a culture of continuous improvement and propel their organization to new heights.

We’re here to help! Whatever your hiring and onboarding challenges are, our skilled Customer Success team is available to provide guidance throughout the recruiting and hiring lifecycle. Our behavioral assessments  are quick, powerful, and now mobile friendly. Contact us today to ensure your next new hire is a huge success.


Other popular blog posts to read:

Ready, Set, Grow! 5 Steps for Cultivating Talent in Your Organization
How a Growth Mindset Can Help Your Company Flourish and 3 Ways to Get Growing!
Boost Your Business Success with Soft Skills: A Guide to Hiring, Developing, and Retaining Top Talent
Enhance Workplace Effectiveness through Behavioral Assessments


Keather Snyder

Keather Snyder is President & Chief Operating Officer of The Omnia Group, a leader in helping organizations optimize their talent selection, development and company culture. She is dedicated to helping organizations drive results through the power of their people. Keather is also hugely passionate about developing our future generation of leaders and dedicates personal time to mentoring college age and early career professionals.

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