Onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee into the team and providing them with the information, tools, and training they need to be successful in the new role. Most companies have an established process for employee onboarding. This article covers the most important steps.
Create an onboarding plan
Document what the employee will do over three time periods: the first week, the first month, and the first quarter. Often, the new employee will shadow the manager and team members to observe how key aspects of the job are done. The new employee can take on smaller tasks at first and build up to more complicated assignments and autonomy during the first 90 days. Consider these areas in the onboarding plan:
- Completing the new employee orientation.
- Reviewing company-level material such as the employee handbook.
- Accessing key company IT systems and tools.
- Touring the building and location.
- Sending a hiring announcement to the organization.
- Understanding the team, business unit, and company organization.
- Meeting key stakeholders, including the immediate team, the product team, the management team, and other key stakeholders, including Sales, Marketing, Legal, Finance, and Operations. This should be done within the first 90 days.
- Attending key meetings, including team meetings, divisional or business unit team meetings, and project team meetings.
- Training on the product line and individual products, including technical training and training on the product strategy, the market, and the competitive landscape.
- Training on the new product process.
- Other specific goals for the first 90 days.
Assign an onboarding partner
An onboarding partner is someone other than the hiring manager who assists the new employee with onboarding. The onboarding partner should be a seasoned employee who can help the new employee in an informal, friendly way with day-to-day items that occur, such as where to get lunch or where to find office supplies.
Prepare for the new employee’s first day
Contact the employee before their start date to welcome them and discuss logistics, including orientation and where and when to meet on their first day. Ensure the employee’s workspace is set up and ready and that all equipment (computer, phone, etc.) and accounts (email, etc.) are prepared.
Begin the onboarding
Meet the new employee and review the onboarding plan. Discuss and plan how often you will meet during the first month, first 90 days, and after that. Discuss your management and working style with the employee, including communication preferences. Plan an event to socialize the new employee with the team. Have the employee work through the onboarding plan and review the plan frequently together to discuss what has been completed, where there are obstacles the manager can help with and any additions or modifications required to the plan.
Read more about onboarding product managers and other key product management topics in my book, Mastering Product Management: A Step-By-Step Guide, available in paperback and eBook.