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What Is Manager Onboarding?
Manager onboarding is the process of integrating a newly promoted or hired leader into the organization.
Why Is Manager Onboarding Important?
The first few weeks of a managerial position sets a new employee up for success or failure. Good onboarding benefits both employees and the organization.
- Job performance. A well-developed manager onboarding allows the new leader to learn their new position and begin contributing quickly.
- Lower turnover. Effective manager onboarding equips the leader to listen to and support their team. When employees feel listened to and supported in their roles and futures, they are more likely to stay with the organization.
- Trust. The first conversations a new leader has with their team, manager, colleagues, and even human resources are opportunities to set up positive healthy relationships, allowing trust and confidence to build.
- Recruiting benefit. The success of every employee depends on the relationship with their manager. An effective onboarding gives this new leader the support needed to coach and develop their team. Happy teams are more likely to recommend your organization as a great place to work.
What Should Be Included in Manager Onboarding
Onboarding a manager can be a daunting task to prepare for. This section discusses what you can include to further enhance manager onboarding. (The items below are in addition to any technical training included in the onboarding and in addition to elements common to all onboarding. Also see these articles on onboarding gifts and checklists.)
Leadership Style Assessment
New leaders may have never had direct reports or learned about leadership styles before. Have them take an assessment to help them identify their leadership style. It is important to explain that they may need to change their leadership style in order to adapt to their individual team members. For example, one person may need a charismatic leader who gives external rewards to bring out their competitive side. Meanwhile, another person needs a leader who creates a positive stable environment. Click here for an example of an assessment.
An Onboarding Buddy
This buddy should be someone in a similar position who is knowledgeable in different leadership styles, emotional intelligence, company culture, and vision. The buddy will be a critical resource for the new leader to answer questions. It may be useful to train the buddy before the new leader’s first day.
Human Resources Connection
As the HR representative, keep communication especially open before and during the leader’s first 90 days. Keeping them informed of what to expect during the onboarding process will help alleviate stress.
Schedule dedicated time to meet with the new leader. This is the chance for HR to share the vision and expectations all leaders meet when working at the organization. Have a conversation with senior leaders to understand their vision and expectations of this new hire so that you can. reinforce or add clarification to senior leadership’s view.
Set up small milestones each week. These can include (but are not limited to) shadowing other departments, strategy meetings, or personal development discussions. Each item should help integrate this leader into the organization and build confidence in their role.
Integrate Feedback Channels
Throughout the onboarding process, the new leader should have channels or opportunities for feedback in order to rate the experience, ask questions, or express concerns. The new leader will be drinking from a fire hose. Give them plenty of opportunities to give you feedback on their experience. This will allow you to quickly resolve any issues or answer questions, as well as help you improve your next onboarding.
Best Practices for Effective Manager Onboarding
Manager onboarding impacts the manager, their direct reports, and their colleagues. This section will discuss best practices to further elevate manager onboarding and ensure this new leader is set up for success.
Start Before Day One
Great onboarding begins before they begin their position. If there is any paperwork or other formalities to complete, send those ahead of time. Also, send a schedule of what the leader can expect during their first few weeks.
Involve Senior Leadership
Every new leader should meet with senior leadership during their onboarding process. Senior leaders may discuss the company’s vision of leadership, give a tour of the building, take them to lunch, or provide training on a topic.
Creating consistency here ensures every leader understands the company’s approach to leadership.
Mission or Objective
Each training or experience should have a clearly defined outcome. As the new leader completes each day, review with them how it all ties into the vision of the company and their success in the position.
Starting a position as a manager is going to keep this new leader busy with their own duties. As you plan onboarding, include opportunities to connect with their team and colleagues outside the context of their jobs. Whether it is a team lunch, attending a networking event, hiking, or TopGolf, encourage the new leader to build a network within the company they will utilize throughout their time with you.
Initial Meeting with Manager
Dedicate time during the new leader’s first week to meet with their new manager. The manager should describe their own management style and ask the new leader how they prefer to be managed. Their manager should be fully prepared to model adapting their management style to the needs of the new leader. Ultimately, the success of the new hire is determined to a large extent by the relationship between the new leader and their manager.
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Ryan is an HR Director with four years of experience and three masters degrees. One accomplishment he is proud of is the design and launch of a learning and development program for 800+ employees.
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