Get New IT Pros Up to Speed Fast With This Onboarding Checklist

Whether it's due to high turnover and or a slowly improving IT job market, companies must increasingly deal with new employees entering the workplace. Learn what it takes to help your new hires hit the ground running.

Mon, June 17, 2013

CIO — In a recent TEKsystems survey, 1,500 IT leaders and 2,400 IT pros were polled on the importance of onboarding. When IT leaders were asked about onboarding's importance, the majority agreed that it's necessary but that many aren't doing it well.

  • 62 percent of IT leaders say an onboarding program is extremely valuable in terms of a new employee.
  • 53 percent agreed that it created better cohesion among their teams.
  • 47 percent agreed that contributed to the long term success within the company.
  • 77 percent of IT leaders believe that not enough emphasis is placed on building a strong onboarding process.
  • Only 13 percent of IT leaders and 12 percent of IT pros rate their onboarding process as "extremely effective."
Onboarding new employees

According to research by Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of the upcoming book, "Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success," turnover numbers are high among IT workers. Gen-Yers spend about two years before changing jobs, Gen-Xers tend to stay around five years and baby-boomers about seven years. Research from Anne Fisher reports that roughly 40 percent of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months.

This can create an influx of new employees who need to be indoctrinated in your company's core values and how things are done. Creating a process to assist these individuals can help new hires create a crucial foundation and get productive right away.

Firefighters and soldiers have a saying that applies to many aspects of business life, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Bringing a new hire into your company is one of those aspects. Building an effective plan that helps employees get up to speed and be productive fast is good for morale, productivity, retention and is only in your company's best interest.

To help you come up with a plan that works, interviewed IT hiring managers, executives and career coaches to help you build an onboarding checklist that will help you get your new hires up to speed in no time.

Where to Start With Your Onboarding Plan

"The onboarding process should start before the first day. When the 'deal is closed,' it's really about setting expectations. Everything from where you will report, who you are going to ask for, here is what your first day, week and month are going to look like," says Matt Ripaldi, senior vice president of Modis, an IT staffing firm.

The first day is paramount, according to Donald Burns, an award-winning resume writer and career coach. "It's hugely important to have the person all setup logistically. Not doing this--scrambling around at the last minute the day the new employee shows up--is hugely demoralizing. It feels awkward and disorganized," Burns says.

The first big hurdle, according Ripaldi, is when they first walk through the door. It makes a big difference when you walk in and things seems disorganized, the people aren't sure why you are there and they are trying to figure out who you see first versus when you walk in and your name is on the flat screen TV or a board that says welcome and time is spent welcoming you and introducing you to different people.

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