Help! My New Company Does Not Have an Onboarding Plan!

Do not panic. Here’s where to start.

Research shows how critical a well-planned onboarding process is to employee retention.  Knowing that organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity, along with 50% greater new hire retention is worth noting.  Even though this is the case, many companies do not have formal onboarding.  Does that make them bad companies?  Not necessarily.

Some organizations have legit reasons for not having a formal onboarding program. For instance, start-up organizations, or small companies with high talent retention, often offer little or no formal onboarding.  And then there are organizations that have simply not made it a priority.  Regardless of the reason, if you are starting a new job and you’ve been told or become aware that there isn’t an onboarding plan in place, do not despair. You can create a great onboarding plan to set yourself up for success.

The Benefit of Creating Your Onboarding Plan

Look at this obstacle as an incredible opportunity.  You can tailor-make your onboarding plan to include what you need to get up to speed.  Even better, you can customize it to fit your learning style. This is your opportunity to ask for meetings, training, and resources that might not be as easy to secure in the future. Considering that only 12% of employees would say their organizations do a great job onboarding new hires, you may come out better in the end.

Key Elements of an Onboarding Plan

Be sure to include these elements in the scaffolding of your plan:

  • Introductory meetings with leadership and stakeholders. Start with your direct supervisor and ask to set an ongoing meeting schedule.  See if you can also arrange meetings with a rung or two above your supervisor.  These meetings can be brief.  Share how excited you are to be a part of the team.  Ask about their responsibilities at the organization.  Offer a pleasantry about something you enjoy.  Hopefully, they will reciprocate with a similar anecdote.  Smile, be friendly, and warm.  The point is to establish a connection.
  • Introductory meetings with key leaders on other levels of the org chart. Be sure to include peers in your first meetings as well.  If the conversation veers towards office politics, steer it toward organizational success.  Focus on learning how work gets done in the organization.
  • Review of the employee handbook/policies and procedures/office norms. If you need clarity on a topic, be sure to ask your new human resources leader.
  • Draft your key performance indicators (KPIs) (how success will be measured). Set benchmarks for 90 days, 120 days, and for the first year.
  • Detail what you feel you need from the organization and team to achieve these KPIs. An introduction to a key leader? Attendance at a particular conference or training? A regular meeting schedule with a stakeholder?  Brainstorm—and make your list as complete as possible.  Do not expect your new company to provide it all. You will most certainly need to call on your resourcefulness.

 Even if the onboarding plan is provided to you, be sure to think about what you need upfront.  Ensure that your needs are addressed.  Doing so will not only lead to your success, but to greater organizational achievement as well.

Onboarding Before Day One

You may want to complete some of the more tedious parts of onboarding before your first day.  The paperwork, the employee handbook review, the review of any written or recorded policies, may be tasks that you can tackle in the comfort of your home, prior to your first day.  Many new hires are eager to start engaging in their new company culture and job duties as soon as possible, so crossing off a few administrative items before day one is a good way to get a head start.

As you progress in your career, be sure to chronicle your achievements along the way.  Occasionally, compare them to the KPIs and the onboarding list you authored.  Share it with your leadership.  They may just make your onboarding plan a template for future hires—giving you one more feather in your cap.

Cheers to you and your success in your new role!  Good luck!

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