Onboarding with feathers – 4 tips from the other side of the desk

Everything is going great, you’ve exchanged a few messages via the dating website and you arrange to meet up.  Profile picture and write up ticks all the boxes and you seem to have a lot in common.

It’s the big night and you expect the potential partner to more or less resemble what they portrayed, except, they are nothing like they described.  So you send the pre-arranged text to a friend who calls you in 10 mins…ring ring, ring ring, you make your excuses “Oh I’m terribly sorry I must dash, my sister has broken her leg!” and leave.

Onboarding is exactly the same; the first few days in a new role are so important, and it’s the best opportunity for a company to prove they are who they promised they would be.

 

Girl seeks company must have GSOH

I’ve been lucky and unlucky enough to experience a lot of onboarding in different types of companies.  The experience generally revolves around two camps either being given a printed out guide and generally left to discover the processes of my job on my own, or a week filled with hour long meetings with senior staff to understand the business, but not having any time with my own team.

Both approaches resulted in me becoming mentally exhausted, not sure where my role was within the company or what I was even meant to be doing.

I saw an opportunity at Indigo Swan, applied, got the interview and the job, a perfect girl meets company story so far.  Now being a bit of an expert I was unsure what the onboarding experience would be like.  I was, however pleasantly surprised and I am now 6 months in at Indigo Swan, I know my place in the organisation, what I am meant to be doing and what is expected of me.  I believe a lot of this has come from the very first few days where my expectations were delightfully matched to the truth, much like how a perfect 1st date scenario should be.

I’ve listed my top 4 onboarding tips based on one of the best, and hopefully last, I’ll experience.

 

1. Give me something to work to…

Plan the first few weeks for your new starter but still leave time for them to do tasks, we have to take in a lot, so striking a good balance between learning and doing is essential.  I had a written schedule of the first few days which was a balance of meeting different people learning a task, working through it and then reflecting before moving onto the next thing.

 

2. Keep it light…

Allow them time to process what they are learning and write up their notes.

When you’re learning all the time with a new organisation, copious amounts of notes get written and then swiftly forgotten about. When I first started at Indigo Swan, I was given an hour at the end of each day to type up the notes from the day.  This ended up being a vital process, as I was able to understand what I had learned, and organise these ideas into my own readable, format that I could then refer back to.

 

3. Let me know i’m doing good…

I will admit, I was very excited to have my first contract signed and processed, but what made it better was that the rest of the staff in the office shared my excitement and were genuinely pleased I had achieved this ‘first’.  It’s a super confidence booster and felt great that I was already beginning to make a meaningful contribution, even if it is as small as ringing your first client, to getting that first contract signed, reward their ‘firsts’ as they are going in the right direction.

 

4. Make me feel needed…

The first day I started at Indigo Swan, we all gathered around the bean bags and everyone introduced themselves with a quick description of how they contribute to the business, and a fun fact about themselves.  It was at this point I realised how friendly, approachable and positive every person was about their job, and how much time they had allocated to me.

 

Remember, don’t be slack…

You may be thinking, this is great but I’m too busy, but it’s completely logical to take the time to make your new starter feel special as it will last. You have already invested so much in getting them this far do you really want to be doing that all over again in a few months’ time?

Slack onboarding will only result in a slack culture over time.  Involve your new starter, welcome them, and accept them, you want them to instinctively believe that where they are is where they should be and moving jobs isn’t even on the radar. This attitude starts forming right from day one.

 

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Posted by Louise Jenkins in Business