By Lisa Blankman, CPA
Senior Manager, Audit & Assurance Services
When your business is short-staffed, it’s understandable for you to want new employees to hit the ground running. You have a uniform orientation process (2-5 days) and then somewhat expect them to be “off and running”! Be careful not to short-change the onboarding process and turn it into a baptism by fire — you may cause a quick termination of a productive employee.
There are many benefits to devoting ample time to the onboarding process, including frequent and constructive feedback, and ongoing supervision and training, all within a supportive work environment and culture.
First, there’s only so much you can learn from the interview process, and it may be a limiting assessment. It’s good for gaining a surface-level impression of potential recruits and their skillsets, but the onboarding period is a chance to dig deeper and get a clearer idea of where they belong in your business. The onboarding process is a mutual assessment by both parties, as they are trying to determine if there is going to be a good “fit” long term.
Onboarding should be an ongoing, in-depth process. And it should include a buddy system or formal mentoring / shadowing program lasting anywhere from 90 to 180 days. This will help new employees feel like part of the team rather than outsiders. During this time, help them carve out their career path and visualize their growth potential. You should assess the new employee’s skillsets and determine where they best match your team’s needs — this should be the product of the onboarding process.
In addition to training and mentoring, you can get a sense of the behavioral aspects of new employees through tools like the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, which helps identify whether people are more introverted or extraverted, intuitive or rational, etc. There is also the DiSC Profile.
According to the DiSC Profile website:
- People with D personalities tend to be confident and place an emphasis on accomplishing bottom-line results.
- People with i personalities tend to be more open and place an emphasis on relationships and influencing or persuading others.
- People with S personalities tend to be dependable and place the emphasis on cooperation and sincerity.
- People with C personalities tend to place the emphasis on quality, accuracy, expertise and competency.
Such insights can be invaluable in understanding how the diversity of the team will breed success.
Younger professionals, especially those in Gen Z, appreciate employers who take a vested interest in their personalities and preferences. They want to feel valued as people, not just as employees. That’s what the onboarding process is all about — making sure new employees feel like they’re right where they belong, personally and professionally. They want to understand the purpose of their assigned task and how they fit in within the team.
I am aware of experiences where a new hire was hired and struggled, but a patient mentor realized they were better suited for a different position within the company, and when re-assigned, they thrived in a match of skillsets and need.
Make them feel welcome with a company lunch outing or give them a sense of your community involvement with an invitation to an outreach activity.
The bottom line is that the onboarding process should give you and your new employees a fair amount of time to make the best impression possible. This is a big commitment for you both. All businesses are seeking great talent, so you want your enterprise to rise above your competition for that talent. Best of luck!