The onboarding process is often allowed to unfold without much regulation.
The attitude often seems to be that there’s so much to do, so many systems and processes to get up to speed with, that an element of chaos is accepted without question. Give it a few weeks and the new recruit will – somehow or other – be properly adapted to their new work environment.
‘How are you settling in? Lots to take on board, huh!’ Some variation of this regularly gets thrown at newcomers to a business.
‘There certainly is!’ they giggle back nervously.
But this chaotic, muddle-through, every-new-starter-for-themselves approach might be doing serious damage. We need to disrupt that.
There’s a good chance that your new recruit was brought on board for their capacity to think originally, to innovate and identify outside-the-box opportunities. (And if not, why not?!).
But all the spreadsheets and guideline documents being thrown at them in their first weeks can make them feel a straitjacket is being slowly but surely applied.
Here’s how to avoid this pitfall –
Disrupt their onboarding
Drag the new recruit away from their machine for a chat. Have big-picture conversations that tease them away from the dreary nitty-gritty (that of course they will be doing oh-so assiduously, hiding any dismay).
Set up cross-department intros
Get your new recruit to meet people in the business who have no real involvement with the minutiae of the newbie’s role. This reminds them that their presence here has more value than just the job spec’s bullet points – not least a social one. They don’t need to be ‘on it’ at every second of the day.
Revisit their interview
This may sound counterintuitive – but they got the job, so this can only give them good vibes! Get hold of HR’s notes and engage the new recruit in discussion of the same themes they covered so well in their interview. This will remind them of why they’re here and that they’ve already achieved something big here – getting the job.