How to Onboard Managers
Effective onboarding is a critical component of any successful organization, and that's doubly true when it comes to onboarding managers.
Because this role directly impacts a whole team or department, you can experience major cultural and operational disruptions if your new managers aren’t prepared. So whether you're an HR professional looking to improve your organization's onboarding process or a director looking to better support your new hires, here are three valuable tips for creating a smoother transition in your managerial ranks.
1) Determine if Leadership Development is Necessary
Gallup recently looked at hundreds of organizations with varying sizes and industries to determine what great managers have in common. They found that highly-successful managers do the following:
- Motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision
- Have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance
- Create a culture of clear accountability
- Build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency
- Make decisions based on productivity, not politics
As you may notice, these efforts are better suited for certain personalities. They take the right person and the right talents to implement. Hopefully, the person you’ve hired already possesses the basic qualities, soft skills, and experience necessary to be a great manager.
If you’re training someone with little management or leadership experience, you will need to invest in a much longer, more extensive onboarding process. For companies without a leadership development program in place, we recommend finding a professional course where your new hire can learn, practice, and refine their people management skills.
If you’re confident in your new hire’s fundamentals, your onboarding plan can touch on leadership expectations, but otherwise focus on the tactical or company-specific background they’ll need to succeed.
2) Fold Them Into the Company's Culture
By definition, a manager has a more strategic and leadership-oriented role, so they should know the ins and outs of your company's vision, mission, and values. They’ll also have more responsibility for goal-setting, so they need to have a clear understanding of the company's objectives and how to align their team's efforts.
We recommend going beyond the usual PowerPoint slide and take-home packet for communicating this important information.
While those methods are fine, incorporating real-life examples and success stories that exemplify your values in action can illustrate their importance and practical application within the company.
Here are a few prompts to further the discussion:
- Describe how employee benefits align with the company’s values
- Explain how a company’s policies fit with those values
- Provide a communication conflict and describe how values can encourage a solve
- Describe how the company’s 2-year goals fit within its 10-year goals
- Review your company's different team and department goals
While going over your company fundamentals, encourage open dialogue and provide opportunities for the manager to ask questions and seek clarification.
3) Provide Continuous Training and Support
Training shouldn’t stop when onboarding is done, especially when it comes to managers. When your new-hire heads back to their team, they’ll encounter obstacles and new challenges that require help to overcome.
Setting up a continuous training and support plan will empower your leaders to adapt, grow, and succeed without the pressure to perfect everything right away. Here are some specific ways you can provide continuing support for your managers:
Identify Training Needs
Whether it's monthly or quarterly, regularly assess the skills and knowledge gaps of your managers through performance evaluations, feedback, and discussions. This will help determine the specific areas where training is required.
Offer a Variety of Learning Opportunities
Provide a range of training methods, including workshops, seminars, online courses, conferences, webinars, and mentorship programs. You don’t need to spend time mapping out their year, either. Provide them with relevant resources so they can choose the format that best suits their learning style and schedule.
Encourage Knowledge Sharing
Foster a culture of knowledge sharing among all your organization’s managers. Encourage them to share their experiences, best practices, and lessons learned through regular team meetings, internal newsletters, or knowledge-sharing platforms. This not only facilitates learning but also promotes collaboration and innovation.
A well-executed onboarding process sets the foundation for success when integrating new leaders into your organization. If you need assistance creating an onboarding plan that’s tailored to your management team, contact The Overture Group.