How to Develop a Hiring and Onboarding Process

Posted by in Podcast | April 15, 2014
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Hiring qualified employees is imperative for any business to grow and take it to the next level and an efficient hiring and onboarding process can help you bring the right kind of people into your company. In this episode of Better Business Podcast, Randy Tucker shares specific things to do to have an effective hiring and onboarding process.

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As part of growing your company, you need to hire and get qualified team members onboard in your company. That’s what’s going to build your company and take it to the next level, is having the right people onboard. But, one of the things you may not have considered before is how you go about actually hiring and onboarding somebody into your company. Sure, you’ve probably done it before, but today, Randy’s going to share with us a couple specific things that you should do to make sure that your hiring and onboarding process is efficient and effective in bringing the right people into your company, and getting them up and running quickly.

Why You Need A Well Laid Out Onboarding Program

Interviewer:  So, Randy, before we get into some specifics, can you share with the listener why the process that they may have been using already, with the people that they’re already hiring, might not be best for their business? And why should they use the information that we’re going to share with them today from your experience?

Randy: Well, John, it’s my experience from working with many business leaders that many a times, we focus so much on developing the job description, doing the recruiting, and spending sometimes thousands of dollars to recruit. Most of the times, those same organizations really have no guide for once that person is brought in the door.

  • How do you make them comfortable?
  • And secondly, how do you make them productive, very fast, and fit in with your team and your environment?

So, having a developed onboarding and training program written out that the team can follow and that all the management and the other team members are aware of is just a benefit to making that new person productive, comfortable, and an integrated team member.

Interviewer: It sounds like one of the main things you’re saying is that the onboarding process is really more important than the hiring process, assuming that you get that hiring process right.

What Constitutes An Effective Onboarding Process

Interviewer: Why don’t we talk about some of the key elements of an effective onboarding process? What are maybe two or three main things that a good onboarding process needs to have?

Randy: Well, first off, it needs to have;

A consistent plan – A consistent outline as to who’s responsible for what.

  • One of the things that we do in our plans is we start off with, literally, a fairly large section that we teach all the management team and the other team members. We call it “The First Day”.
  • The new person has been through interviews. They’ve talked to maybe some of the department managers and that sort of stuff, but they really need a true introduction, not just, “Here’s your cubicle. Go to work.”
  • They need to have an introduction, and orientation into the company, in terms of its own internal workings.

Some of the paperwork – There’s always paperwork in hiring. Senior management needs to be involved.

  • Make that new person welcome and feel like they matter to the organization.

After all, you just spent thousands hiring those people, bringing them in, and making sure they’re the right people. So, why not pay attention to them and make them be part of your team?

How Training Induction Programs Help Companies and Employees

Interviewer: So, it sounds like what you’re saying is there basically needs to be a structure in place for the actual onboarding. You don’t just want to wing it. One of the things that you mentioned that I think would be interesting to explore a little further is, it’s probably pretty straightforward to develop a plan to teach somebody about the tools that they’re going to be using or to go through the training schedule for their first day. But, you also mentioned getting people involved with the company and getting people familiar with your team.

Can you share some of the things that a listener should do to get somebody that’s new to an existing team well-introduced to everybody and really feeling like a member of the team as soon as possible? What are some of the cultural things and the softer side of onboarding that a listener should be aware of to make sure that somebody can get onto the team and feel like they’re a part of the team quickly?

Randy: Well, I think that Senior management welcome and the company background is very important. It makes you know who’s leading the company and where it came from and what your responsibility is.

  • The next area that’s real important is introduce them to their new space. This is a second home to them. We work a lot of time in our new environments. They should be comfortable. They should know who’s around them.
  • Then, very important is at the end of that first day, do a wrap-up session with them. How did it go? What do you expect for the next two weeks?

Then, the second and follow on days, you’ll want to do that orientation of the products and services training.

  • Make sure that they have a mentor so that they can not only just look at those tools and deal with those tools, but somebody can kind of look over their shoulder for that first couple of weeks to make sure that they’re using the tool according to what the company does.

Every tool has multiple usages and multiple manners in which they can be used. Companies adopt a pattern, in terms of how they work. For instance, a technical programmer that knows C Sharp. That’s fine that they know C Sharp, but there is a coding infrastructure that’s used in most companies that they need to be introduced to as well. Those are things that are traditionally not so written. They come from your peers. They come from that mentor that’s helping you. So, the training is real important.

How That First Day’s Orientation Makes a Difference For An Employee

Interviewer: Can we also talk through some specific examples of what would the first day look like? And why don’t we use an example of somebody that’s a little more broad than a developer or something very technical? For example, a new salesperson or a new customer service person. Once you’ve hired the right person and filtered through all the job applicants, and you got the right person coming in today at 9:00 a.m., what does that first day look like? Can you walk us through kind of an overview of how that first day should be structured, and what should be done with that person in the first day?

Randy: Sure. Yeah. What we traditionally recommend to our business partners is do an introduction to the team of why is this new person walking around the halls with the manager.

  • Do an introduction of the person.
  • Be personal about it.
  • Do an orientation as to the company itself and where it’s going and what’s expected of them.

Certainly, you got to hand them the paperwork, but we kind of try to push that off to the side a little bit. Senior management welcome, as I mentioned before, is very important.

  • They got to know that they’re valued, and other team members need to know that this new person is valued too, so that they help them grow within the company.
  • That company background, their new space, and then the wrap-up at the end of the day, like I said before, to overview what the next two weeks are going to bring, because your plan needs to go through about the first 30 days.

Then, certainly, we get the formal paperwork that says we’re going to have reviews in six months to a year, that sort of stuff. But, that first month is just a make or break for most individuals.

  • If you think about it, if you’re real comfortable in your first month, and
  • You know where things are going, and you’ve got mentors to help you, and
  • You just feel accomplished, you’re going to make a good team member, and
  • You’re going to excel and help the company grow.

How Can You Evaluate Success of Your Onboarding Process

Interviewer: And how do you define a success of whether or not a program is working? What are some metrics that should be in place to keep track of your 30 day plan and if it’s working well? And second, how do you define who should be accountable for that actual success? Can you provide some insight into that?

Randy: Sure. Basically, one of the things that we do when we work with clients is;

  • We develop this first two weeks, shall we say, or the first 30 days plan.
  • At the end of that plan, we ask that new hire, that person who is now integrated as part of the team, to evaluate the process they just went through.
  • Many people expect things when they walk in the door. You want to find out. Did we meet your expectations as an employee? Did the company meet your needs and your expectations?
  • We’re not talking about just compensation and that sort of stuff. But, did they have a comfortable work space? Did they know who to go to to ask questions?

In terms of responsibility, we review those documents and those notes that come back. Normally, it’s a department manager, or it could be the CEO of the company that’s responsible. But, the key factor being,

  • Give that new hire the ability to give you feedback. Because getting, we’ll call it, “outside feedback”, even though they’re not outside anymore. They’re new.
  • They may see things that you’re doing that’s costing your company thousands of dollars a day, and be able to comment and give you feedback that will save money in the long run.

Interviewer: Perfect. Perfect. Well, it sounds like there’s definitely a lot that can be done to improve a hiring and onboarding process.

Quick Summary and Next Actions

To summarize, I want to communicate just a couple specific points that I think the listener can really use to take what you said today and implement it.

The first thing is: don’t just focus on the hiring of the right people. Putting out job postings, reviewing applicants, coming up with the best interview questions is part of the puzzle of building a great company. But, you also really, really want to focus on once you have that great person in the door, on their first day, you want to make sure that you get them onboard effectively so that they’re comfortable in your company, and they’re producing results that is obviously going to help your company. So, don’t just focus on hiring.

The second thing is: have a really defined structure for that first day. One of the things that Randy provided is an overview of basically introducing the person to the team and to senior managers, making sure that everybody knows who each other is and why that person is there. The second thing you want to make sure of as part of that first day is give the person orientation regarding the company. What do you do? What are some of your specific goals? What are the different pieces of the company? Obviously, the person is going to have done some research and learned some things as part of the actual hiring process, but you want to make sure that you provide as much context as you can, so they can see the entire puzzle and where they fit in.

Another thing that Randy mentioned is to show them what those first 30 to 60 days looks like, on that first day.

  • Having some sort of handbook or checklist that you can show them that says, “Here’s exactly what our game plan is for the next 30 days,” is really going to help them see that path and do well on that path.
  • I think one of the key things that Randy said is to do the paperwork, but don’t let that be the main focus of that first day. If you’re handing somebody paperwork the second they walk in the door, and they’re spending the first half hour of their day doing paperwork and filling out some of the legalities of a onboarding process, that’s definitely something that’s not going to motivate them and not going to put them in a good position for you.

As an action item out of today, I would urge you to contact Randy at Betterbusinesspodcast.com. He’s worked with a lot of companies and seen a lot of different onboarding processes. He’d be happy to share an overview of what you could do to improve your hiring process, and also provide you with a template for that first day so that you have a proven process that you can use and adapt to your company. Once again, the website is Betterbusinesspodcast.com.

Thank you so much for your time today, Randy.

Randy: You’re welcome Jon. Thank you.

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About the Author – Randy

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