Onboarding New Employees

 … How much does onboarding take for new hires?

New employees often ask: “What will my first month look like? What training will I get?”

Well, it’s a bit more complex than just giving a timeframe and a block of meetings.

I’m Teri – I’ve just joined the recruitment startup LevelUp Ventures. Since I studied Organisational Psychology, I’m familiar with the theory behind getting new employees properly inducted in a new company. In my practical experience, I have implemented the onboarding process of new recruits in the past two companies in which I worked. At Takeaway.com, I managed the UK Customer Service team and one of the key recurring processes I lead was the recruiting and onboarding of CS newbies. I then moved to a start-up company, 5miles. There I also took on the role of hiring and onboarding all new staff – from Customer Success, to Content Developers, to the CTO. My most recent career move was to go directly into recruiting – I started at LevelUp ventures in June. From all my experience with it, let me tell you, it’s not an easy thing to get someone onboarded well.

Onboarding 101

Onboarding – as it’s described in the HR world – is getting the new recruit up to speed with regards to the role, and the company. In layman’s terms, this means the newbie is able to do the work without a lot of hand-holding.

Most companies focus on theory trainings (often with a large unfriendly book of rules and procedures). Then there’s some involvement in various meetings, and a bit of practical work. And once the program is finished – off they’re pushed, expected to swim like an Olympian when in reality, they’re still flailing around like a toddler.

Onboarding in culture, mission and process

Onboarding is so much more than just reading some manual, and sitting in a few training sessions. In my first month at LevelUp, not only was I the newbie – but also the onboarding guinea pig. Daniel, a seasoned Level Upper, created a new and improved onboarding program (read: the first ever at LevelUp). It was a fantastic first attempt and I feel like I understand the theory behind the company’s why and how. And since I’ve joined the company with some onboarding implementation under my belt, one of my tasks is to take that same program to version 2.0.

Not everyone learns the same

For me, the process of getting a new employee onboarded well is all about touching all of the learning styles. No-one is ever going to learn only be reading a manual. At the same time, some background material to read does help when it’s time to put it into practice. My suggestion then is to combine classroom training, role-play and sessions focused on working directly on a live project. That’s how I will ‘level up’ the onboarding program.

And don’t forget, onboarding is not only for the new recruit. It’s also a good time for the ‘old’ team to relook at the way things are done, upgrade their information, redesign the process and also get a feel for having a newbie (or newbies) in the team.