Onboarding New Hires: Quick Tips for Supervisors

Following are some quick tips for onboarding new hires that I put into practice as a new supervisor, and that resulted in a positive experience for my team:

1. Before onboarding new hires, ask members of your team to write up short bios about themselves. Provide them to your new hire on his or her first day. This allows the new employee to more quickly identify commonalities with the people on the team and helps to create a space where the new employee and veteran staff can quickly build rapport.

2. As a first assignment, ask your new employees to write up a bio about themselves, add it to the team bio, and redistribute it to the team. This allows your new employees to introduce themselves with the information they would like to share about themselves in their own voice. It will also be a first assignment, which helps the new employee feel productive on the first day.

3. Discuss your schedule for the week and your preferred communication style on day one.

4. Make yourself available. Do not wait for the new employee to come to you with questions. Seek them out at least once a day to find out how they are doing.

5. When checking in with your new employee, keep your questions open-ended. For example, instead of asking “Do you have any questions?” try: “What questions do you have?” New employees often have plenty of questions, but they may not say so for fear of seeming incompetent. By asking questions in an open-ended way, you let them know that questions are fully expected.

Here are some helpful open-ended questions to begin to build rapport with your new employee:

1. How does this compare to your previous experience at your last job?

2. What was the most valuable part of the training/shadowing you experienced today/this week, etc.?

3. What questions do you need to ask to better understand…?

4. How do you see the things you learned today connecting with the job description of your position?

Remember: The first month of onboarding is all about building rapport and trust. If this is done well, later issues that arise will be much easier to address directly with your employees, without the need for HR involvement.

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