You’ve eventually found a new member of staff, they work their notice and are ready to start. You’ve already spent weeks working too hard to make up for the missing person, how long does it now take before they’re properly proficient? Then…. they leave! If you need your new staff to stay longer and be proficient more quickly, improve your onboarding process. Should that onboarding process be different for introverts different?
Why focus on onboarding?
There’s two recruitment costs you can control.
- People leaving. Less people leaving, means less recruitment costs. Company culture, and better leadership help control this.
- Onboarding. Getting your new people up to speed and feeling good. It can take months of before somebody is fully proficient in your firm’s systems, what you want and their role – speeding this process helps reduce the cost.
Some people will shout when they’re not getting the induction they want, others won’t. Those quieter ones will often assume you’re not interested, become even less productive and probably leave.
A Gallup survey “How Millennials Want to Work and Live“, showed that when looking for jobs career development is important. In fact 87% of millennials rated “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important, and only 69% of non-millennials. If you’re not seen to be providing that, or worse still don’t provide it when you promised it; recruitment will be harder or people will leave. The best place to start is with a structured induction (onboarding) programme.
Should you onboard introverts differently?
The first day in a new job can feel daunting for anybody, can you remember some of yours? An introvert may find this more of an issue as they’re likely to run low on “people energy” quickly and use “internal processing” more than external. Firing lots of rapid fire questions and putting introverts into the middle of a chaotic mass of people probably won’t be the most effective way to manage their first day. But then, it’s probably not the most effective way to train anybody on day one! Handing people a planned timetable, looks professional, feels welcoming and allows them them to see that you have a structured programme. Added bonus – it reduces the need for them to keep asking questions that you plan to answer later.
Introverts feel more comfortable when they understand their place in their team (immediate team and whole company); but nobody needs to know this all on day one. A programme which shows people how and when they’ll meet team members, without overwhelming them and understand their role etc will help all new starters, especially introverts.
Don’t treat introverts differently, manage the process effectively so everybody gets the onboarding you need them to get, although the programme many help introverts more.
Onboarding staff, especially Introverts.
Employee induction (onboarding) is the process where new employees learn and adapt to your organisation to quickly reach maximum productivity. The more quickly you complete this, the quicker the employee is effective, but you don’t want to overload the new employee or those who do the induction.
There are various different elements to new staff induction:
- Have to do: There’s a range of things such as computers, IT system access, health and safety, fire regulations,
- Job related: How am I supposed to do the job I’m employed to do?
- Team related: How do I fit in with my team, what are the roles of others in the team and how do we work together?
- Company related: Where does my team fit in the company. What are the wider objectives of the company (strategy, competitors, customers) and how does it go about things (culture)
Having a programme which covers all of these elements, and others you’ve identified will help new staff settle into their roles.
What’s involved? A structured onboarding programme will include guided tours, checklists, and more; spread over a number of months. There may be technical / legal (documents to sign, upload, or acknowledge), admin tasks (desk set-up, IT login etc), and then there’s cultural learning (company culture, market knowledge, who does what and how it interfaces with them) and then role specific learning (how to do what you’ve employed them for.
Timeliness: Different parts of each of these four themes have to take place at different times; new staff need computer access very quickly, and understanding where the company sits v competitors is not as urgent (for most roles). A standard onboarding timetable, once created, allows all aspects to be covered in a timely manner.
Who’s involved? The wider the range of people involved, the more diverse and more effective the onboarding PLUS less work for you to do. Involving a wide range of staff means everybody feels more involved and your new team member meets the whole team more effectively. Check each person in the process knows what you need them to cover and when. Your standard checklist will identify who is best at doing each element of the programme.
The employee handbook: Having an employee handbook is a key reference place for all employees, let alone the new ones. However handing over a handbook and saying “it’s all in there” isn’t enough. Different parts of the programme may point out different elements of the handbook at different times, this reinforcing the importance of the document.
Your induction programme, simplified
Having a clear onboarding process doesn’t have to involve you doing too much, in fact planning it in advance can reduce your workload.
- List down who could help familiarise new employees with different aspects of the role.
- Ask (tell?) them in advance the main things you want them to cover
- Get them to add some more detailed notes. This saves you work, makes the onboarding more consistent, and means the new employee gets some notes.
- Get each person and the subject they’re covering listed.
- Sequence the list in the relevant way. Add when the new person should receive each part of the programme (e.g. 1 day in, 72 days in). That allows you to use the list again and again
- Give your new employee a copy of the onboarding plan, covering roles, people, timescales – it will help you and your new employees.
Now you have a comprehensive document, which you didn’t do too much work on, which gets used for all new staff.
A proper onboarding process will help your team understand what’s going on. Not doing this means company culture, performance, retention and staff engagement suffer. Without systemised onboarding you’re more likely to lose individuals in the first year. The quieter people might not even give you any warning prior to leaving, so having a programme in place is important.
Gallup found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their company does a great job of onboarding new employees. That means there’s lots of people starting their job with you feeling like you’ve let them down, so they’re less likely to be productive and more likely to leave early.