This is the last of five total onboarding program posts on acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members.
This post focuses on assimilating and accelerating your new employee. We suggest three steps:
- Make a positive first impression both ways.
- Speed the development of important working relationships.
- Provide resources, support, and follow-through.
Make a Positive First Impression Both Ways
Pay attention to what people hear, see, and believe; the impact the organization is making on new employees; and the impact new employees are making on the organization. Design the day one experience as you would a customer experience. Don’t leave first impressions to chance, because while people don’t always remember what others did or said, they always remember how they felt.
Speed the Development of Important Working Relationships
Assimilation is a big deal. Doing it well makes things far easier. Getting it wrong triggers relationship risks. There are a couple of things beyond basic orientation that can make a huge difference. We suggest you set up onboarding conversations for your new employees with members of their formal and informal networks. Do periodic check-ins with those networks. If there are issues, you want to know about them early, so you can help your new employees adjust.
Provide Resources, Support, and Follow-Through
The first step in giving your new employees the resources and support they need is confirming your own requirement and appetite for change. If all you need is for your new employees to assimilate into the existing culture, you can probably mentor them yourself or with an internal coach. However, if achieving the desired results requires your new employee to assimilate into and transform the team at the same time, you will need to bring in external assistance. (If insiders could transform your culture, they would have done so already.)
Make sure your new employees garner any needed resources and establish the building blocks of a high-performing team, as appropriate to their position:
- what most needs to be accomplished (in place by day 30)
- what’s getting done, when, by whom (by day 45)
- one or two strongly symbolic early wins (identified by day 60, delivered by month six)
- the right people in the right roles with the right support (by day 70)
- a communication plan implemented on an ongoing basis.
Just as onboarding starts long before day one, it ends long after the 100-day plan is executed. Follow through with your new employees to ensure ongoing adjustments and success, or to redirect if things are not working. And check the process: Audit, adjust, and plan improvements in anticipation of the next onboarding.