5 Onboarding Rules for Hiring Managers


A strong relationship between a new employee and his manager is imperative to long-term success.

The End.

Shortest post ever.

Okay, just kidding…there’s more.

Something I’ve learned about hiring managers is, while they have good intentions about bringing a new employee on board, they often just aren’t sure about their role in the process. It’s really not that difficult. In fact, it can be broken down into 5 simple rules. Share these with your organization’s hiring managers, when they need a little onboarding guidance!

Rule #1 | Create Connections: The hiring manager is the gateway to many relationships across the organization. Seek out opportunities to introduce your new employee to key individuals and teams. Help him understand the value in these connections.

Strategic relationships to foster might include:

  • Hiring manager
  • Team
  • Department leadership
  • Organizational stakeholders
  • Supporting employees/departments
  • Key vendors

Rule #2 | Build Context: Even a seasoned professional is still “new” when starting with a new company. It takes time to understand the company, its products/services, customers, culture and people.  Help him understand the WHY.

How managers can help build context:

  • Provide briefings with the employee prior to strategic meetings
  • Share resources and other insights about the company, products and competitors
  • Include the new employee in relevant meetings where background knowledge will be helpful
  • At every opportunity, communicate!

Rule #3 | Provide Content: What resources are most helpful to your team? Make sure your new employee has access to them. Don’t assume that he knows where to find them.

Types of content to share with new employees:

  • Internal learning resources
  • Wikis, blogs, FAQs, internal drives/intranet sites
  • Industry associations
  • Competitors’ websites
  • Social sites – Notable Twitter pundits in your industry, LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, Pinterest boards, Google+ hangouts

Rule #4 | Communicate: When your new employee starts his new role, he needs to know you’re there.  Be available. Daily. Over-communicate until the relationship is established.  Give – and receive – feedback. Often!

How to communicate with a new employee:

  • Create a formal onboarding plan with the new employee – this is in addition to the organization’s standard New Employee Orientation process, NOT a replacement for it
  • Set immediate, short and long-term goals…check for progress often
  • Set clear expectations about the role, responsibilities and preferences (yours AND theirs)
  • Let the new employee know what he can expect from YOU as his immediate supervisor
  • Check in, at least daily – whether in person, via email, phone, chat or other platform

Rule #5 | Focus on Your Customer: Who is your customer? Does your new employee know this? Establish, communicate and maintain a direct line of sight to your customers; keep a mindful focus on your team’s impact on the customer.

Keeping a Customer Focus:

  • Discuss how the new employee’s role impacts the customer
  • Regularly talk about sales, products and the customer experience. Make it part of the new employee’s experience from Day One.
  • Encourage the new employee to spend time really listening to your customer – whether in your customer service call center, in your stores or online.  Wherever customers are talking…listen.

Hiring manager, you are the link between your new employee and finding success in his new role. Not HR. Not the guy in the neighboring cubicle. Sure, those folks play a part, but the bulk of the responsibility falls on you. You are the link. And if you don’t work at it, you can also be the downfall. So, be the guide. Be the coach. Be the manager you’d want to work for. Build them up, Buttercup.

Your turn: Managers, how have you helped to build a solid foundation with a new employee? How do you enhance the onboarding experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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