All aboard: Training new hires is more than good policy

As a relatively new hire myself, I am well-acquainted with the value of onboarding being crucial in illuminating “the way things are done” at Russell. To me, onboarding is how employees learn the processes, policies, procedures, and — most importantly — culture to be a successful, productive contributor to their new company. I have found these practices to be most beneficial.

Onboarding buddy 

Before starting at Russell, I received a box of company swag. Tucked into the goodies was a handwritten note signed by my onboarding buddies expressing excitement about my arrival.

Onboarding buddies are not unique to Russell (although we are proud of our execution of it). Their purpose is to provide new hires with the support to ask their questions and receive company information not conveyed elsewhere. Onboarding buddies might help answer questions like — How soon am I allowed PTO? What if I need to work from home because my daughter is sick? I wouldn’t want my leader to receive the wrong impression of me.

Action — Assign an onboarding buddy to your next new hire. Layout expectations for their interactions, ensuring both new hire and buddy feel supported.

No lonely readers 

Russell’s onboarding process originates back to a tale of a lonely reader. A Russell teammate spotted a new hire reading training documents all by himself on his first day. With her knowledge of Russell’s welcoming culture and the desire to ensure no lonely readers on their first (or subsequent) days, the onboarding committee was born.

If your onboarding schedule consists solely of showing new hires the restrooms and supplying a company handbook to read “on their own time,” it’s time for a refresh.

Action — Orchestrate your onboardings with a large cross-section of team members, peers, and leaders.

Roles & goals 

Roles & goals conversations are a fantastic way to illustrate to new hires how their role fits into the organization’s goals. An illustration of the organization’s vision and how their role contributes is critical in helping them to see how their actions impact company performance. Additionally, it helps them evaluate company problems as an innovative team member.

Action — Walk through a new hire’s role and how it contributes to your company’s goals with them. Spark conversation about how the company can achieve those goals.

The successful training of a new hire does not come solely from learning the nuances of a company. We cannot forget the successes that come from receiving support and reassurance about their role during onboarding, and that comes from the relationships that are cultivated with all aboard!

Melissa Pepper is the chief strategy officer for Russell, Davenport. 

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