How to Develop a Successful On-Boarding Program

Jolene Pilgrim
17 Oct 2017

So you advertised, interviewed and finally found just the right candidate to fill your company’s vacancy.  Perhaps the individual has the exact qualifications, experience, and individual personality skills that make them a perfect fit for your corporate culture or job role.  In short, you’ve hit the hiring jackpot.  While all of that is well and good, if you don’t have a well-developed and comprehensive onboarding program, even the best hire can go south in a hurry leading to employee turnover and increased business costs.  

Enter the importance of a well-developed onboarding program.  The ability to integrate a talented candidate into your existing firm or corporate culture is an essential element of any successful hiring program.  The ability to train a new hire in both their day-to-day job functions and their place in the current company hierarchy is essential to long-term growth, development, and integration.  Sure, you may have chosen the best, most qualified candidate for the role, but if you don’t have established structures and professional guidance in place, your investment could quickly turn into a hiring disaster.  Never fear, however.  We’ve got the facts, figures, and guidance you need to make that new addition a hiring success.  

Set Clear Expectations

Whether prior to hiring or on the very first day of integrating that exceptional new candidate, the key to a successful onboarding program is setting clear career and role expectations.  Most of this starts with a well-defined job description.  Putting some thought into the day to day tasks of your new hire prior to interviews can help set the stage for ensuring you’re hiring the right candidate as well as help establish clear expectations once you have the new team member in the door.  Come up with a clear and concise set of daily functions that will help your candidate have a clear idea of what to expect in their new role come day one.  Not only will you attract applicants with a better overall match but you’ll also have more success in integrating them into your company’s existing infrastructure.

Make a Training Schedule

From the basics of firm apps and technology infrastructure to the more advanced applications they’ll need to perform their daily job functions, training in essential technologies is an important part of onboarding a new candidate.  Most modern applicants will have a basic knowledge of email and research programs, but the more specialized, and often more important, advanced database and proprietary database software will be the bread and butter in which your candidates operate.  Teaching the new hire how to utilize this software is important to both initial rollouts as well as long-term contributions for suggesting better or more efficient methods of operations.

Define the Job Hierarchy

If you take a poll of recent hires across job descriptions, markets and fields, perhaps the biggest frustration they would express would be surrounding regarding corporate hierarchy.  It’s important to help candidates clearly identify who they report to and who they can go to in case of complaints, frustrations or guidance.  These types of questions are essential both as a resource for new hires in addition to painting a picture of the potential career track they may be signing up for.

Schedule Time for Check-Ins

Getting your new candidate in the door is a small part of any hiring equation.  Even with the best onboarding programs in place, individual candidates will still have different initial and ongoing career needs that should be addressed by sophisticated hiring managers.  Once you’ve fully integrated your new hire, be sure to check in with them on an ongoing basis.  This will help you identify any major needs and concerns and will let savvy manager head off long-term issues before they begin to impact your department or division across the board.  

Ask for Feedback

As a hiring manager, supervisor, head or other leader in your field your company has probably placed a great deal of faith in your skills and abilities to perform your essential job functions.  That’s all well and good but, at the risk of sounding a bit jaded, our mom thinks we’re awesome too.  A successful and dynamic supervisor knows that a key aspect of integrating a new hire is the knowledge, expertise and specific experiences they bring to the job table.  

Utilize this specialized knowledge by asking for feedback on your specific performance after the candidate has been with the company or firm for a short period of time.  Set up structures that continue to ask for this type of guidance as a way to both build confidence in your team and to continue along in your own personal and professional career growth.

Have another concrete suggestion when it comes to onboarding quality candidates?  Shoot us a message or leave a comment below.  Maybe your tip or trick will make our next update, helping a future candidate or hiring manager make a smooth transition into the job of their dreams.

Jolene Pilgrim