Communication and curiosity will always be key to a new hire’s happiness and success at your organization.
You have many responsibilities as an HR manager. Part of your job managing people is helping new hires succeed. Onboarding new talent and helping them excel in the workplace is one of your biggest and most important functions. Taking it seriously is an absolute must.
Here’s the thing: it’s both a joy and a challenge to set new employees up for success.
It’s exciting because you are nurturing talent and helping new hires tap into their potential. It is a challenge because finding the best way to encourage them can be difficult. But even when it gets tough, just remember: you have a chance to help give people positive professional experiences. You can have a tremendous impact on their professional development. That’s powerful.
Helping new hires succeed is an ongoing process
Helping new hires succeed isn’t a passive or occasional thing. It isn’t enough to have quarterly check-ins to see how they are adjusting. It isn’t enough to shoot them a Slack message every 5 months to see how things are going. You need to do more for your new hires.
If you want to be an active part of your new hires’ professional development, it’s time to develop some specific strategies.
Confused about where to start? Don’t worry. We have a list for that! Below are 5 strategies to get you going.
1. Offer mentorship for new hires
Peer-to-peer mentorship can be a game-changer. Mentors can help with day-to-day tasks and give new hires a more immediate idea of how people feel and function in your workplace. Without a peer mentor, it’s usually up to the new hire to figure out certain ins and outs of the job. Sure, the training and onboarding process will help answer big-picture questions, but learning the smaller stuff is primarily left up to new hires. It can become overwhelming very quickly.
For example, the onboarding process will help new hires get a general feel for a typical workflow. But a fellow employee acting as a peer mentor will be able to show your new hire easier ways to streamline that workflow. They can show someone new to the role the little things they do to stay organized. They can teach them how to level with a strict or difficult manager. These everyday things can help your new hires succeed at both major and minor aspects of the gig.
2. Establish great communication with new hires
Communication with your new hires needs to be excellent from the get-go. You’ll be setting yourself up for unnecessary HR headaches if you don’t establish this early on. Emphasize the importance of communication in the workplace by showing them how much your business depends on clear communication.
Show them how your company, in particular, integrates these communication channels (Slack, Trello, etc.) into its daily workflow.
Don’t just preach it, either. Practice it every day and set a clear example. Show your new hires specific ways in which their co-workers interact and model what clear communication looks, sounds, and feels like.
It’s also important to show them the company-specific ways your organization uses its communication channels. For example, don’t just teach them how to use Slack, Trello, etc. Show them how your company, in particular, integrates these communication channels into its daily workflow.
This will help them start the job on the right foot.
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3. Schedule check-ins with your new hires
Scheduling check-ins with your new hires can make a big difference, especially early on in their employment at your company. You can delegate this to other HR team members, but meet with them beforehand and make sure they have specific questions and goals for their meeting with the new hire.
Remember also that you don’t necessarily have to stop these check-ins. In fact, we recommend that you don’t stop them at all. Sure, it may be good to do them less often as the new hire acclimates, but checking in and seeing how employees are doing should never go out of practice. It’ll help you address their problems or concerns in a more timely manner, and it’ll help them trust that you have their back.
Another benefit is that establishing semi-consistent check-ins will help you do your job more effectively. You’ll know not just how to help them but that they need help in the first place. Don’t ever close the door on questions, and don’t create an environment where asking questions or being curious is discouraged.
Sometimes the questions new hires ask are learning experiences for you, too. That’s part of why check-ins are so valuable to both you and your new hire.
4. Allow new hires enough time to transition into their new role
This is important because it isn’t done nearly enough. Many organizations don’t allow enough time for new hires to transition into their new roles adequately. Rushing a new hire into their position at your company almost guarantees more stress and a greater potential for burnout. It’s bad news for everyone because it can set your new hires up for failure.
You want to give new employees more than enough time to learn the job and ask questions as needed.
Throwing them into a brand-new position with insufficient training or transition time will rarely work out how you want it to. That “trial by fire” approach isn’t as productive or effective as your old-school boss may have you believe. In fact, it may end up working against you (and your new employee).
5. Provide new hires with a position playbook
This strategy comes to us from the wonderful folks at Forbes. The gist is that every new hire gets a comprehensive, detailed playbook that guides them through every conceivable aspect of their position. This includes:
- Daily responsibilities
- Recommended workflow
- Even an in-depth orientation schedule
You want to give every new hire a clear idea of what their first few weeks will look like, as well as what is expected of them long-term. You don’t want to throw any surprises their way, and you want to ensure you include all the important notes in that playbook. It’s ok to accidentally leave out a small thing here and there. Still, frequent mistakes or incorrect information will defeat the purpose of giving them a new hire playbook in the first place.
The last thing to remember here is that handing your new hire a comprehensive playbook doesn’t mean you can dismiss their questions with, “It’s all in the playbook. Didn’t you read it?”
Communication and curiosity will always be key to a new hire’s happiness and success at your organization. Welcome it and nurture it. You don’t want to create a workplace environment that promotes or even passively condones hostility toward curiosity.
Setting you and your new hires up for success
Obviously, there are more strategies you can adopt to help new hires succeed in their roles. As far as the best and easiest to implement, the above 5 are great places to start. We recommend that you get started with the above tips because they don’t require exhaustive planning and only require skills and training you likely already have.
That means you and your team can immediately start figuring out ways to improve how you onboard new hires and nurture them in the workplace.