5 Onboarding Questions

Here are the five questions every employee needs to have answered if they are to have an exceptional onboarding experience:

  1. “What do we believe in around here?”
    Naturally, there’s a lot of “nuts and bolts” material that must be communicated during an orientation. But all those little details are expressions of your organizational culture. How you explain your benefits, time off, and other policies — and what those policies actually are — tells new employees more about what you truly believe than a PowerPoint slide displaying your core values. Employers should consider how their culture is experienced in every aspect of onboarding.
  2. “What are my strengths?”
    To be set up for success, employees need to know what they do best — and what they don’t do best. Managers and teammates need to know where a new employee can really shine, too. Employers should invest in strengths-based learning and development as part of the onboarding program. A genuine investment in new employees sends the message: We care about you. We want to know you personally. We want to see you succeed here in the long term.
  3. “What is my role?”
    As many managers and employees experience, there can be a large difference between the external job posting, the internal job description and the work that actually needs to get done. As a result of this disconnect, only about 50% of employees strongly indicate they know what is expected of them at work. But it’s nearly impossible to be successful at something with unclear expectations. Setting realistic job expectations during the hiring process is important, but managers play the most important role in setting expectations for new employees.
  4. “Who are my partners?”
    Socialization is an important part of being human — a need that doesn’t change when people join a new organization. New employees may feel warmly welcomed in the first week, only to feel isolated and lost three months in. Getting work done depends on collaboration within and across departments. Each person’s influence on the overall organization depends on the quality of their partnerships. Managers are critical conduits to relationship-building opportunities early on. They can proactively expand a new employee’s social network through the first year or two of employment by making introductions and through advocacy.
  5. “What does my future here look like?”
    All people have an innate need to learn and grow — to see their future opportunities. This is particularly true for new employees who don’t just see your organization as a paycheck — they see an opportunity for a better future. Onboarding is not too soon for managers to have conversations with employees about their hopes and dreams. Even if promotions aren’t on the horizon just yet, organizations can align learning and development with onboarding so that when the honeymoon ends, there are plenty of ways to continue to develop professionally.
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