Directory Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D might just have cracked the code to the most effective recruitment and onboarding strategies. From managing contrasting and difficult personalities such as the flamboyant Tony Stark and Thor (who’s literally a god), to ensuring that a new hire who might be facing difficulties adjusting to their new surroundings is taken care of and eased into the team (Black Widow winning a cautious Bruce Banner’s trust and eventually getting him onboard), Avengers is an example of how carefully thought out hiring processes can maximise team output.
A lengthy induction process ultimately culminates in Infinity War, when Stark grants Peter Parker’s Spiderman with an official welcome into the group of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Mimicking the moment in which somebody is knighted, Stark tells Peter, “Alright kid, you’re an Avenger now.” However, things don’t always go to plan. Inspite of a lot of effort on the team’s part, Quicksilver met a rather quick and untimely end in Age of Ultron.
All this is just an encapsulation of some very common knowledge; finding the right people is only half the battle. If you don’t onboard them properly, your great new employees simply won’t stay.
It’s important to view onboarding as a continuation of the recruitment process. A strategic and consistent onboarding process can provide your organisation with higher rates of employee engagement, performance, and retention. And it applies to all sorts of organisations, irrespective of whether you’re working to save the world from an ancient race of interplanetary aliens or are in the business of manufacturing household appliances.
What exactly should you keep in mind while designing your onboarding policies in order to make it more effective? While it should come as no surprise that an effective onboarding process will include tactical items, such as the completion of new hire paperwork and the provisioning of employee tools, it must also pay attention to cultural activities that can make a new employee feel welcome and ease their transition into their new team. Below are a few guiding principles:
Onboarding Starts Before Hiring
Though this may seem counterintuitive, successful onboarding starts well before a candidate is actually hired. Remembering that onboarding is the process of integrating a new hire into your company culture, it is easy to see that exposure to your company culture begins in the recruitment process. Employees are being onboarded from the minute they visit the career page of your company website or talk to a recruiter/hiring manager and start understanding how candidates are dealt with, what value the company places on their time, how quick they are to respond and so on.
Optimization of Orientation
The orientation process is an important next step. Planning ahead for an employee’s first day indicates a sincere interest in his or her successful transition. Some organisations handle much of the orientation process even before the first day of employment. This can be done by utilising an online platform (something like Qandle, maybe?!) whereby a new hire can access all required orientation material and fill out all necessary documentation from the comfort of their home, eliminating the dreaded paperwork stack usually handled on the first day.
Training of new employees should commence immediately and should be an ongoing structured process. It initially involves clarifying and confirming what the new hire already knows about the company. Once that is done, training should cover things such as organisational programs that lead to career path advancement, company best practices, instruction on how to best use technology and equipment provided, practice-based learning, and goal-setting sessions to help a new hire focus on making the most of the opportunities provided by your organisation.
Emphasis on Company Culture
A key part of talent management in the onboarding process is matching a new hire with the appropriate mentor within your organisation. Peter Parker may not have reached the same heights as he did so early in his superhero career if it had not been for the mentorship provided by Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Granted, getting access to bleeding edge tech courtesy of Stark Industries didn’t hurt either but the mentorship was more impactful!
Coaching should also include regular check-ins during the first few months of employment, as some issues a new hire may face don’t manifest themselves on day one. This nurturing environment takes some of the stress of transition out of the equation and ultimately leads to better employee outcomes.
Onboarding is an opportunity for employees to feel comfortable in their new role, understand how this role impacts the business while learning what type of behaviour is expected from them. It’s effective and efficient implementation can go a long way in ensuring maximum possible productivity and employee loyalty. After all, it probably won’t be an exaggeration to credit Thanos’ defeat to Nick Fury’s hiring practices!