All Aboard!

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of moderating a panel for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce on Onboarding. Members of the panel represented small business owners, staffing agencies, social service agencies and banking. The audience was comprised of members of the chamber from small to midsize companies, social service agencies, health care, academia and city and state agencies. Thought I’d summarize some of the key points the panelists and I made. 

High costs associated with a new hire leaving is not only in dollars, but in lost productivity of existing staff who have to cover for the vacant role and frustration associated with trying to build a relationship with the new person who disappears shortly thereafter.  Morale can be negatively affected. 

First impressions are important indicators. We all know how important the first few moments meeting someone can be. When recruiting we usually focus on the potential hire frequently forgetting that person is also scrutinizing the company at that moment. Interviewers, hiring managers need to recognize they too are being assessed.  The first impression the company’s recruiter/interviewer makes on the potential new hire sets the tone for the person’s future behavior. .  Important to set the cultural tone of the business from the beginning.

Balance is essential. Most companies hire for knowledge and skills. The trend seems to be to address the fit of the person into the culture.  This includes values, attitudes and mindset. Knowledge and skill are teachable. You can teach skills and impart additional knowledge. Fitting into a changing culture is a lot more difficult. Hiring for org culture very important. 

Touching base in person with new hire periodically over the first weeks and months is essential to help them build engagement; address any concerns they may have before they expand.  In order for communication to be effective particularly with new relationships you have to repeat what you have said 3-7 times over the period of a short time. People listen but don’t necessarily retain information particularly when they are anxious about starting in a new role.

Sharing books and videos are also  ways to engage your new employee and get them to know a bit more about you the manager and your interests; and let them know what kinds of things the company is valuing.  

We are all so busy that taking the time to do a proper OnBoarding can be difficult. What we must remember is the myriad of actual and hidden costs associated with having to restart the process.