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Posted: December 17, 2012

A six-minute fix for your onboarding process

This can make all the difference

Merit Gest

At the end of the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy learned that she had the power to return home all along.  All she had to do was click her heels three times and say, “There’s no place like home” and just like that she was back on the farm in Kansas.

If only it were that easy to improve your company’s onboarding strategy.

Well, my little CEO . . . get clicking!  It can be easy.

At the end of a three-hour workshop I led recently for a group of CEOs on the topic of improving onboarding processes, I asked each participant to share the one big “Aha!” of the day. When more than a few of them mentioned that their big epiphany of the entire session was to ask their current employees the four specific questions I shared, I had my own epiphany.

What seems obvious, sometimes isn’t.

In preparing the content for the workshop, I was advised not to share the magical four questions because they seemed too basic.  However, when a CEO asked, “How do I know what’s broken with my current onboarding program?” I decided the questions may be basic, but basic is sometimes exactly what the doctor orderd.  

I told the group that one way you can begin to discover what’s broken is by asking four simple questions of current employees.  It turned out that getting back to basics was exactly what was most valuable, even to seasoned CEOs.

To improve your current onboarding process in less than six minutes, ask all of your current employees the following four questions:

  1. What information do you wish you learned you when you started?
  2. What was hard to figure out?
  3. If you could redesign the “new employee orientation manual,” what information would you include?
  4. How long did it take before you felt like you really hit your stride?

Every time a new hire begins their employment, ask them the same four questions at regular intervals during their onboarding.  Your onboarding process is a living thing, constantly changing and improving based on the feedback and ideas from the most recent participants.

If you are checking in with new hires on a regular basis, you will be amazed at how little time it takes to make big improvements to your system.  You will make it look effortless, kind of like clicking your heels to return from Oz.

Merit Gest is President & Founder of Merit-Based Development, a Denver based firm specializing in on-boarding top sales talent.  She is one of a small handful of specialists in the world certified and trained in Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Transformation Tools, giving her a unique perspective for hiring, on-boarding and retaining top sales talent.  Reach Merit at 720-980-1286 or Merit@MeritGest.com
 

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