In this article, we share 3 best practices that you can combine with your onboarding program in order to reach the expected results. Feel free to adapt them so that they comply with your organization’s culture.
1. Get a tutor
The new employee needs to be supported and guided during the first few months after being hired. Therefore having a tutor is a good practice to implement. Your choice should ideally be set on an experienced employee who performs similar tasks and is able to pass on his knowledge and expertise. But beyond his technical skills, you have chosen him because he is a good communicator, able to demonstrate empathy and active listening; he will be available and will care for the well-being of the new hire, and is fully aware of the importance of his role in the successful integration of the new employee. He will need to share his knowledge, follow the new employee’s progress, provide timely feedback and facilitate his integration among the team and the organization.
Sometimes referred to as mentor or buddy, the role of the tutor may vary depending on the organization’s structure and the type of work. It should be noted that the tutor does not act as an immediate supervisor, but as a contact person who supports the new employee and answers his questions.
2. Provide a progressive training
A training schedule will have been outlined in advance, with the tutor’s cooperation, in order to identify all the responsibilities related to the position and ease the transmission of essential information to the new employee at the appropriate time. Task training is a set of activities targeting the on-the-job acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Given the learning context, it is usually better to provide training by following this progression:
During these three phases, the tutor’s actions and interactions with the new employee will go:
- from modeling → the tutor introduces the new hire to the job and necessary tools, gives a general overview of the tasks related to the position and explains how they fit into the coordination and sequence of operations. The tutor presents and demonstrates the process or activity to be carried out while the new employee takes notes and asks questions which will ensure that he understands what is expected of him;
- to monitoring → the tutor monitors the new employee's work and provides continuous feedback, i.e. observes and comments on the new employee’s performance in a real-time situation and ensures that he uses good work methods and practices;
- to scaffolding → the tutor provides support to the new employee, but at a distance. And finally;
- to withdrawal → gradual withdrawal of the tutor in order to lead the new employee to carry out the tasks independently.
The duration of the training will vary depending on the diversity and complexity of the tasks to be accomplished as well as the time needed for the new employee to reach his learning goals. This training allows for a personalized approach and simplifies the transfer of knowledge and skills.
Based on the employee’s skill level, the specific needs related to the position and the information to provide, it can be an advantage to opt for a different or multi-layered approach. The available trainings range from traditional classroom courses to online training courses. Nevertheless, in recent years, training has undergone a major transformation with the introduction of innovative methods such as e-learning, blended learning (a combination of on-line and traditional training), gamification (the use of games and augmented reality), and COOC (an acronym for Corporate Open Online Course, an online training course offered by a specialized company combining different approaches). These new opportunities offer a great deal of flexibility and deliver a captivating, interactive experience more suited to a continuously changing environment.
3. Conduct follow-up meetings
Whether with the tutor or the immediate supervisor, the follow-up meetings confirm the employee's level of satisfaction with his integration and to make the required adjustments if necessary. It may simply be a matter of answering the employee's questions that have not yet been addressed during the integration period, reassuring him about his learning process or providing additional support.
The immediate supervisor must also obtain feedback from the tutor on the new employee's professional integration. Knowing his strengths and areas to improve is essential to assess whether additional training is needed in the short term. This information, recorded in writing, will subsequently be used to document the formal review of the 3-month probation period where the new employee’s work and progress will be discussed.
The implementation of these best practices will greatly contribute to the success of the professional integration, thus promoting the professional and personal growth of the employee in his new work environment. In a market where the workforce is becoming increasingly scarce, to distinguish itself by the quality of its HR practices gives the organization a significant competitive advantage. This will allow the organization to rise as an employer of choice and thereby attract and retain employees.
Note: The masculine form is used throughout this article solely in order to simplify the text.