Starting a new job is a stressful time for employees. They’re joining a new team of strangers and embarking on a new role they might not know a lot about yet. Switching jobs is a leap of faith for candidates so why not take the opportunity to show them they’ve made the right choice from the first day they join the company? Assessments can be an effective hiring tool to help you make the best hiring decision, but their usefulness stretches beyond the final interview. Think about how much information gets thrown at new hires in their first week or month on the job. The more you know about a person and how they learn, the faster you’ll be able to get them up and running. So before you turn back to your tried-and-true approach to onboarding, consider taking a more personal approach to welcome your new employees to the team.
5 ways to personalize the onboarding process
If you made use of assessments during your hiring process, don’t stop there! Using a personality assessment that gives you data on who your new hire is and how they view and interact with the world around them allows you to tailor your approach to onboarding new employees in a more personal way. Think about the platinum rule of treating others as they want to be treated. Showing your new employee that you value them enough to customize your approach sends a strong message that the employee has made the right choice and will be supported as they work and grow within the organization. Let’s explore some ways to use your assessment results to influence your onboarding activities:
Take learning style into account: Not everyone learns the same way and odds are, you have a standard approach to onboarding new hires that doesn’t deviate often. Yes, it’s more work to adapt your onboarding program to every person you bring into your team but think about the benefits that come with the extra effort. If you tailor your training strategies to align with how a new hire learns best, they’ll internalize the content faster and make connections with the material more easily. If the goal is to help your new employees succeed as quickly as possible, then adjusting your approach to match their learning style makes a lot of sense. Think about how you’re delivering content, for starters. Is your new employee just reading through endless documents or can you switch up the medium with videos, photos, staff stories, video meetings, etc? Structure a new hire’s first week or month in advance so that learning modules build on each other to cement the employee’s understanding of their role and the company. Frequent check-ins can also be helpful to ensure the employee isn’t getting lost and is comfortable asking their manager for help.
Talk about work style: Assessments can highlight what your employees think about work and what their preferred style is. During the first week, take some time to talk with your new hire about how they work best instead of assuming what works for you works for them. Some people want a lot of hand-holding in their first month while they figure out the ropes. Others are more independent and would rather find their own way. Some people want to work on larger, encompassing projects and others need smaller, more frequent targets. By talking with your employee, and going over their assessment results, you can figure out how your employee is most comfortable working and discuss whether that aligns with the style of the team or manager. Now is the time to make plans and accommodations so employees feel confident in what they’ll be doing once training ends and they’re on their own.
Factor in personal motivation: What motivates your employee to work hard and chase their goals? Understanding the internal motivation of those on your team can allow you to set better goals and select appropriate rewards. During week one, you’ll probably be setting some benchmarks or targets for your new hire over the course of their first three months or even, in some cases, their first year. Instead of doing that alone, bring the employee into the conversation and discuss how they view motivation and what helps them succeed. Not everyone is motivated by the same kinds of rewards. Some people are motivated by praise, for example, while others need more tangible incentives. By understanding what drives your new hire, you can set more effective goals that take who they are and how they work into account. Not to mention, setting goals together has the positive side effect of giving the employee a sense of ownership over their work and makes expectations clear before they even get started in the role.
Share personal insights with team members: If you regularly use assessments as a team, then break them out when a new colleague joins the group. It can be a helpful introduction to set up one-on-one meetings with co-workers where they’re encouraged to share or trade their assessment results with the new hire as a way to learn more about each other. This gives both team members a chance to discuss how they both work and identify any potential conflict triggers before they come up. Plus it’s a great way to reinforce team connection by refreshing everyone’s understanding both of the new employee and of themselves. For new hires, this helps them feel like part of the group even though they might not know everyone well yet.
Managing the manager relationship: A key part of onboarding is laying the foundation for what the manager-employee relationship will look like. Assessments can help support that budding relationship and clear away some of the awkwardness or uncertainty the comes with talking with a new boss. Instead, both parties can draw from their personal assessment results to provide a framework for the conversation. Managers can share parts of their own results to highlight areas of alignment between themselves and their employee or areas where both colleagues may need to make some allowances. Having discussions like this can help make managers more approachable and increase the level of interpersonal understanding within the working relationship. After all, the manager-employee relationship might start during onboarding but it’s one that will stretch over the course of the employee’s tenure with the team so creating a strong foundation of understanding can have long-ranging impacts for all involved.
Reinvigorate your onboarding strategy
Successful onboarding helps new employees find their feet more quickly and improves long-term retention rates. While there are many ways to approach onboarding from gamification to VR learning to e-modules, no matter what direction you choose, you should try to make your process as personalized as possible. If you’re using assessments to hire, that gets a lot easier right off the bat. Take all that insight and knowledge you gathered during your hiring process and apply what you’ve learned about a candidate to the onboarding process itself. This can include adjusting your approach based on employee learning style or setting goals based on work style. Assessments provide insight into an employees strengths and weaknesses, their motivations, beliefs, and temperament, all of which can be useful when introducing a new member to a team. Next time you hire, treat your new employees to an effective onboarding process tailored just for them and watch your employee engagement and retention levels rise in response.