Business Management Tips

New Hire Onboarding Process – Part 3

New Hire onboarding process

In part 1 and part 2 of this series we covered off on the importance of and approach to onboarding and the complete content you should cover. Now the worst mistake you can make is to set up this beautiful new hire onboarding process, and then see it fall flat! Be active in the process. Use the content plan from part 2 as a discussion guide and meet daily with the new recruit. Ask them the following questions:

  • How did each session go?
  • Do they have any questions?
  • Ask them to summarise what they learnt in each session.
  • Ask them pop quizz questions.

What’s this pop quizz about? Very often, I think staff go through onboarding programmes overwhelmed, hoping that they will just figure it out as they go along. With the right onboarding programme, neatly mapped out, the employee should not feel overwhelmed. But they also need to know that the effort you and your team are putting into the onboarding programme does have the expectation attached to it that the person is going to learn and absorb the information! So rather manage the expectations of your new employee upfront. Tell them that you will have a few easy pop quizz questions after each session. This way they will make sure they concentrate and take in all the information. You can decide if you want to give the pop quizz questions to the new recruit with their syllabus pack or if you keep them separate. You should also share the pop quizz with the trainer upfront so they can make sure they cover the questions/answers…..remember your ultimate goal is to set up your new employee for success. You want to build their confidence, not scare them off!

Important aspects to building confidence and cementing learning are “Success projects”. Typically this small project/s should be something that perhaps you or someone in your team has already done so as to be able to provide a kind of “answer sheet”. Following this, it is a good idea to give them something current, where the output is more valuable, but perhaps complete the first half so they are sure to understand the requirement and format.

Capitalise on this once in a lifetime opportunity I often say that a new recruit is at their most valuable to your business when they are fresh off the boat. They are assessing your business with a fresh perspective, comparing them to his or own past experiences. Its like having a consultant in to assess your business. Great questions and observations come out of this time. Don’t make the mistake of just saying, “We do it this way because X” or “Oh no, we tried it that way and it didn’t work”…..Be careful not to be defensive or too quick to simply answer their questions. Listen to them and take the opportunity to reconsider how you do things! Too quickly, the new employee is drinking your cool aid, has forgotten about why they thought anything should be different and the moment is gone forever.

Programme Support
Other smaller points that are often overlooked during the onboarding process but can cause frustrations….

  • Administration
    Administering this programme can actually be the biggest time thief. It involves setting up the meeting requests in their (and the trainer’s) calendar before they arrive and booking meeting rooms if necessary. Its often a good idea to outsource this admin to a peer of the new employee or a secretary if you have one available. The new employee can manage any changes or shuffling that is required later on.


  • Buddy Up
    Assigning a buddy is a great idea. Depending on the size of your organisation, you can choose if this is someone within the team that person will be working, or another. Each has its benefits. A person within the team can help them get settled more easily into their actual role, but a person in another department could help them integrate more broadly into the business. Ultimately the buddy’s role is to show them the softer side of the business eg where’s good for lunch, how does someone get a cup of coffee around here, which meeting room is which and how to get invited to the afterwork soccer game.


  • Email Lists
    Most companies have email groups, some for fun, some to receive certain reports or communications. Ensure that the new recruit is added to these groups
    Also generally email etiquette is that the person in “To” is expected to reply or be responsible for the message and those in “cc” simply as an FYI. If there is any other protocol or understanding within your organization, make that clear.


  • Systems Training
    Some companies can have many systems and software packages that they use. Be sure to include systems training and systems admin in all of this. eg everything from how files are stored – naming convention and folder structure to internal systems navigation and usage.


  • Regular Meetings
    Most companies also have set, regular meetings in the calendar that might be daily, weekly, quarterly or annual. Be sure to add the new recruit to all the relevant recurring meetings but PLEASE, please explain what each meeting is for! What is the purpose, how frequent is it, who attends, who contributes, what is expected of you at that meeting?


  • Reading Material
    What about all the gaps? You can’t set up back to back meetings. I suggest 2 or 3 per day maximum. To fill the gaps productively, provide them with website links to browse and email newsletters to sign up for. Possibly provide them with useful books, webinars, conferences, or courses to read/attend in the first couple of months.

We have now covered the total overview of how to create a syllabus for onboarding training, building the foundation for a very happy, confident and capable team….and great staff retention in the long run.

I’ve spent the last 10 years working in digital marketing and ecommerce. I’ve been the agency, the client, and lectured and trained 1000’s of people. I have a passion for training and development, smart, simple marketing...and running and wine...not at the same time :)