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3 Things to Keep Top of Mind When Onboarding New Employees

Big Think Edge | October 04, 2018

There are many integral components to successful and effective employe onboarding over the days, weeks, and months after a new hire has joined your organization. Some of the basics include administrative tasks that come with the initial orientation as well as long-term tasks such as defining short- and long-term goals, setting employees up with mentors, and providing resources and guidance about expectations, among others.

However, there are three other key factors to keep in mind when on-boarding new employees. These concepts are highly beneficial to both the employees and your organization as a whole, and should become part of your onboarding best practices:

1) Encourage a Growth Mindset in Your Employees

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck founded the notion that there are two types of mindsets: Fixed vs growth mindset. A fixed mindset is one in which people believe that their basic qualities, such as talent or intelligence, are set traits — that they’re the cards they are dealt when they are born. But, what is a growth mindset? When developing a growth mindset, your focus is on stretching and improving yourself through development, dedication, and hard work — not focusing on the perceived limitations that were created at birth. It’s about striving to better yourself and others.

One of the benefits of encouraging employees to embrace a growth mindset during employee onboarding is that it helps them to develop greater resilience, motivation, and productivity while also helping them to improve relationships with their new colleagues and leadership.

Building on this concept of a growth mindset, Big Think expert and social psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests “self-nudging,” or the idea of making small changes to mindset and body language that can lead to incremental improvements over time, is ideal. Although it may seem counterintuitive to most workplaces, this concept can apply to the work environment in that when people take on big tasks, they are often outcome-focused and can become frustrated or fail along the way.

In her Big Think Edge course “Heightening Presence: Self-Nudging for Progress,” Cuddy explains:

“I think a lot of research is showing us that we do much better when we focus on incremental change, on little bits of improvement. And eventually, in aggregate, you get there. You may not even realize it until one day you turn around and say wow, this thing is much easier for me now than it was a year ago.”

2) Establish a Supportive Organizational Learning Culture

Just as important as encouraging new employees to embrace a growth mindset is to adopt that kind of mindset as an organizational culture. In other words, to create an environment that encourages people to challenge themselves and to always engage in learning. An effective and established learning culture is an integral component to successful organizations. Continuous education provides innumerable benefits to both the employees and their organization.

This approach can be applied to the first days of a worker’s employment and during employee onboarding. Big Think expert and Chief Learning Officer at Degreed Kelly Palmer says that part of the employee onboarding process should include a 30-day plan of activities and learning that can initially help to get employees up to speed.

In her Big Think Edge course “Invest in Onboarding,” Palmer shares:

“It’s not enough to just hire great talent — you’ve got to make them want to stay at your company, too. Onboarding is just that first step in that evolution of helping people realize that we’re invested in our employees, talent is our number one priority, and it’s the beginning of the learning journey for them”

3) Create a Positive and Open Culture and Work Environment

Creating an environment that is positive and welcoming to everyone should be a top priority for every organization — and sharing that should be part of the employee onboarding process. As the vice president of product innovation at Netflix, Big Think expert Todd Yellin says that the innovative and fast-growing company takes steps from the get-go to ensure that new employees are prepared to fit into the company’s well-defined culture and drive growth.

In his Big Think Edge course “Onboard for Growth,” Yellin says:

“Because we’re such a debateful culture, I want people to be comfortable speaking their minds. I want people to be comfortable to give feedback to others in a very open way. We don’t want people, obviously, to be saying the right thing to a certain person and then, behind their back, they’re saying something else.”

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