Accelerate New Employee Productivity With This Simple Plan

by Staff Writer

In order to keep up with momentum, high-growth companies are consistently expanding their workforces – in the private sector alone, job creation has been on the rise for seven straight years.

But adding new headcount isn’t a guarantee your growing needs will be met. The speed at which businesses run today requires new employees to hit the ground running.

Unfortunately, onboarding processes — the mechanisms through which new employees learn the skills, cultural norms, and other requirements they need to succeed — can often be lacking. In one recent study, more than three quarters of HR leaders reported that onboarding processes are underutilized at their companies.

In the long term, successful onboarding helps to drive employee engagement and job satisfaction. But more immediately, having a well-designed onboarding process ensures that new employees have all the tools and knowledge they need to succeed — and to succeed fast.  

Here are five ways to accelerate new employee productivity and make the most out of new talent.

1. Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities

Accelerate New Employee Productivity

It’s challenging for employees to succeed in a new role if they aren’t given a clear, tangible idea of what is expected of them. Companies can put new hires in a better position to start fulfilling their new roles quickly by taking the time to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the job.

Role defines the employee’s position and function within the company, including their department and their team, while responsibilities are the specific tasks and actions employees are expected to perform.

As processes and expectations can vary from company to company, even new employees who find themselves in roles very similar to previous positions will benefit from such a discussion.

Here are some things to cover:

  • A description of the organizational structure, including who the employee reports to directly (and by dotted line, if applicable), who reports up to the new employee, who else is on the team and their roles, and key interdepartmental relationships

  • A description of how the new hire’s job supports company, department, and team objectives and functions

  • A list of the specific activities, projects, and tasks that they will be expected to participate in

  • How the employee’s performance will be evaluated (including metrics and KPIs) and how often

  • Other details, such as processes the employee is expected to follow in performing their role, job hours (and any time tracking requirements), expectations for off-hours communications, etc.


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2. Get New Hire Up to Speed With Productivity Apps, Tools, and Platforms

Sheet of roles and responsibilities

In order for new employees to quickly start performing in their new role, it’s important to ensure they know how to use all of the tools and apps at their disposal. Don’t assume that just because an employee performed similar tasks in a previous job that they are familiar with all of the software your company uses. Specific apps and tools can vary.

To start, compile a list of all of the apps and platforms that are used in their job function, along with the tasks or projects associated with each. Make sure the employee knows how to log in to each platform or who to ask for access. Next, determine what training resources are available for each platform, and ensure the new employee knows how to access how-tos and support should they need it.


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Even if the software is familiar, the associated internal processes, milestones, and naming conventions may be unique to your team or organization. Pairing your new hire with a peer to walk through how each tool is used provides the added opportunity to foster new teammate relationships.


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3. Practice Radical Candor to Give Effective Feedback  

Employee giving feedback

Providing feedback is a delicate balancing act, and it can be even more fraught with a new employee. Though it might seem wise to go easy, a failure to provide direct, tangible feedback only makes it harder for a new employee to understand how to succeed in their new role.

Radical candor is a management philosophy that seeks to challenge directly while also showing that you care personally. This means providing feedback in a direct and specific way, while at the same time making it clear that you care about the individual who is on the receiving end of your feedback.

4. Schedule Regular Check-Ins  

Employees meeting one on one

Employee one-on-ones are an important tool for getting and giving feedback, getting status updates on projects, addressing blockers, and a variety of other functions. Regular check-ins are especially important for new employees, who may require greater guidance and direction, be seeking specific feedback or reassurance on their performance, or who may feel reticent about coming forward with questions, concerns, or even great ideas.

Scheduling regular check-ins creates a recurring forum for all of the above and sends a signal to your new hire that they are important to you. But don’t just play check-ins by ear — get them in your calendar. This will ensure one-on-ones don’t fall by the wayside if you’re busy, and also demonstrates your commitment to your new hire’s success.


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5. Let Them Shine!

Excited new employees

If you’ve followed all of the above steps, you’re on the right track for setting up your new employee for success. Now it’s time to take a step back and give them the room they need to learn the ropes, to form new bonds with their colleagues, and to make their mark on your business.

Remember, you hired them for a reason... now it’s time to let your new employee shine!