For new employees, the first 90 days are critical.
Hiring the most talented candidates is only the first step toward being successful in the construction industry. Top construction firms also have extremely potent onboarding strategies.
Many companies fail to recognize the importance of the first 90 days for new employees. To set them up for success, it’s critical to not only train them but also help them learn the values of your company, understand your expectations for them and build rapport with the team.
Here are 10 strategies that can improve your onboarding process.
- Roll out the welcome wagon. Make official introductions between new hires and current staff. Brainstorm the best and fastest ways of having them feel part of the team/culture. A meet and greet will allow everyone to introduce themselves and get chemistry going. These bonds are what helps build camaraderie over time.
- Outline the essentials. Although they probably already possess many of the skills needed for the job, new hires don’t know the firm’s standard operating procedures or your management style. Have systems in place to ensure they know how to do the basics around the office. Imagine being in their situation and give them the information and tools they need to hit the ground running.
- Provide training. Expose them to all of the training they need to succeed in the role, including software training and business development training.
- Tell them who’s who. Give them copies of team bios and company organizational charts so they know who to contact when questions arise. This will give them the confidence to connect with the right person in the right situation without always having to ask their manager.
- Establish goals. Provide them the company’s goals so they have an investment in the outcomes. Get to know the new hire’s own career goals; also discuss the customer’s goals. Where do they all intersect? That’s the sweet spot for establishing priorities that are mutually beneficial. Make sure to give them what they need to accomplish those goals. This way you are setting them up for growth and success in a measurable way.
- Plan out their first 13 weeks. Work backwards from what you want the employee to have accomplished by day 90 (brainstorm this with a team that includes someone from HR, someone from leadership, a tenured employee and an employee with less than a year with the company), then fill in the blanks on the best way to get them there. Keep these short-term goals realistic; you don’t want to end up with your new employee being extremely overwhelmed. Done right, they should feel better every day that they made the right choice by joining the company.
- Be aware of bottlenecks. Issues might arise that impede new employees from successfully acclimating to the firm’s mode of operations. It’s important to determine where these bottlenecks are and find solutions as soon as possible. The key is to always be upgrading and improving your onboarding process so the next round of new hires doesn’t experience the same issues as the last.
- Pair them with a mentor. New hires will quickly learn all of the ins and outs of the company with the help of a mentor. Mentors also provide a high level of support. New hires are more positive about their job and work harder when there’s increased support and direction. Providing them with a mentor will help them acclimate to the team and the firm more quickly. Plus, some employees thrive on being able to teach and mentor new employees.
- If possible, assign them to smaller roles on significant projects. By initially assigning them to an assistant role on a major project, they will learn very quickly. This way they can be a part something big while learning the firm’s processes.
- Keep morale high! You want them to stay enthusiastic and engaged. Tune in to their progress and do what it takes to motivate and inspire them. Each person is different in what motivates them; over time you’ll know what it takes and be able to provide that.
Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan for bringing on new team members, establishing a standard process will alleviate much of the stress involved. An effective onboarding process is an excellent way to improve employee retention and maintain a cohesive team. If you have a process in place that you’re continually improving upon, you’re heading in the right direction.
Brian Binke is the founder and CEO of The Birmingham Group, a globally recognized Executive Search and Consulting firm specializing in the Construction arena. You can reach Brian directly at [email protected].