More Of A Hindrance Than A Help
That feeling of relief when the hiring process is finally over, the offer is made and accepted with a start date set. Relief that the gap has been filled, the workload is about to balance out, or the exciting list of innovations and ideas will be finally implemented. This feeling of relief is quickly hit by the reality.
From a new employee’s first day through to at least the end of their probation, can be a time consuming and highly stressful time for both the employer and employee. The new employee is generally more of a hindrance than a help while training is rolled out, they learn the strategy and purpose of their new role and become part of the culture. Most new employees actually cost the organisation money during this period.
The onboarding period is so important in creating the foundations of their technical knowledge and working culture, yet can often be rushed due to resourcing issues, lack of structure and the inability to provide them with all of the information and tools that are required.
Without it, employees don’t know what they don’t know and can miss important steps within processes or can potentially create their own steps to get them through. Either way, correcting errors and retraining employees is a costly exercise and also the cause of many performance and cultural triggers.
For the new employee, that feeling of not knowing how to do their job, constantly asking questions and looking for work to do can be very demotivating.
Creating a strong and efficient onboarding process that is owned by the new employee is how we get them up to speed and working independently as fast as possible.
Here are 4 tips to build an Onboarding Process utilising Emotional Intelligence:
The way in which we learn, communicate, make decisions and buy/sell is all guided by our modalities. Each one of us has all 4 modalities within us: Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic and Digital, but there is one that will be our default (highest) modality. When our onboarding and training process is aligned to our default modality, we take information in faster, and our learning occurs at a much higher rate. If our leader and trainer can identify our default modality and deliver their training aligned to this, we become an asset in the role much more efficiently. Understanding modalities is a gamechanger in all areas and is discussed further in my book.
Our Emotional Profile is just as important as our Technical Profile. When a new employee joins the team, understanding what they know and what they can do is a given. The key is to understand how and why they do things. Emotional Profiles develop an understanding of the best way to motivate, provide feedback, praise, communicate and deliver change for each person. When we understand what makes people tick, we can achieve amazing things in short periods of time. As Leaders, the key way to lead your team is understanding their drivers. Spend the time to understand the Emotional Profiles of those around you as well as sharing your own.
A structured plan is the best way to make the most of everyone’s time. Before the employee arrives on their first day, anything from a 2 week to a 90-day plan should be mapped out ready for the new employee to own. Our mind gets overwhelmed without answers and direction, especially if lots of questions are occurring at the same time. Everyone will appreciate a plan providing insight as to what those first weeks/months look like. Without it, we tend to miss things and make a lot of assumptions.
The greatest Onboarding Programs are guided by the Leader and owned by the new employee. This is the prime time to have a fresh set of eyes and ears looking at the way the business and processes work. An inquisitive time for the employee to go in search of information to provide the big picture and satisfy the ‘why’ in their mind. So, while we learn as much as we can about the new employee, we want the employee to learn as much as they can about the business and people. Provide the plan and direction but don’t spoon feed. Set them on their own ‘Amazing Race’ through the business to find answers, learn, challenge and grow ready to perform. Let them ‘Own It’.
When I work with organisations and people that are struggling with levels of EI, poor culture, underperformance and engagement, quite often we can relate it back to the expectations and relationship that has been set at the very beginning of each person’s career within the organisation.
Rather than retrospectively working on change, let’s proactively make it right from the beginning. It’s never too late to get the Onboarding Process right and it’s never too late to onboard someone if it wasn’t done right in the first place.