There’s typically a lot of excitement when a new person starts on the team. As a leader, you are looking forward to the extra help and what the person can offer to the team; for the new employee they are excited about a fresh opportunity and look forward to serving somewhere that has an impact both personally and professionally. 

It is important to have a strong strategy around onboarding a new team member because let’s face it….sometimes good help is hard to find and studies show 31% of people have quit a job within 6 months of taking the role. 

Start out with a strong foundation

Make it simple, make it easy, and make it fun. Think back to dating when it comes to a new employee.

Before you went out on a date, you probably put some extra attention on your appearance and worked out all the details to make sure that it was a perfect event. That same level of attention and intentionality should be put in ahead of a new person’s arrival. 

  • Is their workstation set up for them?
  • Access has taken care of ahead of time?
  • is the equipment (CPU, hardware) ready for them? 
  • Is your schedule set so you’ll have protected time to spend with them?
  • What other miscellaneous things need to happen beforehand to have a great first week?

Be a connector

Your new people are going to rely on you to be a connector in two ways; first to introduce them to other key people on the team and larger organization and secondly to connect them to the larger context of what’s going on around them. 

Networking: Starting a new job with a new company is hard and it can be overwhelming sometimes. Be intentional to connect the person to other people across the team and capitalize on moments to bring them along to meetings and meet and greets so that they can starting connecting to what will be their larger professional network. 

Context: We can be tempted to throw the person right into the work and have them starting to immediately produce. In order to be truly effective, they need to understand the context and the why behind what they are big asked to do. 

Slow down and explain the why and story behind the reasoning of the approach, why the tasks need to be done, and what the impact is on the larger goals at hand. This won’t be a one-and-done process; you’ll need to continue to fill the context as new projects and responsibilities take shape. 

Set them up with a partner/mentor

New employees often share the sentiment that they appreciate a good friendly co-worker, mentor, or partner to lean on while they learn their role and responsibilities. 

Assigning a person on your team to play this role with a new employee is a win for all parties. Your new employee is keeping a high level of engagement while you are not there, you have confidence that they are getting the support that they need and it’s a chance for the mentor to grow in their own abilities both personally and professionally. 

In order for this partnership to reach its fullest potential, set some expectations on what they should cover together, the tempo for check-ins, and what the end goal is for the relationship. Without good parameters and expectations, even the best-intentioned mentoring relationships can fall aside due to other work priorities and life in general. 

Think about the person’s longer experience 

Over the years when I’ve asked leaders who long they onboard a person, I get a wide variety of answers. Some say a few days, and others say up to 90 days. As you work to onboard a new employee I would encourage you to think about a year’s worth of experience. 

A year may seem like a lot but think about a year’s worth of work where you are. It’s likely that you have some busy times and slow times during the year. You may have projects, tasks, or responsibilities that fall into a specific time of the year that only occurs once a year.  You are selling your new person short if you stop onboarding them at 90 days when many of your big-ticket items of the year are 6 months from now. 

As their rolling 12 months progress, you shouldn’t have to stay as close to them in their daily work, but you should be mindful and intentional to spend time with them and help them learn seasonal changes and big projects that occur throughout the year. 

One of the biggest reasons people leave in their first year is because they didn’t get the support to be successful in their role. 

Engage with your new employee throughout their first year with you. You’ll increase your retention rates and new people will feel welcome and supported as they start a long career with you. 

Make a better tomorrow.