Wednesday, Sep 11 2013

IT Onboarding Strategies

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Not to be confused with the less in-depth process of employee orientation, onboarding is a comprehensive program designed to acclimate new hires into the performance and social aspects of their position. A successful onboarding program is meant to teach the newcomer the skills, mindset, information, and conduct needed to thrive in your environment. There are several important components that make onboarding an effective talent management tool.

Set Clear Expectations & Goals
Because employee onboarding is more involved than a one-time orientation, each department's program can – and should – be different from another's. For the IT manager, the plan begins with a clear but thorough layout of the employee's responsibilities, performance targets, and purpose within the department and the company as a whole. The new talent should be made aware of your structure, from people to technology, as it is relevant to them, as well as how they tie into current and future projects and objectives. Everyone should remember that flexibility is key, and that some aspects will be dynamic as priorities change.

Assign a Mentor
As you familiarize new employees with the hierarchy and roles of your department, pair them with a more experienced IT professional who can help the new employee navigate everything from unforeseen issues to best practices. The ideal advisor is someone who enjoys personal interaction, understands boundaries, takes pleasure in their job, and has perhaps asked for more responsibility or expressed interest in management. If you're already grooming someone for career advancement, this could be a great way to help your mentor-to-be stretch his or her wings.

Develop Career Expectations & Share Skills Needed to Succeed
As part of your onboarding strategy, schedule review times for you and the new hire to sit down and chat. Casual "how's it going?" questions when you pass them in the hall don't count, as they may be either unprepared or too intimidated to answer honestly. Consider spending a few minutes with them after a day or two, a couple of weeks, at 30 days, and so on – whatever works best for your priorities. Do you have an open door policy? Make sure they know how you work so they can feel comfortable meeting with you outside a time in your original plan.

One of the goals of these meetings is to gauge how your new IT professional is fitting into their role and to make adjustments as necessary. This fine-tuning of the job description can be anything from their daily duties to helping them define their career opportunities. While you've already assigned them a mentor, you still have a responsibility to help them develop the skills they need to succeed with you.

Stay in Constant Communication
Though hovering and micro-managing is never recommended, maintain a strong line of communication with your new hire. Occasional efforts to check in on specific projects, ask for feedback, or bring something interesting to their attention are great ways to let them know you value them. Everyone's communication style is different – some enjoy frequent face-to-face interaction, some would rather talk briefly on the phone, and others favor emails. Your new IT person should know what you expect, and you should discover what they prefer.

Onboarding new IT professionals is a process meant to build trust, establish communication, and set clear goals. Not an endeavor to be taken lightly, a good onboarding program will enable you and your new hire to work more effectively as you pinpoint one another's expectations. If you are looking for IT recruiters in California, contact The Armada Group today.