Don’t underestimate the importance of onboarding. An effective onboarding process is critical to the immediate success of new employees as well as the long-term success of the entire team. A well-thought-out onboarding plan and following onboarding best practices will give new employees a great first impression and all the tools they need to succeed during their first three months in the role (and beyond). It’s also a surefire way to retain top talent, especially because companies always face the risk of losing high-potential employees.
Three Supporting Roles to Set New Hires Up for Success
These three supporting roles can help a new hire get acclimated to a new company or position.
- The leader: The new employee’s leader is their primary source of support. Leaders should be prepared to guide new employees through the entire onboarding process, help them to acclimate to the role and organization, provide clear expectations and feedback, and ensure their experience is welcoming and inclusive. In addition to discussing performance expectations, leaders should begin discussing short- and long-term development goals with their new team members right away and support them in creating a plan to achieve those goals.
- A buddy: An onboarding buddy is a person who can meet with the new hire throughout their first few weeks or months to provide guidance and help them begin to build their internal network. Selecting a buddy who is a peer of the new hire and with lower tenure (one to three years) is ideal as they are more likely to relate to the new employee and empathize with the experience of being a new hire. A buddy should have strong interpersonal skills, be eager to help others, and exemplify the organization’s values. Often, a new hire’s “buddy” becomes a close colleague and supportive friend both inside and outside of the organization. So, give extra thought in assigning a new team member’s onboarding buddy because they tend to ease any nerves associated with transitioning into a new role.
- A mentor: A buddy can and often plays the role of a peer mentor. But it can be invaluable to also connect new hires with a more formal mentor who can build rapport, provide long-term advice, and share insight into what it takes to succeed in the organization and industry. Consider the background, experience, goals, personality, and readiness of new hires and potential mentors to ensure a good fit. While some new employees are ready for a mentor early on, others may be overwhelmed by starting a relationship with a mentor too soon. So be sure to consider the appropriate timing of a new mentoring relationship.
Onboarding Best Practices: Step by Step
The onboarding experience begins well before a new hire’s first day and, on average, lasts through the first three months. The following are key steps and best practices for leaders to ensure their new employees feel welcomed,connected, and set up for success.
Read more in DDI’s blog.