Onboarding begins when your new hire walks in the door for day one of employment at your business.
For context, preboarding is the period that begins once an offer is extended, accepted, and runs from that point until the new employee joins.
In September of 2021, we asked experts across the globe to weigh in with their tips.
While we shared them throughout the month, this article captures all their tips; enjoy.
Amanda Maddox, Growth Development and Programs Manager, shared the following advice:
“Connect new hires as opposed to focusing exclusively on training, certifications, and connecting with leaders/SMEs. Some of the best conversations (and new-to-organization ideas) come from learning huddles!“
Sapna Sulaya, Partner – the Middle East and India, suggested an agile approach to your onboarding:
“I have to admit it is not a comfortable experience for L&D teams, especially if they are not open to new ways of doing things. For starters, I would suggest taking a few principles of Agile, including:
1) Think in terms of critical activity for new joiners as a milestone rather than fitting a set program within a timeline. A significant mindset shift in agile is not having a start and finish but WIP concept. ( I think most people hate this ..LOL)
2) Learning is based on just-in-time and just-enough interventions rather than instructor-led feasts of knowledge
3) Frequent inter-team conversations called “Sprint” (stand-up meetings aiming to prioritize workstream, tweaking the process along the way) There are no checklists in agile only backlogs to be cleared. Another thing which people hate.”
Spencer Grover, Senior Product Marketing Manager at LevelJump.io, shared:
“For sales training, start with the outcome you’re trying to get, then work backward. What do your reps need to do differently to get the result you want? What training/coaching do you need to do to teach them how to do that new behavior? What do your reps need to know to do that new behavior to achieve that outcome?
Once you have those three, you’ll get a much better sense of what training you need and what it will do.
(Plus if it worked)“
“Get ahead of the forgetting curve by ensuring sales leaders have a crib sheet to spend a couple of minutes talking to their sellers about the sales training they received just a few days ago. The perfect time to do this is at the daily stand-up each sales manager has with their team – and you ARE having daily stand-ups with your team, aren’t you..?“
Dave Nel brings our thinking back to preboarding:
“Onboarding doesn’t start on your first day of work; it starts from your very first interview. Your new starter is exposed to the business culture, the language you use, and how the business thinks right from this first interaction.
What is the onboarding you do before day 1?“
Pooja Kumar sat with Michael Teoh, the Founder of Thriving Talents, a company that consults and trains youth talents in organizations and universities to succeed in life and work. They chatted about how to engage and onboard a Millennial sales force and start them off on the right way in your organization.
Rob Durant, Founder, Flywheel Results, shared his take:
“Most sales training onboarding consists of 2 themes: our product (what we sell) and our sales tech stack (how we process sales).
GREAT programs cover four things: product and tech stack, AND best-in-class communication skills, and best-in-class sales skills.
“But we hire them for their sales skills!”
But who can’t improve? And formally teaching best-in-class ensures the team is on the same page, allowing for new best practices to surface faster and become adopted by everyone.“
The community, led by Dave Nel with input from many others, dove back into preboarding, noting that your new starter is being exposed to the business culture, the language you use, and the way the company thinks right from this first interaction.
Here are our ten+ tips for things to do for preboarding:
- Your job spec must clearly state the sales philosophy of the business and how you as an organization learn.
- The interview questions should have a few questions that explore the persons learning style and sales skills.
- Make sure your interview panel has a consistent answer to the questions “Tell me about this company”?
- Once the new starter has signed their offer, consider sending a personalized message to them with some recommended reading (internal or external) that can get their juices flowing.
- A welcome video from yourself or the organization can go a long way to setting the tone for onboarding.
- Why wait to give them their learning plan/ onboarding plan on day 1? Please share it with them ahead of time; people like to know what to expect
- Consider introducing them to their mentor or other new starters electronically before they begin.
- Draft a “how to thrive on day one” mail. What should I wear, bring, do on day one? What are the hours? If I need anything, who do I call?
- Create a digital welcome page that does X, Y, and Z.
- Beverlie Heyman suggests sharing non-proprietary information to the new hire before Day 1. This way, we are starting some foundational learning before they walk in the door. The topics include our history, industry knowledge, buyer personas, and how we help them.
- Gayle Charach noted, “Nothing screams “Welcome!” more than a box full of swag 🙂 That way, they can have their Day 1 cup of java in the company-logoed mug, wear their new company logo on their Day 1 t-shirt and take notes with their company-logoed pen.
“The fascinating thing about this evergreen sales onboarding topic is that everyone wants to get better results (faster ramp-up times, higher production in that reduced time frame), yet we all do the same things over and over, expecting a different result. If you want radically better results, you need to change things up.
Figure out what to STOP:
• Understand the reasons training fails and know what to avoid in onboarding.
Figure out what to CONTINUE or START doing differently:
• Get sales hiring right: The first step in effective onboarding is the right person in the right role.
• Set performance milestones: Use the past to set benchmarks. What should they be able to accomplish, by when?
• Use the right training content: It must get results in the real world. Model what your top producers do.
• Develop an effective curriculum strategy: Use the drip method. Determine just the NEED TO KNOW content to get to each milestone, and chunk, sequence, and layer content to teach them how to do the job, in their standard process workflow, from left to right. And then have them do it with support.
• Maximize modern learning methods: Being 100% virtual means you can make it available as needed to move them through their process workflow, as needed.
• Execute with systems thinking: Systems allow you to perpetuate what you put in place.
I have slides if anyone wants them. Feel free to reach out individually.“
Malvina EL-Sayegh shared her onboarding tip, focused on making sure new hires were clear where to find information, so sellers are not hunting for it six months down the road.
Dave Nel recorded a great session with our friends at Growth Matters focused on the critical onboarding responsibilities.
Crystal Nikosey wrote another excellent article, four tips for getting onboard with enablement.
Shivam Gupta took a few moments to share his onboarding tips:
- Create a checklist
- Make sure resources are ready for the new hires when they start
- Get a new hire buddy
- Managers should set aside time to introduce new hires to the team and culture.
- Do regular calls to check in and see how to help.
Then, his tips on what to avoid are also worth reviewing.
So many great tips came from around the community during September 2021. I’m sure I left out a few, but I wanted to share these with all of you and encourage you to reach out to these amazing enablement professionals across the globe.
Living Enablement as a practitioner and as a leader. I’ve seen the confusion and frustration that many practitioners live. From working in other areas of the business, I’ve also seen the genuine need for the capabilities that enablement provides.