For many businesses, Q1 is synonymous with hiring. Budgets are big, and companies are eager to beat last year’s revenue; this means bringing in more clients, which means bringing in more employees. However, once you’ve gone through the hiring process and secured your new employees, your job is far from over. The first 3 months (and sometimes longer!) are crucial to the success or failure of a new hire. We recently outlined the structure and benefits of a good training program, and now we’d like to provide a few easy pointers on how to effectively manage a new employee. We asked Dave Rowe, US Head of Sales at Institutional Investor, for his advice, and below are a few tips for successfully onboarding so that you don’t find yourself back at square one of the hiring process mid-way through Q2!
1. Communication is Key. Communication works both ways, but it must start with the hiring manager. Sit down with your new employee on their first day and discuss your objectives and expectations as well as your preferred style of communication. Be sure to check in regularly throughout their first few weeks to make sure that they’re on the right track.
o Rowe suggests blocking off 30 minutes on the employee’s calendar at the end of each day to email you a summary of what they learned that day and any questions/concerns that came up. Then, block off 30 minutes at the beginning of the next day for you and the employee to have a brief meeting to discuss that previous day’s work and confirm that they’ve fully understood the training so far.
o Furthermore, it’s important to know what you need from your employees. According to Rowe, “I need people who are going to come find me if they need anything. At the end of the day, the onus lies with the sales person. They are the only ones initially who can judge what they’re struggling with and what they understand.”
2. Structure for Success. Onboarding should begin before the employee enters the building the first day. Setting up their email and computer beforehand is crucial for a smooth transition. Rowe suggests sending meeting requests to their email for the first 2 or 3 days so that they can immediately see, accept, and know in advance what they’ll be doing, with whom, and at what time. “For a good learning experience, you can’t spend too much time doing any one thing,” Rowe warns. To effectively structure learning, Rowe breaks up sessions throughout the day. He also notes that, “I don’t just structure their schedule for them, I structure it for me too.” Managers are incredibly busy, and without a clear training and onboarding structure, the process can become haphazard and chaotic.
3. Bring in the Experts. Speaking of being busy, you have a job to do outside of onboarding your new team member. Thus, it’s important to trust and rely on your senior team members for part of the process. Rowe advises assigning different members to training sessions with the new employee throughout the week. This allows them to get multiple points of view and a range of advice on dealing with everything from handling difficult phone calls to learning the computer system to effectively managing their day. Additionally, it further integrates the new employee into the team and provides them with individuals they can seek help from when you’re unavailable.
4. Know What’s Important. Finally, and perhaps most notably, Rowe advises managers to “clear your plate as much as possible” when onboarding a new hire. “Presumably, the reason you’re the sales manager is because one of your skills is that you’re good at training. Any time you can invest in the new staff is key—even if it means that another aspect of your work suffers. You can make up other parts of your work; you really can’t re-train someone.” The first 3 months are important. A neglected or ill-trained employee is likely not long for the company, and ultimately that falls on the manager who hired and trained him or her. Invest the time at the beginning so that you don’t find yourself starting over 3 months later!
Call us at (212) 777-4646 for information about our Hiring and On-Boarding Consulting Services.