How To Use The Force To Improve Your Onboarding

Posted by Cathy Reilly

yoda-667955_640.jpgToday is Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you (get it?). While there’s a lot to love about Star Wars, it’s clear that there was no formal onboarding in that galaxy far, far away.

Before you say that there’s no need for onboarding when you’ve got The Force, think about this: maybe if the Jedis had a more consistent way to give new hires feedback besides “do or do not,” Anakin would’ve never gone to the Dark Side.

Here are four onboarding lessons you can learn from Star Wars and bring balance to the force in your organization:

  1. Include training early

Although they live on the same two-sunned planet, Luke Skywalker receives no Jedi training from Obi-Wan until he’s fully grown. And then his training is rushed because he’s suddenly expected to save the galaxy. If he’d just gotten a little more training early on, he might still have both hands.

Unfortunately, for many new hires, Luke isn’t the only one whose development is ignored during onboarding. A survey from ALEX found that 28.8 percent of employees don’t believe they received enough training to be successful in their first 90 days of employment.

Instead of only focusing on forms and policies during onboarding, give new hires the training they need as soon as possible to set them up for future success.

  1. The process treats employees like clones

Storm Troopers go through extensive training from birth, but it’s not individualized. Granted, they were all clones, however, that doesn’t mean you should give your employees the same one-size fits all onboarding experience.

A 2015 survey from InterCall found that 48 percent of employees want training customized to their job. So consider what is the most important information and training for each position and role. Think about new hires’ individual strengths and weaknesses and how the process can be catered to their needs.

That will make them feel more cared about and ensure they get all of the in depth information they need from day one.

  1. Employees are kept in the dark

While it’s arguably one of the biggest surprises in cinema, finding out that Darth Vader is his father is probably something Luke should’ve been informed of sooner. Especially, considering it’s his job to eventually defeat him. By not being clear about their expectations of Luke fulfilling his destiny -- that he’d eventually have to kill his father -- the Jedi Masters failed him during onboarding.

And many unlucky new hires are in the same boat. The aforementioned ALEX survey found that 17.5 percent of employees didn’t fully understand the roles and duties of their position until after 90 days of employment. That’s a long time to be in the dark about what you should be doing.

During onboarding, it’s important to be clear about the information you give new employees. Let them know about the company policies, culture, and values. Tie all of that back to their position and explain how they will apply it to their individual performance. That way, there will be no surprises about what they should do or how they will be evaluated later on.

  1. There’s no useful feedback

During the onboarding process, the feedback new hires receive helps get them up to speed and sets the tone for how their career development will play out in the future. [Click to Tweet] Unfortunately for Darth Vader’s employees, his feedback is mostly by means of strangling with the Force if he’s displeased with performance. There’s no constructive input on how to do better.

If you don’t provide new employees with useful feedback throughout onboarding, they have no idea how well they’re doing. Check in with them regularly and provide them guidance so they can grow more confident in their position. Also, ask them questions to see how they feel about the onboarding process. Find out what disoriented them, when they would’ve liked more support, and ways the process could’ve gone smoother.

For many employees, starting with a new company can be as confusing as learning to fly the Millenium Falcon with a Wookiee for a teacher. It’s up to you to make their transition as easy as possible and that means creating a thorough and supportive onboarding process.

What are some other onboarding lessons you can learn from Star Wars? Share in the comments below!

Topics: Onboarding

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