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5 Traps to Avoid When Onboarding New Employees

Management / 03 Dec 2021

Onboarding is a complex process of getting a new employee or existing employee to become familiar with certain processes, procedures, protocols, software, technology and customs of the business. It’s a gigantic effort to bring someone up to speed in a very short space of time.

This is usually done in conjunction with an induction day. This is simply the business introducing itself to an employee who has just been hired, in a formal manner. It’s quite an exciting thing because the business gets to mold and shape a new employee into how it operates and hence, bring a total stranger up to speed on what could be years and years of design and policy. However, it’s a nightmare when you get it wrong because valuable bits of information are left out. Here’s what you can do to avoid 5 traps when it comes to onboarding.

Make Accommodations Beforehand

In simple terms, every employee will need to have his or her accommodations met to be effective during the onboarding process. If an employee requires wheelchair access, then you need to consider ramps, safety rails, and access to elevators. Let’s say you have a new production line manager at your production facility. If they cannot safely maneuver around the floor, then they won’t be able to learn all the parts they will be in charge with, meet their teams, and know how to operate certain technology. So you need to design lanes, ramps and design the working environment accordingly.

If the employee requires access to their medication at a certain time, or perhaps they need an inhaler, try to accommodate them and let them handle their own medical needs during the process. If they perhaps require a specific diet for the day and the business is paying for their lunch, accommodate them. It could be a vegan, vegetarian or specific meat requirement.

Design a Good Onboarding Software

Although you can have training on your current systems be done by fellow employees, it’s best to just work with a managed service provider and design your own onboarding program. This will be in the form of a tutorial built into the software you already use. Many software might have tutorials but these are very broad. You only use specific things of the software so there’s no point in wasting time covering the things you will never be asking your employees to utilize. So just design a specific tutorial that goes through everything the employee needs to know. This can be done via click prompts, doing practice runs such as task management, communication, etc.

Have a Guide Present

When you are onboarding there should be someone from HR on call to help the new employee out. Onboarding is not done in one day, and it must be something that you are prepared to manage for a week or maybe more. Most onboardings last about 2-4 weeks. The employee will get to know their team, how they do their job, certain other responsibilities such as your procedure for responding to emails and making material orders, etc. So always allocate the new employee a personal member of the HR team for the duration of the onboarding process. This way, they can act as their contact point for help, advice and if they find something difficult, they can bring this to the attention of their manager and help them out.

Checklists Keep Order

How do you know that an employee is successfully onboarding? Chances are you just look at the test results from the manager or HR member you assigned to them. This is okay, but it’s better to rely on an onboarding checklist, so nothing is left out. Managers are only human and they may forget something, so leave no stone unturned by having a checklist of tasks, tests, and trials that the employee needs to pass or experience before they are officially welcomed.

Space It Out

As mentioned, onboarding can take 2-4 weeks but that is just average. Onboarding could be done in stages and take however long it needs to. So it could be that you have a very complex role that needs onsite training, testing, and observation. It may take 6 weeks or more. As long as you space out the tasks and allow for the employee to understand everything at a good pace, it should be better for you and the company.

Onboarding is an incredibly complex task that has to be done carefully. It’s a learning process that the employee has to be guided through so they can become an effective member of the team in a short space of time.

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