New hire orientation is the first step in your employee’s journey at your company. It gives them an overview of what it means to work there and how things will be done from that point on.
New employees usually have questions about everything from salary negotiations to office policies. With all these questions coming up, some companies choose mentoring as one way to help guide new hires through the process.
While mentoring can be beneficial for both parties involved, many organizations don’t use this valuable training tool properly or often enough. If you’re not using mentoring when hiring new staff, consider starting now by creating a formalized program for onboarding.
By following the steps below, you’ll create a strong foundation for future success while also making an impactful impression on your new team members.
Mentoring Is a Strong Training Tool
When was the last time you took a class where someone showed you around town? Or maybe you were assigned a personal tutor who helped explain difficult concepts?
You probably felt overwhelmed by the amount of information being thrown at you. This is similar to what happens when people join a new organization without any guidance. They get bombarded with so much information that they may give up before even trying.
A good example would be if someone shows up to college unprepared for classes because they spent too long browsing online lectures instead of studying. A well-prepared person knows exactly what needs to be studied and has already taken care of the basics.
This same analogy applies when helping new recruits navigate unfamiliar territory. Instead of showing them “where everything is,” mentors should provide them with the basic knowledge and skills needed for day-to-day tasks.
The best part is that mentors do most of the heavy lifting. When you pair experienced workers with recent graduates, you eliminate the need for constant follow-up required for training sessions.
Since mentors aren’t expected to know every answer, they free up other employees to answer additional questions. This also allows the new hire to engage with other people within the organization, which makes them more comfortable much quicker.
Because mentors are often experts in specific areas, other employees can easily share insights into other topics outside of their area of expertise.
Creating Mentorship Program for Onboarding
Once you’ve decided that mentoring is right for your company, the next step is figuring out how to implement it effectively. For starters, set clear expectations for each stage of the onboarding process.
Here are some tips for building an effective mentoring program based on real-life experiences and case studies:
- First, determine how long your mentoring relationship will last. While some companies offer short-term programs lasting only weeks or months, others go several months to a year deep.
- Next, decide whether you want to match new hires with existing employees or recruit external talent specifically for mentoring purposes.
- Finally, select which roles within the company qualify as potential mentees.
Ideally, everyone works somewhere where mentoring could come in handy. However, keep in mind that mentoring benefits extend beyond just career development—it provides support throughout the entire lifecycle of a worker’s employment.
Your current employees might benefit from mentoring as well. Studies show that those who receive peer mentoring report higher levels of job satisfaction and productivity than non-participants.
Now that we’ve established the guidelines, let’s look at some additional strategies.
Creating a Pre-Onboarding Phase
One of the biggest challenges facing employers today is retaining top talents. According to research conducted by Gallup, millennials plan to leave their jobs after a yearlong stint due to dissatisfaction rather than money concerns.
So why do certain industries continue to see high churn rates? One reason is that many companies spend little effort in preparing new hires for life inside the workforce. We recommend taking extra measures to prepare new hires for the rigors of working full-time sooner rather than later.
In general, pre-orientation occurs before regular training sessions. Some companies conduct them over video calls; however, face-to-face meetings are still preferred.
Regardless of delivery method, pre-orientation includes two main components: (1) providing context to newcomers by explaining the organizational structure, mission statement, values, and goals, etc., and (2) introducing them to key players who can serve as resources for ongoing assistance.
For instance, imagine a sales manager receives a call from her brand new intern asking about his first week. She’d likely respond with detailed instructions about setting up his workspace, submitting expense reports, networking with peers, handling client objections, and responding to voicemails.
But she wouldn’t take the opportunity to introduce him to anyone else at the firm. That approach doesn’t allow interns to connect with coworkers until the very end of their tenure at the company. To avoid this problem, try doing a series of informal introductions early on.
Successful Idea for Pre-Orientation
- Introduce new hires to their direct supervisor. Give them insight into the hierarchy and how decisions are made.
- Ask them to think back on past mistakes they encountered and what they learned from them.
- Show them examples of other employees’ emails and social media posts that highlight positive behaviors.
- Let them know what kind of behavior is considered professional, courteous, and unacceptable.
- Remind them of the importance of maintaining confidentiality and protecting proprietary data.
- Tell them that feedback given here isn’t meant to replace actual performance reviews but serves as a guideline to start getting accustomed to reporting to managers.
- Give them access to internal networks like Slack and Google Drive. Also, teach them how to use email etiquette and proper communication techniques such as succinct writing and avoiding passive voice.
- Let them meet their coworkers. Bring together representatives from different departments and functions to brief incoming hires about their roles. Assign new arrivals to teams whose leaders can personally walk them through the details of their responsibilities.
Meetings like these ensure that newbies integrate smoothly without having to rehash information they already know. And ultimately, this is what you’re looking for. If you can get employees prepared before they actually have to settle into their role while making them comfortable, they’re far more likely to perform their job more efficiently. Download your free eBook on “Developing Talent and Tapping Into Potential Through Corporate Mentoring.”