We talked about the onboarding process in our earlier post. We discussed the steps and the importance of having a checklist. Yet, we need to keep in mind that we should not lose our way in the process. It should be an experience for the new hire and not a process checklist. Our focus should be to connect new hires to their role, team, and the company.
So how would you make sure the new employee feels included and connected? To have a meaningful experience you may have to make room for the new person. Imagine adding a chair to the meeting room table. Everyone already in the room, adjusting the space to make the new entrant fit into the table.
Here are a few ideas of what you can consider doing to create an inclusive environment.
Let new hires know inclusion matters
If you are fostering an inclusive culture, please showcase it to your new hires. Let them take part in the process and listen to them for feedback. It is important to let them know what steps you take towards inclusivity. Share how your measures connect to the company values and why it is important.
Imagine yourself as a new hire in a new role, what are the things that you would need to learn? New hires can be more productive if they know the context of what they are doing. Share with them the company’s goal and strategy. Let them know who’s who through a formal org chart. It is always helpful to have a visual chart so they can know where they fit in. Make sure to update the chart showing the new hire’s name so they feel included.
Help them understand the history and the story of how the company started. Stories will stay with them. They are more likely to share these stories with their friends and families. Help them understand the inside language, every company has its own. If they have come from a different industry or city, learning the acronyms and short forms will help them take part in conversations.
Explain How the Team Works
New hires work on a team. Help them understand how the team works. Explain with examples how decisions are made, who makes the final decision. Is it a participative environment or only one person makes the decision?
Also, help them understand the preferred communication styles within the teams. Should I send my colleagues an instant message or an email, or stop by their desk? Is frequent communication preferred? How are follow-ups done? These tips will make a new hire feel less intimidated about navigating their new environment.
Assign a Mentor
Assign a mentor to help them navigate the culture and coach them in the company’s norms. Also, consider onboarding in batches if you can. If a new hire starts with a peer group, it creates shared experiences between them. Connect your new hires with people who can help welcome and integrate them. These can be individuals who share their interests. Or have previous professional experience. Or, people on different teams with whom the new hire will be collaborating.
Do not forget the existing team
Preparing your team for how the new hire is important. Do not wait until the hire date to announce a new hire. Prepare them in advance. Address questions like, what are their responsibilities? Who will they be working with or reporting to? Are they taking on any work from other team members? What does that handoff process look like? Assign time with each member of the team to spend with the new hire explaining what they do. Encourage them to be inclusive and welcoming.
Feedback is key to creating an inclusive onboarding experience for your new hires. Gather feedback both formally and informally and ask for it so they will know it matters.
Remember you have invested time and money in hiring a new person. Making them part of the team is important to get the results you expected. Inclusion impacts innovation, employee engagement, retention, and recruiting. All that affect your bottom line and have the potential to improve your business results.
If you need help with your onboarding process, please contact us for a free consultation.