I’m Your New Hire; Teach Me, Train Me, Don’t Just Leave Me: Onboarding – First Week
You have made it through your new employee’s first day, and I’m guessing it went awesome. You did all the pre-planning, spoke with the team, informed your new hire about the plan so they were prepared, and then knocked their first day out of the park. CONGRATULATIONS, you’ve done a lot and you should be proud.
BUT…remember that onboarding doesn’t just stop on day one. The plan that you worked out for training before your new employee joined the team didn’t stop at day one either. You’ve got this, this is what you planned for.
Customized Training Plan
Your new employee was hired because you saw that they had the skills and experience necessary to do the job that is needed. If they didn’t have the skills or experience, you believed that you would be able to train them on what they needed to do to be successful. Because each employee comes in with a varying degree of experience and skills, you can’t expect to be able to train them the same way.
On the first day, you probably had or will have your manager sit with your new employee to discuss and review the expectations of the position, and what the plan is to support them in becoming a successful employee with your company. They went through how the plan was creating and based on their personal experience and skill set.
The first week, you will start working with your employee on training through these items. You should be prioritizing the items that you need your new hire to be up to speed on quickly and get started on.
Meetings with the Team
When I am talking about meetings with the team, I don’t mean just the department that the employee joined. Although, you don’t want to leave them out of team meetings because they aren’t aware of what is going on yet. You still want your employee to be able to learn the team dynamics, function and decision-making structure, so it’s my thought that you would want them in those meetings.
Additionally, an area that a lot of people miss is having your new employee meet with other departments or teams to understand what they do. To be successful in their position and the company, they need to understand the full picture of what the company does. Setting up meetings with each department, where they can meet the teams and learn about their function or even shadow them is a great idea to get them integrated in to the team as a whole.
Assigning a Mentor or “Buddy”
Some people will tell you that you should assign your new employee a main trainer for the first week, and then assign a buddy. While this definitely works and has some advantages, I usually end up assigning a trainer and having that person function as the employees go to for questions. I prefer to do this, in order to have one main point of contact outside of the employee’s direct supervisor to ensure consistent messaging in their communication.
This is the main trainer that is working with your employee through the training, knows the schedule and makes sure the employee knows how to get to where they need to be if they are training with another team or employee. If you remember back to your first week somewhere, did you have support and someone else looking out for you? You probably didn’t, but reflecting on it, don’t you think you would have been happier and less nervous knowing someone had your back?
This is a relatively easy one. Each day at the end of the day, the supervisor or trainer should spend a few minutes checking in with how the day went, if the employee had any suggestions, and to review the plan for the next day.
This helps to close out the day for the employee and also set their sights on moving forward to the next phase or day.
Lunch with the Supervisor
At the end of the first week, I would recommend that you have the supervisor and the new employee go out to lunch. Being in an informal setting helps have the supervisor and employee get to know each other and hopefully speak a little more freely about how the week has gone.
This is a good time for the supervisor to recap anything they feel is necessary for the first week, or to go through the why of what the company is doing: setting the employee up for success, gaining experience in the overall business, phasing in duties to gain proficiency, etc.
There are so many things that can be done during the first week to get your new employee on the right track, but it also comes down to what your company culture and expectations are. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or the employee (or underwhelm). So be conscious of what is truly important to your company for your new employee to come on successfully and positively.