Four Keys to Better Onboarding

  • Finding qualified candidates for your sales department is only one part of building a successful team of sales professionals. The process of onboarding a new employee is the most critical factor in ensuring your new salesperson will be a productive addition to your sales force.  

    Onboarding is the action or process of integrating a new employee into your organization. The goal is to bring the new employee into the culture of your company and give them the tools and information they need to add value to your organization. 

    What your new employee learns about your company and the job in the first few days, weeks and months of their employment will impact their performance in the future. Onboarding is your chance to imprint on them how and your company does business the way it does. Onboarding is your opportunity to shape the future of your company. Effective onboarding also helps reduce employee turnover.

    Don’t confuse onboarding with orientation. Onboarding is a comprehensive process involving management and other employees to get the new employee up and running as quickly as possible. Depending on your organization’s culture and systems, onboarding could take many months.

    According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a professional human resources membership association, “Onboarding new hires at an organization should be a strategic process that lasts at least one year, because how employers handle the first few days and months of a new employee's experience is crucial to ensuring high retention.”

    Here are Four Keys to Improve Onboarding

    #1 – Have a Written Onboarding Agenda

    Effective onboarding is done consistently, following the same agenda, so that all new employees receive the same experience. That doesn’t mean you toss the new employee a packet and have them read the onboarding process. Effective onboarding mostly consists of human interaction with other employees and department heads. New employees need to get to know the job and get to know their new co-workers. Social interaction is critical.

    The written plan is for you and your onboarding team to follow. A written plan will help you establish expectations and introduce the objectives. Establish a schedule template to follow. Each department head can insert the onboarding schedule template on to their calendar.

    Over time, as you see the impact of your written onboarding plan, you can make modifications to your onboarding process. Bonus Key, establish the best day of the week for new employees to start and create the schedule template based on that day.

    #2 – Plan Ahead

    When the start date of the new employee is known, immediately notify all department heads of the new hire and the start date. Discuss the new hire in the next department head meeting. Confirm the department heads lay the onboarding schedule template on to their calendars. At least 48 hours in advance, send a memo or email to all staff introducing the new employee, so everyone will know who the new face in the office is.

    #3 – Make the First Day Special

    Before the new employee arrives for their first day on the job, make sure their workspace is ready. Make sure the phone and the computer are working. Clear out the voice mail and plan on helping the new employee set their voice mail up. Ensure that the new employee’s email is working. Have their login information on the desk. Bonus Key, fill the inbox with welcome messages from the employees. Make sure the computer can print to the printer.

    Schedule a department or all- staff lunch to treat your new hire. They can meet and get to know their co-workers. 

    #4 – Involve All Departments

    Effective onboarding involves team members from all departments. Department heads need to play a significant role in the onboarding process. The new employee should spend some time with each department. The members of that department should introduce the new employee to the role that specific department plays in the overall operation and explain what their functions are. Involve the new employee in the actual work of the department. Have them do some of the department’s work, so they gain an appreciation of that department's contribution to the overall performance of the company.

    The department head has this opportunity to train the new employee on the issues most important to the department head. If they take the onboarding process seriously, they can’t complain later that the new employee doesn’t understand or work well with their department.

    Onboarding is not a one-day, one-week, or a one-month event. It is an ongoing process that starts with the decision to hire an employee and continues until the new hire is a productive member of the team.

    Establishing an effective onboarding process may appear to be a daunting task, but consider the benefits of lower turnover and improved productivity to be your reward. 

    If you need some help, please let me know.

    Talk to you soon.