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I recently had an older employee (we’ll call him “Bob”) call me to complain that his on-boarding process was not going well.  There was too much process- too many deadlines, lots of “fluff”, too many hoops to jump through- when hey, he’s just trying to do the job we hired him to do, right?

Bob said he was confused by all of the required items listed on his on-boarding plan.  “How can all of these items be mandatory?  As a consultant, I work on a client site and just want to do my work. I have limited personal time and don’t want to spend it on this stuff.  I was hired to do a job….I’m not getting paid to complete all of this training stuff, especially on my own time.  I want to do my job and do it well.  I don’t have time for this.”  You see, Bob is on his second career.  He’s retired from the military and has moved on to the next stage in his life.

I listened to Bob vent and could definitely see his point.  Sure, there are items on the on-boarding plan that are mandatory.  But upon review, there are other items that appear to be mandatory, but are really just suggestions, like ordering business cards.  When you’ve got all of these items color-coded, high-lighted, starred, and full of deadlines…well, it’s difficult for even the average person to understand which boxes should be checked off now and which ones can wait until later.

For a new hire right out of college, ordering business cards is an exciting thing and probably top of mind.  But what about Bob?  Bob isn’t so concerned about how and where to order his business cards.  He’s working with one client and doesn’t plan to go anywhere else.  He’s not thinking about attending networking events and schmoozing with fellow colleagues.  Bob just wants to work and enjoy his free time.   Free time is spent hanging out with his family and not worrying about the on-boarding process.

The on-boarding process gave Bob pause.  Does it give you pause?  Much thought, effort, and money is spent finding and hiring the best and brightest talent.  Recruitment is about building relationships and connecting on a personal level.  That’s how you make a great hire.  But once our new hires arrive, we throw process and deadlines at them.   Rolling through the on-boarding requirements during the off-hours doesn’t exactly get a new hire excited about joining your company.

Your Plan- Streamlined

  • On-boarding plans should be tailored for specific audiences.   Try to schedule orientations for similar groups of new hires.  For example, schedule your recent college grads in one group and your experienced hires on another day.
  • Match your new hire with an on-boarding advisor or mentor.  Someone that can walk them through the process, but with a focus in a particular area- such as specific client or industry FAQ’s.
  • Suggest 2 or 3 names of experienced peers to connect with during the first week. Building a network should be a key priority.  Coffee and lunch introductions lead to conversations and create relationships that can last beyond the first few days.
  • On-board in person.  This last item may seem obvious.  However, in today’s virtual environment and multiple office locations, try to make an effort to meet beyond email.  Arrange for Skype or web chats.  Connect with your face and your voice- don’t rely just on email.

Don’t throw your new hires into process.  Process is like pushing the “pause” button.  You hired top talent…now set them free.  Just push play.

Check out my blog post at What’s For Work : http://bit.ly/UQ9PB3

Photo credit: http://www.tubefilter.com/