Clear Expectations & High Standards

employee engagement employee experience exceeding expectations leadership culture new hires onboarding process orientation results team building team environment what is onboarding Mar 23, 2022
Employee Orientation Process

Once we understand the key to retaining and engaging our new team members, and really all of our team members for that matter, the next piece we need to be sure to build into our onboarding process deals with making sure everyone knows exactly what’s expected. Although that may sound like a no-brainer, I’ve seen folks joining organizations provided with a muddy mess of ambiguity far more often than I’ve seen anyone handed a clear map for where they’re headed in the days and weeks to come…

Here’s where you’re likely thinking, “Gosh Wes, who bothers to invest all that energy to show a new teammate how much they care about them only to toss them out on their own right after that?” And my response to you is: Most everyone, whether they mean to or not! 

That said, I really don’t believe anyone does this on purpose or with poor intentions… Let’s face it, providing someone with clear expectations and establishing high standards ain’t easy or for the faint of heart. All too often, this requires a pretty hefty amount of time and energy - and I can’t point to a single person carrying significant leadership responsibility who has extras of either on their hands… This truly becomes a matter of slowing down so we can speed up!

Do what? Did one of the most Driven and Fast-Paced people on the planet just suggest slowing down? I mostly certainly did, but I’m definitely not suggesting that it’s always easy!

If we’re not willing to slow down enough to provide every individual on our teams, not just the newest ones, with extremely clear expectations for what they’re role is and what we need them to achieve, we haven’t done a very good job of onboarding and we’re absolutely not leading! Once we’ve this though, maintaining that moving forward is a little more simple (but still not necessarily easy). Then we just need to hold EVERYONE accountable, we need to make sure we maintain high expectations for each member of our team! That’s not to say we have to crack the ole whip every time someone falls short, but we do need to be sure to address with a mix of that candor and care Cindy outlined in a previous Leading At The Next Level lesson…

When we do each of these things consistently, there’s one more thing we’d better be sure to keep an eye on! One of the most critical things I’ve done when recruiting for various organizations has been to provide them with a picture of what they’re career path can be as they grow in and produce results for that particular organization. That’s usually effective on the front end but if that individual delivers results and their immediate supervisor ends up dragging their feet on providing them with any of the fruits of their labor, it’s only a matter of time until we’ll have to start over. And when that happens more than a few times, I no longer have a leg to stand on in my part of the process.

All we need to do though if we want to make sure we deliver through the entire process is just make sure we’re following through on our commitments. When our folks meet and exceed the clear expectations and high standards we’ve set, reward them! It’s really not that complicated…

Notice I didn’t get into the technical aspects of what any company needs to cover through the onboarding process; that should be as different as the work you do. But when you have the proper thought process in place, and you focus on serving the team members you’re bringing on board by doing each of the things we’ve worked through here, just fill in the blanks with the technical details needed to reach those clear expectations on you should be well on your way - and so should each person joining your team!