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How To Improve Manager Onboarding For Incoming Leaders

By | Published on | 6 min read
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >How To Improve Manager Onboarding For Incoming Leaders</span>

image (17)Employee onboarding is not one-size-fits-all. And if you’re onboarding managers like the employees they are leading, you are doing them a disservice. Management comes with its own challenges and requires unique skillsets, tools, and processes.

According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, over half of the learning and development (L&D) professionals surveyed are focusing on management and leadership programs this year.

Join these L&D practitioners in investing in the success of managers by setting up new leaders to thrive right from the start. Begin by improving the manager onboarding process — so it’s custom-built to integrate the leadership experience into your organization seamlessly.

Immerse Managers In Your Workplace Culture

From day one, you’ll want managers to feel like they belong and can make an impact in their new role and work environment. That starts with immersing them in your company culture. But it isn’t as simple as including training videos on core values in the manager onboarding checklist.

To truly understand and connect with their new workplace culture, they need to see it in action — through relationships, initiatives, and more. Accomplish this in new manager onboarding by:

  • Assigning new managers an onboarding buddy: Ask fellow managers to be onboarding buddies for new managers to answer their questions, walk them through manager processes and tools, and guide them throughout their first few weeks with the company.
  • Extending invitations to meet with leadership: Give newly hired managers the opportunity to meet and engage with the executive leadership team — whether that’s through Q&As or immersion workshops. That way, these new employees get a clear idea of the company’s vision, ongoing initiatives, and goals — and feel connected to the senior management they’ll be working with.
  • Sharing workplace culture survey results: Include the results of the most recent workplace culture survey in your manager onboarding materials, so new leaders get an in-depth look right from the source — your workforce.

Introduce new managers to coworkers and past employee feedback, so they can get a sense of your culture firsthand.

Outline Processes And Workflows

Put yourself in the shoes of a new manager. Imagine starting a leadership role at a company, learning about company policies and procedures during onboarding, and then getting left on your own to figure out team processes and workflows. Where would you even start?

Don’t leave your new leaders to fend for themselves. It’s already hard enough to start over. Have steps in place to help them adapt to how their teams work:

  • Share standard operating procedures (SOPs): Every team will have its own way of doing things. Have teams document these processes in SOP documents that you can share with new managers during onboarding. Then, they can see how their team currently operates before recommending any changes.
  • Provide training on relevant tools: Create a library of training videos on the tools new managers will need to use (or that their team is using). This can be anything from a work management solution, like Trello, to your sales team’s customer relationship management tool. Teach incoming managers how to best leverage the tools available to them — and how to support their team members with the software they’re using every day.
  • Coordinate team meetings: Schedule meetings between new leaders and their respective teams with a designated agenda around team processes and workflows. Center the meeting around questions for the team such as, “What do you currently like about the processes in place for their new team?” “What workflows are not working?” and “What processes can we add that would be beneficial?” So, new managers will get firsthand knowledge on what processes they should continue, replace, or get rid of altogether.

By taking the time to carefully guide recently hired leaders through team workflows, they won’t feel so overwhelmed or lost in the new job. They’ll know what to expect and have time to brainstorm next steps.

Prioritize Stakeholder Introductions

In addition to team members, new managers also need to meet the stakeholders they’ll be collaborating with. It’s important to establish these important relationships from the get-go. Leaders need the support of stakeholders (and vice versa) to keep company projects moving and work toward shared goals. Make this happen by:

  • Setting up one-on-one meetings: Have meetings on the calendar for new leaders to meet with stakeholders one on one throughout the manager onboarding process. Give them the chance to get to know each other, exchange ideas, align on priorities, and plan out ways to best support one another.
  • Having new managers shadow stakeholder departments: The best way for new managers to understand the priorities of stakeholders is to shadow their teams and witness their challenges and work processes firsthand. This can be accomplished by listening to recorded customer support calls or sales demos or observing other teams for a few days. They’ll gain a fresh perspective of the needs and wants of other departments to be able to direct their team to support them accordingly.
  • Encouraging recurring prioritization meetings: As incoming leaders map out their calendars, set up recurring stakeholder prioritization meetings to allow stakeholders to advocate for projects and work that needs prioritizing. And, in turn, new managers can plan out work for their team members accordingly.

Set the relationships between managers and stakeholders on the right track by solidifying them as soon as possible.

Encourage And Listen To Feedback

In order to continually improve your manager onboarding program, you need feedback from employees going through the process. So it’s essential for you to encourage incoming managers to provide their thoughts on onboarding along the way. And it’s even more important to listen to what they have to say and make necessary changes. Get that feedback by:

  • Sending anonymous surveys: Ask new leaders to complete an anonymous survey or assessment of the manager onboarding process. Keeping it anonymous means employees are more likely to provide the honest, quality feedback you need to optimize the onboarding process for new leaders.
  • Conducting manager onboarding interviews: Just like exit interviews when employees leave your company, you need interviews for new managers about their onboarding experience. Stress that the information they share with you is for the betterment of the onboarding process for future managers. Ask for their sincere thoughts on what worked about the process and where there is room for improvement.
  • Making changes based on feedback: Show new managers that you value their thoughts and opinions by making necessary improvements to the manager onboarding process based on their feedback. They’ll feel heard, and the experience will be better and better for future incoming leaders.

Listen to your new managers and take what they have to say to heart. As more and more new managers join your organization, they’ll be welcomed on their first day with an improved and effective onboarding process based on employee input.

Optimize Manager Onboarding For New Hires

Managers are the foundation of success for the rest of your workforce. Employees rely on them to provide guidance, share expertise, and make informed decisions. So by providing exceptional manager onboarding (and setting them up with the tools they need to be successful), you’re not just helping new managers — you’re supporting the rest of your employees, too.

Check out these resources for managers for your toolkit and learn how Trello can be used to improve the employee experience for managers and help teams thrive.

Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!

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