The onboarding process is the beginning of an employee’s journey within an organization. Since it is the first step in a long process, it should include various aspects and aim to introduce newcomers to the company, help them establish relationships, and help them fit into the organizational culture.

Neither of these goals is easy, nor indeed universal. Different people look for different approaches, which the onboarding process needs to account for.

However, the first step is always the same: nurturing a positive work environment.

Clear Communication

First and foremost, supportive, accountable leadership is synonymous with clear communication. Leaders should provide new hires with comprehensive information about their roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

Typically, the onboarding process starts with discussing the company’s mission, vision, and values. The practice helps new hires to understand how they fit into the bigger picture.

It’s a good idea to establish regular check-ins and open-door policies where new hires can ask questions and seek guidance. Nothing screams trust more than ongoing support.

Personalized Guidance

Employees have their unique skills, experiences, and learning styles. That’s why the onboarding process should account for personal differences and cherish this diversity.

The easiest way to do this is to provide personalized guidance tailored to individual needs. Typically, the initiative includes a couple of approaches, including but not limited to personalized support, providing additional training resources, providing constructive feedback, and assigning a mentor.

To pick the right approach, leaders need to identify individual strengths and weaknesses. This involves conducting various assessments (e.g., personality assessments, past experience discussions, skill tests, etc.).

Supportive Leadership should pair new hires with a suitable, experienced mentor (or buddy). Mentors can offer insights, advice, and support based on their own experience with the company.

As mentioned above, not all new hires require the same level or type of training. That’s why it is critical to provide customized training materials (and opportunities) that fit individual needs. Some examples include offering access to specific courses, workshops, or resources based on the new hire’s skill level and learning preferences.

Finally, personalized guidance transcends onboarding and includes ongoing feedback and coaching. Best practices for new hires typically include regular check-ins and constructive feedback.

Empowering New Hires

Supportive leadership empowers new hires by means of granting them the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This is the exact opposite of micromanaging, which seems to be a practice of the past.

Instead of micromanaging, leaders should delegate tasks, set clear objectives, and trust employees to deliver results. The practice will boost employees’ confidence and encourage creativity on their part.

In other words, in addition to delegating responsibility, supportive leadership also encourages independent decision-making and problem-solving. This is also the fastest way to instill confidence in new hires and help them adapt to the company’s culture and processes more quickly.

Promoting a Culture of Learning

Supportive leaders promote a culture of continuous learning and growth. In such an environment, new hires feel encouraged to explore new ideas, experiment with different approaches, and learn from their experiences (both successes and failures).

On that note, it is essential to acknowledge and celebrate achievements. The practice reinforces a sense of autonomy and inspires employee engagement.

Finally, constructive feedback can make a huge difference during onboarding and beyond. Regular feedback sessions allow leaders to offer guidance and provide support, as needed.

Encouraging Collaboration

Building connections with colleagues is essential for new hires. This helps them to integrate into both the company culture and their respective team.

One of the main roles of supportive leaders is to organize cross-functional interactions and team-building activities early on. These opportunities help new hires with networking, peer learning, and forging relationships.

Establishing cross-functional collaboration opportunities is, perhaps, the fastest way for new hires to meet many people and learn faster from them (not to mention that it helps them gain a broader understanding of the organization).

These opportunities may revolve around joint projects, task forces, or interdepartmental meetings.

Celebrating Milestones and Achievements

Celebrating milestones and achievements is an efficient way to nourish a positive workplace culture, boost employee morale, and foster a sense of appreciation among team members.

The practice is especially effective during the onboarding process. Namely, when supportive leaders recognize both individual and team achievements during the onboarding process, they make new hires feel valued and appreciated.

Even the smallest of achievements will lead to this effect. Namely, even if it’s only completing training modules, appreciation will still help new hires feel valued from the get-go.

Down the road, make sure to foster a culture of celebration, which acknowledges the milestones and achievements of every employee. Such practices encourage team members to acknowledge each other’s successes and support their colleagues.

Overall, much relies on soft skills rather than on expertise. Supportive leaders look into employees as humans not as resources, contrary to the popular term. The chief goal is to make new hires welcome and comfortable. They should be certain that they will get all the assistance they need when starting out (and beyond) — that is where supportive leadership steps in.

Author's Bio: 

Angela As is a professional writer who focuses on business topics, mental health and travel.