New Manager Onboarding

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A positive and effective onboarding experience is critical for all new hires. Onboarding helps keep employees engaged, shortens ramp-up time, and improves long-term retention rates. However, while most companies focus on onboarding new employees, many of those same companies spend far less time, if any, onboarding new managers.

The reasons for this neglect are difficult to pinpoint, but in cases where an employee is promoted into management, leadership may believe that the newly-anointed manager knows enough about the company and the job to be successful.

In cases where outside managers are brought in, leaders may assume that managers are managers, and they don’t require much in the way of onboarding other than a quick tutorial about company values.

It shows a strong vote of confidence to assume that new managers can jump into a position and hit the ground running, but the truth is, every new manager should be properly onboarded to prepare for success. New jobs are new jobs, whether a person is an entry-level associate or a C-level executive. A strong onboarding program is important to help lessen the learning curve and set new managers up to achieve their goals from day one.

Onboarding Starts With The Hiring Process

It is a myth that onboarding starts the first day on the job. Onboarding really begins before a candidate is even selected. Leaders must create clear job descriptions that leave little room for assumptions. Be clear about the goals, expectations and responsibilities of the position.

  

Throughout the interviewing phase, it is important to have frank and honest discussions about both the positive and the negatives of the job. Candidates for management positions should have a clear understanding of the challenges they may face in the position so that there are no surprises once they join the team.

This includes dynamics of the team that they will be inheriting.

Let Your Culture Flag Fly

The interviewing process is about more than just the job itself. In order to hire a manager that will be an advocate of company culture, the hiring team must make the culture clear throughout the interviewing process. Clearly state the company’s vision and mission, describe the values of the organization and let candidates know what is expected of managers when it comes to promoting company culture.

Ask good probing questions to determine whether or not there is an alignment of values with the candidate. There is little value in hiding company culture or misleading candidates about that culture. Own it. Be proud of it. And be clear about the values that make the company a success.

Create A Welcoming First Day

The first day on a new job is always scary, even for the most confident among us. New managers want to make a good impression, and they know that all eyes will be on them from the moment they step through the door. However, the team must also remember that the new manager’s eyes work as well. Make sure that the hiring manager arrives early, so that she is there to meet the new hire and offer a warm welcome.

Don’t make the new manager wander aimlessly through the building or sit alone in the reception area. Be ready with a smile and a handshake to start the day on the right note.

If the hiring team did a thorough job of learning about the new hire, you’ll know a little bit about their hobbies and interests. Go the extra mile and personalize his or her workspace with a small token that says, “We listened when you spoke.” For example, if you discovered that a new hire is an avid gardener, place a beautiful green plant in the cube or office with a card signed by her new team.

There is Strength in Numbers

Every new manager needs a mentor. Assign a peer from another team to be the new manager’s “buddy” for their first 90 days – or even their first year. Have the mentor show the new manager around the office on the first day.

The mentor should have lunch with their new mentee on the first day, as well.

This type of “buddy system” gives the new manager a familiar face that they can call upon when they have questions and makes them feel as though they have someone on their side as they get their bearings in the new position.

Setting The Right Expectations

The manager should meet with his direct supervisor early on the first day, reviewing responsibilities and expectations for the first 30, 60 and 90 days. Be sure that a team meeting is also scheduled to introduce the manager to the new team, and have the manager set up introductory one-on-ones for the first week.

Most every business leader knows that onboarding is essential for employees, but somehow managers often don’t get the same treatment. Take time to develop a strong onboarding program to help both new professionals and new managers get acclimated quickly, and improve the chances that they will make your company their professional home for years to come.

Beth Armknecht Miller is a Certified Managerial Coach and CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. Her latest book, “Are You Talent Obsessed?: Unlocking the secrets to a workplace team of raving high-performers is available on Amazon.