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Onboarding: It’s not just for traditional ‘new’ employees

April 18, 2017
Borderless Leadership

When employees transfer to new positions in your company, they need on-boarding much like new hires.

Whether accepting a promotion or moving laterally, employees who change jobs need to understand their new responsibilities, meet their new coworkers, and learn to work with a new boss. Without proper onboarding, the employee’s next transfer may be to a new employer.

Job responsibilities
A current employee should already be familiar with company policies, but starting a new job still involves learning new skills, so the employee likely needs a mentor to provide training and answer questions. In addition to job-related tasks, the new department may have different procedures for internal processes such as requesting vacation.

While a transferred employee may have much to learn in the new job, the fact that he or she is already familiar with the company may help the employee adapt to the new role more quickly. The employee should not need to attend new-hire orientation, for example, and may be ready to take on new obligations at a faster pace. Assigning meaningful work soon after the start date may, therefore, be more important for transfers than for new hires.

On the other hand, the transferred employee may require a more gradual transition of responsibilities if he or she still needs to perform some duties of the previous job, such as finishing a major project or training a replacement.

Meeting coworkers
The transferred employee should feel welcomed by his or her new coworkers, and will need opportunities to get to know them. As part of the onboarding process, consider scheduling one-on-one meetings so the person can learn about team member roles and responsibilities.

Even with meet-and-greet sessions, building new working relationships takes time. For example, coworkers might invite the new person for lunch, but should not be surprised if he or she prefers to have lunch with friends from the previous job. Part of the transition process might involve gradually losing touch with former coworkers, but as long as necessary work gets accomplished, how employees spend personal time should not be a concern.

The new boss
Some traditional new-hire onboarding steps, such as teaching the company’s values, may still be relevant even if the transferee has been with your company for years. For example, a new manager might place more or less emphasis on particular issues such as flexible working hours, especially if the employee’s access to the benefit has changed.

The hiring manager should have learned about the transferee’s job skills during the interview process, but some things may have remained confidential. For example, the employee might need accommodation for religious practices, might have been approved for intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or might be a new mother who requires a lactation accommodation. The onboarding schedule would need to account for these special needs.

Starting a new job should be exciting for the employee. Capitalizing on that enthusiasm and making sure the on-boarding process is thorough can help establish a higher level of employee engagement right from the start.

By Ed Zalewski

Source: South Florida Business Journal

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