It can take as long as eight months for an employee to reach full productivity levels at a new company. And that’s way too long when you consider how essential new hires can be to achieving the goals that the company sets out.
But finding the right approach for getting new employees settled in isn’t always simple. You need someone who can organize the process from within the company and make timely adjustments to ensure each person gets up and running as smoothly and quickly as possible.
And that’s where having the right onboarding manager can be so beneficial.
By having an onboarding expert structure the process for you, you can rest assured that your employees will be happy and productive from day one.
But what is an onboarding manager, anyway? And what should you look for in a good candidate?
Let’s explore these questions below.
What Does an Onboarding Manager Do?
An onboarding manager is responsible for creating policies and processes for training and onboarding new hires. They are tasked with developing a structured plan that will shorten the time it takes for a new employee to get settled, minimizing friction and ensuring that each person starts off on the right foot within the company.
Onboarding managers must have in-depth knowledge about the typical struggles that new employees are likely to face. They must also understand how your company’s unique situation, industry, culture, and countless other factors can influence the onboarding process, making the necessary adjustments to compensate where necessary.
They must also be excellent communicators, connecting with people who are entering an unfamiliar workplace and simplifying the experience to make them as comfortable and possible.
Finally, an onboarding manager is responsible for solving any issues that might arise during the onboarding process, providing resources, insights, scheduling solutions, and anything else that might be necessary to get each new employee up to speed.
From the moment a new employee signs their offer letter, all the way through orientation, first assignments, and the ongoing support throughout the first months, everything will fall under the responsibilities of the onboarding manager.
Why Should You Hire an Onboarding Manager?
Before you start the process of looking for the right onboarding manager, it’s a good idea to ask if your company needs one in the first place. But if you’re bringing in new employees, having an onboarding manager is almost always going to be a beneficial decision to make.
Just as recruitment process outsourcing can help you attract better talent, an onboarding manager can ensure that they are actually happy to join your company and fit in from day one.
Whether you decide to give the responsibilities to someone from HR or hire a specialist from the outside, having an onboarding manager simply makes sense if you don’t want your onboarding process to be unproductive and difficult.
Here are just a few reasons why having an onboarding manager makes sense:
- Connect with employees. First impressions matter. And a good onboarding manager can ensure that from the moment new hires start working, they will be met with an efficient, friendly, and inclusive process that will make them feel comfortable and happy about the decision to join your company.
- Retain top talent. And because your employees will get started on the right foot, they will be much more likely to stick around for longer. An onboarding manager will minimize friction, help solve problems and create an environment where new hires can start excelling in their roles from day one. And that’s an appealing proposition to any employee who wants to progress in their career.
- Increase growth. If your employees are more productive, they produce better results. And that means bigger growth potential for your company. An onboarding manager will reduce the time it takes for an employee to get settled, meaning that you can consistently get higher output from new hires, which results in better growth opportunities.
- Build a strong employer brand. As your onboarding manager refines the onboarding process, your company will gain a reputation as an excellent employer that takes care of its employees. And that’s an appealing proposition for the top talent in your industry, who are always looking for growth opportunities in a company that knows how to help people excel in their positions.
What to Look for in a Hiring Manager?
Now that we’ve established some of the main benefits of hiring an onboarding manager, it’s time to look at how to find the right fit. After all, you’ll only benefit from someone taking care of new hires if they’re actually the right person for the job.
Below, you’ll find six of the most crucial qualities for an onboarding manager, as well as reasons why they can make such a big difference.
Ability to Innovate
Innovation is the driving force behind the growth of any company. And while that’s true for almost any aspect of running a business, employee onboarding is one area where it can have a substantial long-term impact on the productivity and happiness of your employees.
Because of that, you need to find an onboarding manager who is willing and capable of seeking out ways to improve current processes. They must have a strategy for tracking onboarding results, collecting feedback, and understanding how to break down that information into actionable steps to optimize the onboarding process.
Since innovation takes knowledge, the onboarding manager you select should have extensive experience in onboarding, even if they didn’t have this type of specific role before. At the very least, they should have a reliable process for talking with new and old employees and identifying how the onboarding in your company falls short.
The onboarding manager usually sets the tone during the initial interactions between the company and a new employee. Therefore, the onboarding manager must be open-minded about the types of thought processes, attitudes, and habits that a new employee might have, embracing them throughout the process and ensuring that the transition into a new work environment is smooth and pleasant.
At the same time, open-mindedness will play a vital role in whether the onboarding manager is willing to embrace new developments in the industry. They must have a positive attitude towards recent trends, experimental onboarding approaches, and be quick to test out different ideas before either embracing them or ruling them out.
If there’s one thing that new employees hope for as they anticipate their first day, it’s that they will be welcomed in the new office. Going in for the first time and meeting colleagues and superiors can be scary, and the wrong type of atmosphere can create more tension and stress that can be harder to alleviate later on.
Therefore, a good hiring manager should have a cheerful personality and the ability to disarm people with their enthusiasm.
In the end, being happy in a new workplace comes down in big part to whether a person feels accepted. And only by being positive can the hiring manager nurture a good initial impression that the new hire can then build upon as they get settled into their new role.
Solid Planning Skills
Onboarding new employees is a complicated process that takes months. Therefore, an onboarding manager must have good planning skills to be able to map out the entire process and create a consistent onboarding experience across the entire company.
At the same time, they must be meticulous in how they approach work, carefully going through each step of the onboarding process and making sure that all the paperwork is signed on time and that all the resources the employee might need are ready once they get to the office on their first day.
They should also keep all the people involved in the planning process in the loop, informing them of when they’ll need to be present, what they’ll need to go through, empowering them to further enhance the onboarding experience.
For instance, during customer support agent onboarding, the onboarding manager will need to go through multiple steps such as setting clear expectations, instilling company values, and even conducting training sessions. And this process needs to be planned efficiently if it’s going to be successful.
Orientation and onboarding can be hectic enough on their own, so the onboarding manager should have a method for taking control of all the aspects that can be planned ahead of time.
In-Depth Industry & Company Knowledge
Employee onboarding best practices are continually evolving. And for someone without direct experience in the process, keeping track of new developments and understanding how onboarding looks in 2021 and beyond can be challenging.
Therefore, as mentioned before, an ideal onboarding manager should be very familiar with how onboarding works in your industry, keeping track of how forward-thinking companies are innovating the process and what tools, technology, or methods could be applied to make it better.
At the same time, they should be familiar with your company and understand the unique work environment. That’s the only way to develop an onboarding process that won’t disrupt day-to-day activities while still providing an immersive and enlightening experience to new hires.
Willingness to Cooperate
Finally, an onboarding manager needs to understand that they can’t take care of everything on their own. So even though they will surely be a central part of the onboarding process, the end goal is to get the employee acquainted and familiar with the people they’ll be working with daily.
The only way to achieve that is through cooperation and a willingness to adapt to the needs of others. Whether it’s working around other people’s schedules, finding ways to include people without disrupting their work, or developing onboarding processes that help everyone go through the process faster, a good onboarding manager will understand how to work with multiple people to create the best results in any situation.
At the same time, an onboarding manager should be open to feedback and even criticism. In fact, they should actively seek out opinions about how the process could be improved, continually tweaking with their approach so that it’s aligned with the company’s goals, employee preferences, and new hire requests.
The right onboarding manager can completely change how your company treats new hires. And that, in turn, can provide a massive boost to productivity, employee satisfaction, and your bottom line.
If you find an onboarding manager who’s innovative, open-minded, and has a reliable process for mapping out the onboarding steps, you will be well on your way to ensuring that each new employee feels welcome and can be productive from day one.