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Overview

Onboarding areas of focus

Once you’ve identified the ideal outcomes of onboarding are clear, it’s time to work on building out the most effective process. There’s so much to do and so much to learn, and it’s rarely clear what order anything should go in.

To simplify the complexity of onboarding, we recommend focusing on these three key areas:

1. Learn the business

It’s tempting to have your new hire dive right into the job. The role has likely been vacant for some time, the work is piling up, and you want to start seeing some return on your investment, right? But the truth is that you will see much more long-term productivity and retention if you take the time upfront to teach your hire the broader context of the business:

Who are the customers?

What do they care about?

What are the top priorities?

What are the explicit and implicit norms and values?

Understanding the broader mission and vision of the organization will also provide an essential framework for how the work should get done (we talked about this earlier in our values guide).

2. Learn the people

Most companies assume that people will figure out how to form their own workplace relationships, but this process is so essential for performance and engagement that you do not want to leave it to chance—especially if your team is distributed or remote.

Spell out who new hires should meet, how, and why, and keep reinforcing the message that success at your company is a team mission.



3. Learn the role

With the strong foundation of the business and the people in place, you can now begin to focus on the core tasks and responsibilities of your new hire.

Clarify how success is defined, the resources they have to achieve their goals, and the expected norms, tools, and rituals of the team and company.

Avoid making the classic mistake of teaching only via “ride alongs” with one member of the team.

Provide a variety of learning pathways, including shadowing, reading instructions, watching videos, doing mocks/practice rounds, self-assessing progress, and interviewing co-workers.