When you started a new job, how were you introduced to your new role? What do you think should be included in that introduction? How long do you think that introduction should last? When an individual starts a new job the first few weeks feel like a trial run on both sides. The company is seeing if this hire is still a good fit for the position and the employee is checking to be sure they want to continue with the role. This is where the concept of onboarding is crucial.

Onboarding is the process in which new employees gain knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are important to becoming an effective member of the team. It is a process in which new people are introduced and guided through the processes and culture of a new organization. This process is vital to a successful introductory period and, by extension, long-term employment.

When onboarding a new employee one wants to be sure to cover all information that a new employee would find imperative as well as information that the employer finds important. From the new hire’s perspective the most crucial questions asked are about benefits, pay, time off, dress, and who will guide them through specific job training. They will want to know what their benefit packet entails and how to sign up. They will want to know what their shift is, what their hourly rate will be, when they can expect to be paid, and what their vacation plan will look like. Lastly, new hires will want to know what they can/cannot wear and who will be the person to guide them through hands-on job training. The employer will want to be sure to convey core policies and procedures that outline regulatory items, and expected behaviors. These are things like time and attendance, discrimination and harassment, fire safety, infection control, etc. On top of policies and procedures it would be beneficial if the new hire was introduced and guided through the culture of the department and the culture of the organization. Helping a new team member through the nuances of interoffice relationships, interactions, and communication habits between management and staff will help the new hire feel more confident.

These first few weeks of employment tend to set the tone for the employment relationship moving forward. When new employees feel that their manager and coworkers were invested in their success from the very first day, the new hire will likely feel fully engaged and feel glad he or she joined the organization. When the appropriate steps are not followed, likely the opposite reaction will be true. To help understand how a new hire is feeling about his or her experience, we recommend a pulse check be taken roughly 30-45 days after hire. This pulse check can be taken in the form of an informal survey, or an in-person conversation. The idea is to get into the heart and mind of the new hire to gauge his or her fulfillment. One of my favorite questions to ask a new hire is whether or not he or she goes home at the end of the day with a good feeling? If the answer to that question is no, this indicates a red flag, and will require more digging on the part of the manager to understand the root cause of this.

Many times organizations look at the first few weeks as the “onboarding period.” Best practices have shown that onboarding can actually take up to one full year for an employee to feel fully integrated into a new organization. Along with the pulse check 30-to-45 days post hire, it is essential for the new hire to have established goals and understand how his or her role fits into the organization. We recommend managers establish a checklist to be sure the onboarding process is followed consistently, and embed within it regular check-in intervals throughout the year. The checklist will also ensure the manager hasn’t forgotten to share important information with the new hire.

In conclusion, to onboard a new hire successfully into an organization, it takes a village; leaders, managers, and colleagues should all be included in the process. Failure to invest the time and resources into the new hire could result in a new hire not working up to his or her full potential. t

Author Profile

Richard Finger
Richard Finger
Richard Finger has worked in Human Resources for over 20 years and has worked with small, private organizations, global corporations, and most currently, a healthcare organization. Richard has worked abroad a number of years in England as well as The Netherlands, where he acquired a great appreciation for cultural awareness. He currently holds three Human Resource Certifications (SHRM-SCP, SPHR, SPHRi), and is also teaching the SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP preparation course at Howard County Community College. Richard earned his Bachelor Degree in Psychology at University of Central Florida, and Master Degree in Human Resources Management & Labor Relations at New York Institute of Technology. Richard has been writing for Baltimore Outloud for a number of years, contributing articles about his Human Resources experiences, as well as moonlighting as the author of Finger's Food restaurant reviews. Richard has enjoyed writing for the paper, and looks forward to many more opportunities to do so.