(This post was first published here on December 19, 2016.)

Part of building great teams is getting the right people on the bus. And getting the right people on the bus means having a great onboarding process. This is indispensable to helping them get started on the right foot.

Onboarding looks a little different with each hire and in various organizations. However, the common denominator is this: You can bring in the best person and then cause a high performer to stumble out of the gate without a good onboarding system.

Many of you are leaders in growing companies. Some of you may have great onboarding systems in place already. Because of that, I know I am risking some of this being review. However, since we are also a learning community, please feel free to post after reading this blog with things you have found valuable in your system of helping a new person start well.

1. Have your basics in order. An up-to-date job description, descriptions of benefits, and a handbook of policies and procedures of the organization should be givens. AND be ready to elaborate and explain these things. No matter how clear you think your documents are, there will be areas needing elaboration and clarification.

2. Explain how you plan to develop them. Explanations of how you will meet one-0n-one, how often, how long, and the structure of the meetings; and how you will help your new hire achieve and be accountable to quarterly, biannual, and annual goals are all important.

3. Review and reinforce Purpose, Vision, and Values. Make sure that your onboarding process includes generous time to talk about why your organization exists, where you are going, and the things that are most important to the organization. Be sure to include a good history lesson of the journey of the organization from its beginning to now.

4. Make necessary introductions. This should include team members, in many cases customers, and key relationships within the company. If the new hire needs further introductions with your human resources people, be sure that you include this too.

5. Preparing work space. It is amazing how many times work space, phones, business cards, and so on are not ready when a new person starts. While some of this may be unavoidable, putting forethought into this helps a new person start well.

6. Overview of the budgeting process.  Explain your fiscal year. Review the overall budget, giving special attention to the items in their department. Describe the dynamics and expectations that they will face with accounting, payroll, and the budget process for each year.

7. Leverage the newness of this person. Finally, you have unique opportunity for high-quality feedback on your onboarding process with each new hire. Leverage each person’s experience by asking them to evaluate and give feedback about what was helpful and what would have been more helpful in their first season with your organization. They will see things and hear things that others miss or take for granted simply because they are used to it.

The onboarding process with each organization will look different. The process will be different with an internal hire versus and external hire. It will be different with an executive team hire versus someone starting at the bottom of the hierarchy. Because building great teams is vitally important to being a leader worth following, the forethought you put in to this will yield big dividends. It also may be reproducible to others in the organization. And it will give you a framework that can be repeated with future hires.

What additional thoughts would you add to making the onboarding process great? 

Keep building great teams!

Image by MarioMancuso. Used under CC BY 2.o license.