Some of the toughest decisions you’ll ever make are people decisions — made even tougher by the costs associated with a bad hire, which can cost your company $25,000 to $50,000!
But some of these “bad hires” aren’t actually all that bad. In fact, many companies unintentionally undermine the abilities of new employees, especially temporary ones, and thereby lower the odds of success. And it’s all due to the onboarding process – or lack thereof. There’s an art to bringing people into the fold, and the following steps can help make the transition a smooth one:
1. Make a plan
As with anything in business, onboarding calls for a detailed, comprehensive plan. Otherwise, you just leave new hires —short- or long-term — to their own devices, which isn’t all that efficient or effective.
The best onboarding and orientation plans often entail the four Cs:
- Compliance. Compliance is just as it sounds. You want to give new temporary employees the opportunity to read and review company-specific policies and complete all the necessary government documents for their employment. An online employee onboarding portal provides easy access and allows HR to monitor and secure the whole process.
- Clarification. With clarification, the goal is to provide as much information as possible about the role, its responsibilities, and how it relates to the company. Think of it as giving the new person access to your knowledgebase — and for the entirety of his or her lifecycle at your organization. You may even want to handle the first few days as a hands-on FAQ session to get the candidate up and running as quickly and smoothly as time allows.
- Culture. Culture deals mostly with the norms and expectations of any employee at your company. If you’ve got a company mission or value statement, share it with the new hire. Explain what these things mean to the company and get the person excited about contributing to your goals — even if it’s only for a short period of time.
- Connection. Being new (and short-term, at that), it’s important to make temporary employees feel like their part of the organization. Encourage seasoned employees to develop relationships with new hires. Show them where to access information or who to contact with questions. You want to give them all the necessary resources to thrive while under your employ.
2. Build in the fifth C
Onboarding often inundates new hires with information from day one. And while it’s important to explain the role, company, culture, and other details, you really want to create a two-way channel for communication. This not only shows your interest in the employees’ input and feedback but can help identify any issues or gaps in training when they’re left guessing what to do. As soon as you begin onboarding, clarify which colleagues to go to with questions. That way, people always feels heard and know when they’re doing things right.
3. Onboard the person, not the role
Most companies have a fairly standardized onboarding process, which is critical to setting new hires up for success. But we should never lose sight of the person during the process, especially with how much more diverse the workforce has become. Consider and address the needs of every new hire, even when that new hire is a temporary employee. Something as straightforward as pairing diverse new hires with peer mentors can help. They can turn to them for tips and advice on ways to be successful within the organization.
4. Train holistically
While there no “right” way to train new hires, largely due to the fact that there are different types of learners, we suggest using a more holistic approach — or what we like to call the Four-Step Method. This way, you ensure that auditory, visual, and tactile learners all get the most out of training. Here’s how it works:
- Explain. Describe exactly how to do the task, and then share why it needs to be done in that particular way.
- Demonstrate. Roll up your sleeves and show new employees how to do the task as you explain the details.
- Observe. Ask the trainees to perform the task as you watch, making sure to note any mistakes and progress.
- Advise. Give the new hires feedback on their performance. But don’t just offer tips on how to improve. Highlight their accomplishments as well.
5. Break up onboarding
Flooding new hires with information for hours on end just increases the chances that they’ll tune out after an hour or two. Instead of a marathon session, break up onboarding into blocks. Thirty minutes for one, 60 minutes for another, and so on. In between each session, you can then make introductions, tour the office, or get a jump-start on some of the easier tasks.
6. Schedule regular check-ins
Onboarding doesn’t stop when all the information has been shared. It’s always important to follow up with new hires as they get more familiar with their work, your company, and its culture. Include regular check-ins as part of onboarding and pay close attention to their questions. You may discover a pattern in what needs to be discussed, which can inform your talking points going forward.
If you’d like to learn more about onboarding, or need advice on how to best create an orientation and training process, please let us know. Our goal is to be just as much of a resource for information as we are for finding the right talent for the job — be it temporary, part-time, or full-time.