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Having had a slightly unconventional onboarding experience, Priya Sunil shares her thoughts on how managers can settle their new hires in.
We’ve all been through the onboarding process in a new job or role. And we’ve all either had a smooth one or a messy and unorganised one. My personal experience included a bit of both elements, which certainly kept me on my toes, yet ensured I was assimilated into my new team and culture.
Onboarding new hires takes careful planning and has gone much beyond the one-day conference-room briefing of yesteryears. Depending on the nature of the job, complexity of the business, or simply work schedules, it could take weeks to a couple of months.
In my case, it took a couple of months. I joined the Human Resources Online team in its busiest period of the year – October, the month where everyone was working overtime to finalise the special HR Vendors of the Year edition of our magazine, while preparing for the last few awards before the year closed (we had an event scheduled just two days after I joined).
Due to that, my manager wasn’t able to spend as much time on my orientation as she’d hoped, but that didn’t mean I was on the losing end and completely left to figure things out alone. Neither did the team dump 101 things on me to learn immediately.
What this meant was that instead of a typical week-long process, my onboarding spanned a couple of months. During this period, I was given opportunities to shadow, observe and learn. I was also given full and detailed guidance on processes, as and when I had to use them, which meant my productivity wasn’t compromised because of others’ busy schedules.
My team checked in on me every day. As for other teams, who I didn’t get a chance to meet formally, I took the proactive initiative to break out of my comfort zone and invite them out for lunch or time together at the pantry.
Let them know you’re looking out for them, and that they can turn to you when they have doubts.
Today, a year on, I’m constantly learning new things and am far more confident than when I first joined. The learning never stops, and the team is always there and ready to help. Moreover, I’ve realised that onboarding, or any other talent initiative, is as much a manager’s prerogative as the individual’s.
I’ve additionally discovered a few things I hope can be useful for you when you’re inducting new staff.
The first – no matter how busy you are – always take the time to check in on them. Let them know you’re looking out for them, and that they can turn to you when they have doubts.
Second – when you’re unable to devote as much time as you’d like to any talent process, assign a reliable buddy in the team who can fill in the gap. Our editorial team being a tiny team of three, Jerene took on this task constantly, and she did a great job as a buddy.
Onboarding is a valuable, yet specialised process which takes patience on both ends, but good communication can help to ensure a smooth onboarding experience for everyone.
Photo / 123RF