What happens when you don’t train new-hire mentors and other stakeholders involved in the onboarding experience [according to Dilbert]:
Many of our client conversations start by clients asking us for best practice activities to do with new hires in the first weeks or months of employment. These are fair questions, but they also imply that the organization may be taking a very narrow approach to onboarding (e.g., focusing all available time and resources on only the new hires themselves).
We know that to be effective, you need to take a more systemic approach to onboarding – one that takes into account training and programming for all of the stakeholders and “actors” involved in the onboarding experience. Examples of these other stakeholders and actors involved in the experience include mentors, functional and business unit leaders, hiring managers, benefit administrators, IT, etc.
Programming for these various stakeholders should intend to support and enhance the overall onboarding experience for your new hires. For example, you may want to consider hosting workshops for the mentors assigned to your new hires. These mentor workshops should occur several times throughout the new hire class’ first year: first to get the mentors excited about their role and later to introduce content, tools and frameworks for mentor conversations that you will want to architect to help achieve the specific objectives of your onboarding program.
Of course, you can also use these workshops as structured time for mentors to collaborate on objectives, share experiences regarding challenges and best practices, and for you to collect feedback pertaining to the new hire experience. The aggregation of best practices and feedback during these sessions can also play a key role in informing continuous improvement efforts as part of your program’s management architecture. Furthermore, this example of programming for mentors can and should be extrapolated to the other relevant stakeholders involved in the new hire onboarding experience.
Our key takeaway: your program design needs to have proper support structures in place for all of the critical actors that are part of the onboarding experience. Without these support structures in place, you will not only find your actors ill-equipped to deliver a first-rate onboarding experience to your new hires, but these stakeholders will also be far less engaged and supportive of your overall program.