New Roles Create Uncertainty
I had just signed as a rookie to play for the New England Patriots and needless to say, I was bright eyed and filled with expectation about what the future would hold. In fact, going through that tunnel headed to the Boston airport for the first time was an amazing experience. It wasn’t until we bypassed security and walked out on to the tarmac in New England that I realized this was going to be life changing. As we boarded the plane, I watched and realized everyone had their “own routine” and method of doing things which varied greatly from player to player and coach to coach with no particular rhyme or reason. While this was intriguing to me, it left me with no choice other than to adopt my own individual process as we boarded that plane…whether right or wrong. How often does the same scenario take place in organizations that do not have a replicable onboarding plan or process? Organizations that adopt, implement and test onboarding processes create greater certainty for new hire and in the process remove quite a bit of uncertainty for existing and new team members.
Why Role Clarity Improves Team Success
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) employers who allow new hires to come into an organization without expectations or clearly defined roles increase the likelihood of their failure. This failure is also linked to limited manager interest or involvement, and information overload for new hires. To increase the probability of success in organizations, organizational leaders must adopt an onboarding process that offers the most effective method for new team members, a methodology which can be repeated and offers the best chance for retention of the new employee. Over the course of a career helping various types of organizations reach their goals and build successful teams, I have witnessed four things that make a difference in a successful on-boarding process:
- Assessment: Leaders must be armed with substantive information prior to an intervie
w to determine and fashion the right type of questions to pose to the potential hire. They also must be able to identify the new team member’s strengths, skill sets or personality on the front end of the relationship to help predict success & proper placement.
- Orientation: New team members must do more than become familiar with the mission, vision and trajectory of the organization. They need to be placed in situations that require critical thinking if they are to get a full picture of what is expected of them during normal job activities. In other words, they cannot get passionate about something they do not understand.
- Training: This cannot be overstated enough for a new team member. Give someone the blueprint of what you want them to do and then create repetitive opportunities for them to experience it. A weekend retreat or even a week-long training period will only serve to inundate them with information. However, the right type of ongoing training reinforces mental markers they will remember and draw upon later.
- Mentoring: One of the greatest predictors of success as identified by The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is found via shadowing, or individual support and encouragement when a new team member is brought on board. To have another pair of
eyes to encourage and point out positives will make a difference. Shadowing not only offers the new hire with an example to model, but a direct point of contact that allows immediate feedback about questions or uncertainty. Take the time to institute a mentoring and accountability program to make sure your investment pays off in the long term.
Practical Steps for Retention
All leaders and followers will do well to remember the business of work can get messy and new hires that have not been battle tested are bound to experience some challenges when problems arise. For that reason, it’s vitally important to include real life activities or other situational aspects of the job that can immerse new hires into scenarios with real clients or low level accounts to help them gain momentum. There is nothing quite like the feeling of “pressure” that comes from the responsibility of closing a deal or maintaining an existing client relationship.
Remove Barriers to Success
While quite some time has passed since I boarded that flight bright eyed and filled with expectation to go and play against the Green Bay Packers, one thing that I have not forgotten is the team experience. Leaders who create positive experiences and lasting memories built around camaraderie, a powerful vision or a tangible and memorable mission create mental markers in followers that are not easily forgotten. In contrast, leaders who let followers come into an organizational setting haphazardly to either sink or swim instantly create barriers to success. For that reason, do your part and create a life-changing moment that is immediately replicable and unexpected, so that future hires will hear about it.
As a leader, what type of memory are you creating for those that you bring on board and how can you make sure you are being intentional with your on boarding process?
Interested in learning how you can immediately grow and scale your business? Or maybe you want to grow as a leader or business owner? Connect with Dr. Jason for a Breakthrough Coaching Session to explore the possibilities.
Point of Reflection Quote:
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” –Henry Ford