How to Effectively - and Quickly - Bring New Team Members Up to Speed

woman-tablet.jpgRemember the movie “Top Gun”? The two main characters, Maverick and Goose, are talking on the tarmac.

Maverick says, “I feel the need…”

Goose replies, “…the need for speed!”

That’s what it can feel like with new team members. You want them to get up to speed, fast. That way, they’ll be on their way and ready to – if not fly – at least contribute to projects immediately.

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Employee Onboarding

The question is how to do that, and it’s not a new one. Employers and human resources have been asking it longer than “Top Gun” has been around. They know if they can improve employee onboarding, they’ll be able to improve everything that follows—collaboration, employee engagement, project completion rates and more.

But traditional employee onboarding isn’t effective anymore, if it ever was. Handbooks the size of bricks overwhelm employees and typically become paperweights and doorstops. Sitting in a room and filling out insurance forms may be a necessary evil, but the process and general onboarding experience surely can be improved.

It needs to be. The people filling out these forms and staggering under the weight of the handbook aren’t robots. They’re human beings who will be working on projects that affect the bottom line and onboarding the next group of new hires.

Social Intranet

The key to improving employee onboarding and getting new hires up to speed isn’t found with more paperwork. The wheel does need to be reinvented, in this case – it can be with technology, specifically a social intranet.

A social intranet is a way to get employees involved in the company from the get-go. It meets their expectations of the modern workplace, meaning they’ll be more engaged, happier and more productive. It turns out that meeting employees’ needs is the best way to increase workplace satisfaction and productivity. Who would have thunk it?

Corporate Culture

Corporate culture traditionally is a top-down affair. The C-Suite shares the mission and values and sets expectations. But over time, the mission and values can get hazy. Everybody’s familiar with them, but nobody really knows them. If asked what the company stands for, many employees would struggle or come up with an answer that doesn’t accurately reflect the brand.

Kitty-Mirror.jpg A social intranet can keep the corporate culture at the forefront of people’s minds by using a social network experience or gamification, awarding badges to people who show qualities in keeping with the company’s vision. It keeps people in tune and on target, and more importantly, it makes culture fun. New hires aren’t intimidated by “corporate culture” when it’s a game and integrated into workflows and processes. Besides, corporate culture isn’t something plastered on the wall or website, it’s lived out in the day-to-day.

Internal Processes

Internal processes can be hard to pin down, which is why it’s important to document and share them. A social intranet acts as a central hub where employees can find the processes needed for specific projects.

Without one, processes are scattered in emails and Google docs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Google docs, but they aren’t always accessible to everyone who needs them.

New hires are cases in point. They might not have email set up yet, which means they’re pretty much stuck twiddling their thumbs. Sure, you can send the document to their personal email address, but that’s not the most secure or efficient method and files are bound to get lost or misplaced.

Office-Space-stare.gifA better way is to use a social intranet. Even if new hires don’t have a company email yet, they can still access the tool, learn about processes and workflows and start contributing to projects immediately.

Team Camaraderie

Camaraderie develops as people spend time together, but as flexible working hours and telecommute options become commonplace, employees aren’t together as often anymore. Even if they are gathered in the same place, camaraderie doesn’t naturally result. It takes purposeful execution.

This is where a social intranet can be super helpful. Establish a framework for how it should be used. Take, for example, wikis and blogs – some companies use wikis to share quarterly and annual reports while others use them to create sticky posts for managers.

No matter which option you choose, set guidelines at the outset. If you want new team members to use wikis or blogs to introduce themselves, set that as a task for them to accomplish during their first week at the company. Then, make sure people interact with the post and introduce themselves, too.

Onboarding Made Easy with a Social Intranet

The business world moves quickly. That means you have to be fast, too, without frightening new employees. A deluge of information on the first day doesn’t do new team members any good. They’ll just stand there and wonder what in the world they got themselves into.

A social intranet is a great way to let you move quickly without adding to new hires’ stress levels. The tool enables employees to access the information they need, when they need it. For new hires, that includes learning about corporate culture and internal processes and meeting teammates. After all, Maverick and Goose didn’t go it alone. They were a team united in the need for speed. And your team can be, too, with a social intranet.

Want to improve the employee onboarding experience at your company? Get started with our white paper “Onboarding Made Easy” today!

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