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You've invested time in finding the right Instructional Designer (ID) for your team. Don't make the mistake of thinking they'll be able to hit the ground running without some support and direction. Taking the time to onboard a new team member to your organization can pay off in higher levels of engagement and productivity. In fact, research compiled by SHRM from clickboarding.com states that:
You don't have to wait until your new ID has arrived to begin the process of onboarding them. Start preparing prior to day one. Use these steps to ensure both you and your new hire are ready to work when they walk in the door.
1. Email your new hire with links to any articles, videos, and externally available content that you feel will help acclimate them to your organization and its values. Within that email include a list of authoring systems, technology, and important skills you know are necessary to complete your projects and ask them to rate their capability with each.
For example, you can ask them to rate their capabilities as:
Explain that you'll use this information to create a development plan to get them the training and skills they need. Motivated new hires may even begin to learn these skills on their own prior to their 1st day.
2. Don’t make your new hire spend their first day waiting around to access the tools they need to be successful. Make sure they have access to everything they need to start working. This includes:
3. Create a list of of important people for them to meet within their first 90 days. A 30 minute introduction should be more than enough for the initial meeting. This list should include their name, title, and why they'll be meeting with this individual. Start with the following employees and expand from there if you need to.
If you can, schedule the sessions with executives and senior leaders, making sure they’re aware of the your new hire’s role and expertise. It’s more efficient to have your new hire schedule the sessions with additional team members, stake holders, and SMEs.
4. If your organization lacks a formal on boarding program, you’ll want to schedule time for them to complete any compliance training, meet with security, IT, and facilities. There are more than likely standard procedures that they will need to be aware of within their first week or so on the job.
5. If they aren't already, make sure your team knows that your new hire is coming and what their role, responsibilities, and initial projects will be. This will give your team time to prepare to transfer any projects or responsibilities, make any standard operating procedure updates, and mentally prepare for the new member joining their team.
You may want to assign your a new hire a mentor for their first few weeks. This quote from a recent blog post by Dr. Britt Andreatta, brittandreatta.com, explains why this might just increase the odds of retaining your new ID long term.
"According to a 2014 study by BambooHR, 17 percent said that a friendly smile or a helpful coworker would have made all the difference. Nearly 10 percent wished for more attention from their manager and coworkers."
Your new team member has finally arrived! Give them the welcome and day one they deserve. Create a great impression by meeting them when they walk in the door or shortly after. Greet them warmly and take the time to show them around, introduce them to the team, and take them to their desk. If you can’t clear your schedule to greet them in person, make sure to ask a team member to do so.
If you've done your pre-onboarding homework, you should have a plan ready that includes:
If you can, take them out to lunch on their 1st day. This is a great opportunity to get to know your new team member as a person. You can use this time to discuss the projects they’ll be working on, your vision for the team, and challenges that you’re hoping they can help you solve.
Onboarding shouldn't end after day one. It takes time for new employees to learn the ropes and settle in to their new position. Connect with them regularly during their 1st week to make sure you can answer their questions and help them find what they need.
Schedule a weekly recurring 1:1 sessions with them for their 1st 30 days. These meetings should be anywhere from 30-45 minutes in length. Use this time to answer questions, give them feedback on their performance, review and collaborate on the development plan you crafted with them, and help them navigate any roadblocks they have encountered. After their first 30 days you can agree to keep the current schedule, length, and frequency or change it to suit both of your needs.
Treat these 1:1 sessions as sacred. Your new ID will more than likely count on them to answer questions and help them navigate your organization. If you are constantly rescheduling the meeting it can cause frustration and the feeling that your time is more important than theirs.
Either you or a member of your team should review your style guide, templates, and development process with them. This will help them to understand how you develop and implement learning solutions at your company. Let them know your expectations in terms of communication, quality, and process.
If they’re an intern or junior ID, pair them with a senior ID to help them navigate these processes. Shadowing offers a great opportunity for new team members to really see how work gets done. Have the Senior ID task them with the creation of learning objects for a current project . It’s an easy way for them to get started completing projects and adding immediate value to the team, without overwhelming them with a large scale project.
First 30 Days and Beyond
Continue to check in with your new team member and coach them as they manage their projects, implement new ideas, and integrate with your team and organization. Pay careful attention to how they are performing as well as feedback they are receiving from the team and other employees.
Depending on their last role and experience level it may take some time for them to find their footing and become a high performing member of your team. Your job is to support them, provide them with accurate feedback, coaching, and help to remove any roadblocks they encounter.
As a leader it's your job to help keep your employees engaged. Putting in the effort to provide them with an amazing onboarding experience is a great way to make them feel welcome, integrate them with your team, and give them the tools they need to be successful. Leading to a highly engaged employee starting on day one.