On-boarding. You’ve hired your rock star ... just perform already!

New employee on-boarding is the process of getting new hires adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly. It is the process through which new hires learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to function effectively within an organisation. The bottom line is that to the degree that organisations can make new hires feel welcomed into the organisation and prepared for their new jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the organisation’s mission - Bauer, T. N. (2011) from her white-paper

Good on-boarding leads to higher employee engagement and greater retention rates - Joyce E. A. Russell

But I think it’s fair to say that most people are thinking, how quick can I get this new person into the business and working! Truth be told we all want this; the manager, the company and even the new employee. But what sounds simple, is indeed a far more complex thing, particularly if you want to maximise the potential of your new recruit.

So firstly let’s consider where your organisations onboard is ‘at’. How do you feel about your organisations on-boarding approach?

For most of us, there is always work to be done.

In this weeks blog we wanted to share some musings and areas that might help as you consider your approach to on-boarding.

What are the steps in creating an on-boarding plan?

  • Step 1 : Consider on-boarding from the perspective of what the new employee needs. It is so easy for us to think first what the company need this person to know and do. But we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the person joining and what is important to them to know, feel, see, experience and connect with. Great on-boarding comes from a broad perspective [see the list below of things to consider]

  • Step 2 : Take the time to plan and communicate to your new hires how you are going to approach their on-boarding and what everyone’s role in it is. Don't forget that on-boarding starts before the employee even arrives for their first day!

  • Step 3 : Do it! [Planning on paper is easy, making it happen is a whole other story]

  • Step 4 : Figure a way to measure and evaluate it. Think BIG about what you are measuring for in order to maximise the potential of your on-boarding plan, and find ways to impartially evaluate your process. The new hires are one of the keys to this – after all who is better placed to tell you if you met their needs. However if you are working to create a high performance culture ideally you would be linking the effectiveness of your on-boarding to your performance measures.

  • Step 5 : Change it up. Always keep improving it, keep it fresh, stuff changes, peoples and companies needs change, it should be customised for different roles and levels. Let's never forget onboard is a personal thing to each employee, so your approach needs to build flexibly for maximum effectiveness!

So what are we really on-boarding for ?

  • Relationships : Connection to team, peoples roles, who can help them, how things work, kick start building out connections/friends at work

  • Values & Purpose : What are your organisations values [not what's on the walls but what walks in the halls]. Help the new person understand the mission of your company, give them context to their role, its purpose and impact. Everyone does not need or expect to be the CEO, but every person needs to know how their role is integral to the mission and that it is meaningful.

  • Ways of working : This can really short circuit the on-boarding phase for a new person by being able to articulate the ways of working in your organisation. These include (but not exclusive to) communication expectations, meeting approaches, decision making, innovation approaches, cultural norms etc etc etc

  • The Human Being : It is easy to get into the ‘process’ of on-boarding but it is mission critical that it reaffirms their choice to come work for you, that they feel as special as when you were ‘selling’ them on the role and that what you promised them is indeed ‘how things work’ at your company.

  • Technical aspects of roles

  • Company specific process : All the practical stuff a person in your company needs to know to get stuff done, stay compliant or keep yourself out of the courts (boo)

  • Company specific knowledge : Such as clients, methods, systems etc

  • Relocation : This is a very specific and far trickier on-boarding. Extra special checks and balances need to be in place, to support with a successful relocation. It is easy to focus on the house/apartment and getting children into schools etc, however more often the most impactful stuff is helping the new hires and their families integrate into a community, find new hobbies, navigate cultural norms, as well as all the small but critical and frustrating stuff like tax, banks, insurance etc.

What are the easy bits?

We recommend that you box these off early in templates or have other team members cover this stuff :

  • Technical aspects of roles

  • Company specific process eg the stuff you need to know to get stuff done, stay compliant or

  • keep yourself out of the courts

  • Company specific knowledge eg clients, methods, systems etc

What are the hard bits and why? This is the stuff that I would be far more precious about and would drive in conjunction with your new hire.

1. Relationships & Values

The awesome Tanya Bauer in a great review on on-boarding found :

Employees with better understanding of their organisation’s culture were more productive, engaged, and committed after one year. What was surprising was that these effects persisted in the long term … found that mentoring connections they made early on were related to their productivity and confidence levels five and a half years later.

In a recent study conducted with software engineers who did not establish meaningful connections with coworkers sought out less organisational information, a behaviour that's crucial to newcomer success. However, new engineers could overcome this information gap by establishing a strong connection with their manager. This suggests that what matters is the act of connecting, not necessarily the person to whom one is connected. The relationship with someone in the organisation helps the new employee feel a sense of belonging to the organisation and enables him or her to freely seek information.

2. Values

There is school of thought that says your can’t train for values, rather you need to hire them.

Either way there is a body of work to be really clear on what your ‘true values’ are, by that they are the elements of both behaviour and results which you would hire, fire or promote on.

What does successful onboard take ?

  • Ownership

  • Human & Personal Touch

  • Time

  • Thoughtfulness

  • Takes a broad view on the on-boarding and the needs of the new hire. Particularly we would call out the importance of social connection for effectiveness of on-boarding <read about it here in this great study>

  • Measurement – it might feel nice and gooey, but does it really work! In 6 months how effective are your new hires? How are they performing?

  • Constant review & refreshing of your approach. One size does not fit all.

Real life examples at PepTalk :

Firstly, let me introduce you to our newest hires 😬:

Meet Karl Tapley, PepTalks NEW Head of Technology

"Really great to be joining the team at PepTalk. From the get go their enthusiasm and passion for the product has shone through. It is an exciting prospect to be using technology and data as an enabler for delivering the PepTalk vision on a global scale" – Karl Tapley

Karl is a seasoned Solutions Architect and Application Development Manager with over 17 years’ experience across a variety of industries. Most recently Karl was a member of the Pallas Foods IT leadership team managing an ecosystem of ERP, iPaaS, and e-commerce platforms. Prior to this, Karl has held Senior Engineer roles in Smartbox and Sysco Software, leading and participating in cross functional and specialist teams.

Karl holds an MSc in Computing, Business Intelligence & Data Mining, Postgraduate Diploma in Internet Systems Development, as well as a Bachelor of Business Studies (Finance). In his downtime, Karl is an adventure race enthusiast and sometime mountain climber.

Meet Cathal Sheridan, PepTalks NEW Head of Program Design

I cannot wait to get cracking with PepTalk. Aside from being a dream to work for on a professional level, the mission and the ethos of the company is the most exciting part for me. I know of very few companies with this unique combination of expertise, passion & drive, combined with such honourable principles. And even fewer such companies that would be willing to employ me. Looking forward to getting to work” - Cathal Sheridan

Cathal joins PepTalk in the capacity as Head of Program Design. Alongside this role, Cathal will retain his current role as Mental Skills Coach at Munster Rugby. What is particularly exciting for Peptalk is that Cathal has been successfully working as a PepPartner for the past 18 months and during this time he gained tremendous insight into the needs of PepTalks Clients and our custom built platform, so he will hit the ground running!

Cathal was previously a professional Rugby player with the IRFU at Munster where he competed at the highest level of European Rugby over a 6 year period. He was one of the first professional players to be an ambassador for the ‘Tackle your feelings’ Campaign promoting mental health.

Cathal, has extensive qualifications in the area of performance psychology and behavioural change, including a BA in Psychology from UL, Master of Science in Sports & Exercise Performance Psychology from UL, Certificates in Counselling & Psychotherapeutic Skills & Practice, alongside the Therapeutic Use of Mindfulness.

Daniel Blei, Systems Support Engineer

"PepTalk's internship caught my attention immediately, it is a creative, young, fresh company with an important mission, to promote the well being of employees. I am really excited about this opportunity to develop my skills, work with the people behind this awesome business and immerse myself into the PepTalk culture" - Daniel Blei

Daniel is an experienced sound engineer having spent 6 years in Brazil working on various projects in cinema and television. Despite his love for the work he decided to return to university for further study. This decision led to him moving to Ireland and studying English for 2 years. He was then able to undertake a Higher Diploma in Data Analytics from the National College of Ireland, from which he recently graduated with a first class honours.

As well as being passionate about music and technology, Daniel loves to travel and experience new cultures.

How did we approach their on-boarding ?

We use a high-level checklist/map of the area’s that are important both to the new hire, as well as us at PepTalk to build out our on-boarding plans from. We particularly like to use storytelling and visuals in this process. We place a high degree of importance on values in our hiring process - it is our opinion that you can’t train for values, rather you need to be relentless to identify and hire for them. Finally we put high level of importance on the social and human connections at PepTalk, so even before our new team members start, we will probably have spent time with them socially/causally, they may have been invited into strategy meetings with the wider team and they will taking part in our fun wellbeing team challenges on the PepTalk Platform.

It’s far from perfect, but we will keep working on it!

PepTalk On-Boarding Checklist :

The Practical Stuff, examples would be :

  • Laptop

  • Phone

  • Desk

  • Business Cards

  • Email Address

  • Email Signature

  • Printer Set Up

  • PepTalk Swag/Uniforms

  • PepTalk App Download

  • Contract Signed & Returned

  • P45 & Bank Details for Payroll

  • Building Code(s) & Keys

  • Emergency Contacts for Office

  • Health & Safety

Communications Stuff, examples would be :

  • Slack

  • Trello

  • Whats App

  • Google Drive

  • Passwords

  • Email (for externals)

  • Zoom

Who we are :

  • The PepTalk Story so far ...

  • Our vision for the company !

  • What we value at PepTalk

  • Team Structure & Roles

  • Who is Pep ?

  • Brand Guidelines

  • Tone of Voice

Our Product :

  • Product Demo & Download

  • Product Road Map

  • Product Vision

As Employers what we think about :

  • Hours of work/How we work

  • Vacation

  • Expenses

  • Working Remotely

  • Social Media

  • Performance & Expectations

  • Wellbeing at Work

Our Clients & Future Clients :

  • Existing Clients

  • Target Clients

  • Client OnBoarding Process

  • Sales & Marketing Roadmap

  • Sales Cycle

  • Sales Targets & Referrals in your network

Process to help you get stuff done :

  • Expenses Process & Guidelines

  • Holiday Bookings Form

  • Open Vacation Policy

Action Items :

  • Set check in dates/times in your calendar (with your manager/employee)

  • Populate any vacations etc in diary/shared drive calendar

  • Set up meeting/zoom calls with 'People to meet'

  • Set up intros with clients (if relevant to your position)

  • Add employee to any relevant standing meetings

  • Agree Bio, Photo & Org Announcement

  • Job Description Review & What will success look like ...

We also share with all new hires ...

1. People that you to meet during your first few weeks :

  • Who the person is ...

  • What they can share with you and help you with ...

  • Phone No

  • Email

  • Twitter Handle

  • Linked -in

2. As well as working together to set their objectives

That's our lot for this weeks blog. Do you have any stories about on-boarding successes? What are you doing that landing really well? What would you advise others planning on-boarding to avoid?

Michelle Fogarty

COO @ PepTalk

Let's make work better …

At PepTalk, engagement is at the heart of all our wellbeing platform. Our platform is about energy, passion and fun while being grounded in key business outcomes. To find out more about this area and our wider PepTalk offering book a demonstration at www.peptalk.ie or email james@peptalk.ie

Shout out to the super talented James Curran for his epic gifs

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